Have you ever dreamed of working overlooking the lush rainforests and stunning beaches of Costa Rica? If so, you may be interested in applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa.
Officially known as the "Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers", this permit allows remote workers and their families to live and work legally in Costa Rica for up to two years.
In this comprehensive guide, we break down everything you need to know about the Costa Rica digital nomad visa. You’ll learn about the eligibility criteria, documents required, step-by-step instructions for applying, visa fees, and more. We’ll also provide alternatives if you don’t qualify for this specific visa.
Read on to find out how you can make Costa Rica your home or destination for your remote work journey!
Does Costa Rica Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes, Costa Rica launched its digital nomad visa, also known as the Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers, in July 2022. This permit allows foreign nationals and their dependents to live and work in Costa Rica for one year or more.
Benefits of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa offers a wide range of benefits, some of which include:
- The visa allows a one-year stay, extendable to two years, without the need to leave the country.
- Digital nomads holding this visa are not required to pay income tax in Costa Rica.
- Visa holders can open a national bank account in Costa Rica and use their home country's driver's license.
- There's no customs tax on necessary work-related tech and devices necessary for remote work purposes, under certain conditions.
Who Can Apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
To apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, there are several eligibility criteria that applicants must meet:
- The applicant's country of origin should be on the visa-free entry list for Costa Rica.
- Applicants must have a valid passport at the time of applying for the visa.
- Applicants need to be either employed by a company registered outside of Costa Rica, own a company registered outside of Costa Rica, or freelance with clients who are based outside of the country.
- Applicants must demonstrate a stable net income of at least $3,000 per month, or $5,000 per month for families.
- It is required to have health insurance coverage for the entire length of stay in Costa Rica.
- Applicants must prove familial connections to include dependents in their application by providing official documentation like marriage certificates, civil union declarations, birth certificates, or medical opinions.
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How to Apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa as a Digital Nomad
To apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, you have to follow these steps:
Step 1: Submit Your Application
Along with your dependents, you can apply online through the 'Tramite Ya' digital platform or in person at the central or regional offices of the General Directorate of Immigration (DGEM). Ensure all required documents are uploaded or presented, and your application is filled out correctly. The complete list of documents necessary to submit your application can be found in the section below.
Step 2: Pay Your Application Fee
Pay a $100 application fee to Banco de Costa Rica, account no. 242480-0, as mandated by Article 256 of the General Law on Immigration and Aliens.
Step 3: Wait For Approval
The approval process includes a security review of criminal and police records, and may involve biometric revisions. The processing office will issue a resolution within 15 calendar days, and if any additional information is required, you will be notified within 5 days of submission. You have 8 working days to respond to any such requests.
Step 4: Obtain your Residence Permit
Once your application is approved, you must obtain your residence permit, which includes the collection of biometric data, within three months of arrival in Costa Rica. This can be done at any Immigration office in Costa Rica, and it's essential to pay standard residence and immigration fees to receive your temporary residence permit.
Step 5: Ask for a Visa Renewal
For a second-year visa renewal, you must spend a minimum of 180 days in Costa Rica during the first year. Renewal involves similar steps as the initial application, including financial proof and health insurance policy.
Documents Required for Applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
To apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, you'll need to prepare both standard documentation and additional documents that vary depending on whether you apply online or in person.
Standard Documentation (for both processes)
The following documents are required regardless of application method:
- Copy of passport, including entry stamp if applying within Costa Rica.
- Receipt for the $100 application fee.
- Bank statement proving your income from the past 12 months is at least $3,000 per month, or $4,000 per month if you are bringing your family.
- Proof of health insurance coverage with a minimum coverage of US$50,000 for the duration of the visa.
- Documentation confirming remote work, such as a contract showing you are employed by or own a company registered outside of Costa Rica or you are a freelance with clients outside the country.
- If applying with dependents, provide a marriage certificate and birth certificates for children.
Additional Documentation if Applying Online
When applying via the Tramite Ya platform, you must also provide:
- Formulario Solicitud de Estancia Trabajadores REMOTOS Ley 10008 TRAMITE DIGITAL.
- Constancia de Consentimiento Informado.
- Additional forms for dependents include Formulario Solicitud de Estancia Dependientes HIJOS MENORES O MAYORES DISCAPACIDAD Ley 10008 TRAMITE DIGITAL and Formulario Solicitud de Estancia Dependientes CONYUGE PAREJA HIJOS SOLTEROS ADULTOS MAYORES Ley 10008 TRAMITE DIGITAL.
Additional Documentation if Applying in Person
When applying in person at an Immigration office, you must also provide:
- Formulario Solicitud de Estancia trabajadores o prestadores de Servicios Remotos (Titular) TRAMITE FÍSICO.
- Constancia de Consentimiento Informado.
- Additional forms for dependents include Formulario Solicitud de Estancia Dependientes hijos menores o hijos mayores con discapacidad TRAMITE FISICO and Formulario Solicitud de Estancia Dependientes (cónyuge, pareja de hecho, hijos solteros mayores de edad hasta 25 años, o personas adultas mayores que convivan con el titular) TRAMITE FÍSICO.
How Much Does the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa Cost?
The cost of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa includes several fees:
- Visa Application Fee: $100
- Guarantee Deposit: $238
- Additional Fee upon Approval: The exact amount varies depending on individual circumstances and will be indicated upon approval.
- Special Social Immigration Fund: Applicants must pay $90 to the Special Social Immigration Fund. This fee is for the certification of legal stay documents.
- Security Deposit: Upon approval, you will also need to pay a security deposit, the amount of which depends on your nationality. This fee is in case deportation to the applicant's home country is needed.
It's important to note that these fees are subject to change, and applicants should verify the current costs at the time of their application. Health insurance costs are also additional and vary based on the provider and coverage chosen.
Timeline for Applying For the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa
The total time from application to finalizing residence documents may vary. The application process for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa typically takes around 14 days for government processing. After approval, applicants have three months upon arrival in Costa Rica to obtain their residence permit with biometric data. This includes scheduling an appointment with immigration officials and providing necessary documents.
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What If I’m Not Eligible for the Costa Rica Digital Nomads as a Digital Nomad?
If you're not eligible for the Croatia Digital Nomad Visa, there are several alternatives you might consider:
- Visitor visa: You can enter Costa Rica on a standard tourist visa, which allows you to stay for up to 90 days. This can be a good option if you want to spend part of the year working remotely in Costa Rica without the full commitment of residency.
- Temporary residency: There are a few temporary residency options in Costa Rica, like the Rentista residency for those with consistent monthly income or the Professional residency for certain professions. These still allow you to work or run your remote business.
- Explore Other Countries' Digital Nomad Visas: If Costa Rica isn't an option, many other countries offer digital nomad visas, each with its own set of requirements and benefits.
Paying Taxes as a Digital Nomad in Costa Rica
Paying taxes as a digital nomad in Costa Rica with the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa can be quite favorable. Thanks to the country's territorial tax system, income generated from foreign sources while residing in Costa Rica due to remote work or clients is not subject to local income tax.
However, digital nomads may still have some tax obligations:
- Local income tax: Any income generated within Costa Rica may be subject to income tax, with rates from 10-25%.
- Self-employment tax: Income from Costa Rica-sourced freelance activities would be subject to applicable self-employment taxes.
- VAT: Digital nomads may need to charge and remit Value Added Tax on any services offered within Costa Rica, which is typically 13%.
Are You Ready To Live and Work in Costa Rica as a Digital Nomad?
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