In Costa Rica, there are two types of residency:

  • Permanent residency: This is an immigration status that allows the person obtaining it to stay in the country indefinitely and work freely.
  • Temporary residency: Temporary residency is authorization to stay in Costa Rica temporarily, usually in connection with a professional work situation.
  • Temporary workers for specific occupations: domestic servants*

Who can apply for permanent residency?

This type of residency may be applied for by aliens whose spouses or first-grade blood relatives are Costa Rican, or by those who have enjoyed temporary residency for 3 consecutive years.

Requirements for permanent residency application will depend on the reason for which the alien requests such residency, i.e. whether the application is based on the grade of blood relationship or by virtue of having had temporary residency.

Anyone granted this status by the Restricted Visas and Refugee Commission.

Who can apply for temporary residency?

This type of residency is granted for a definite period of more than 90 days and up to two years, which is extendable. This type of residency can be applied for by anyone falling within the following categories:

  • Temporary residency as a religious person: persons belonging to a religious congregation established in the country and whose religion is recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship.
  • Temporary residency as a corporate executive, representative, manager, or technical staff member: applications may be filed by alien workers of companies duly registered with the Costa Rican authorities, as well as by their spouses and children.
  • Temporary residency as a self-employed skilled worker: independent workers that are duly accredited to practice a profession recognized as such by the Immigration Office.
  • Temporary residency as an employee: those having a temporary work contract with acompany recognized by the Costa Rican authorities.
  • Temporary residency as an investor: persons having made an investment of over USD 200,000.00 in the country.
  • Temporary residency as a scientist, professional, assistant, or specialized technician: workers that have been duly accredited to perform a skilled job.
  • Temporary residency as a sportsperson: anyone duly accredited as such by the National Sports and Recreation Council.
  • Temporary residency as a news agency correspondent or staff member: workers that can prove that they work under one of these categories.
  • Temporary residency as a rentier: Those enjoying a monthly, permanent, and stable income generated abroad in a minimum amount of $2,500.00.
  • Temporary residency as a retiree: those enjoying a monthly, permanent, and stable income generated abroad in a minimum amount of $1,000.00.


  • Affiliation form, duly filled out.
  • Alien’s birth certificate stating his/her parents’ names. The certificate must be authenticated by the Secretary of State.
  • Authenticated criminal record showing that the person has not been convicted in his/her country of origin or in the country where he/she has lived in the past 3 years.
  • Photocopy of all passport pages.
  • Proof of fingerprints registration issued by the Public Security Ministry. VI. Joining the Costa Rica Social Security System.
  • Proof of consular registration in the consular register of the country of origin’s consulate here in Costa Rica.
  • 6 passport-size photo.
  • $250 deposit in favor of the Immigration Office.


Once the residency application has been filed, the Immigration authorities will provide the interested person with a document proving that the application is being handled. As a result, the applicant will not have to leave the country, even if his/her visa has expired.

The estimated time required to obtain residency ranges from 8 to 12 months, provided the application was complete at the time of filing.