Costa Rica has a tropical, beautiful, climate year round and attracts visitors from all over the world. Most of Costa Rica’s jungles are protected, so infrastructure expansion throughout the country is heavily regulated. In 2012, it was ranked as the happiest country in the world and continues to beat out wealthier countries for high living satisfaction. It is consistently ranked one of the best places to live throughout Central America. The government of Costa Rica is stable and democratic, making it a great place for visitors and digital nomads alike.
However, to immigrate to the country on a regular residency visa, there is an extensive screening process, and the government requires employers within the country to hire Costa Rican citizens before expats. Many people outside of Costa Rica who want to live and work within the country are denied a visa or don’t meet the extensive requirements for approval.
But, Costa Rica does offer a visa option for digital nomads under their DNV visa. So, while applying for permanent residency or a work visa may pose a challenge, the government still accommodates digital nomads who want to live and work remotely in the country for a period of time.
Here’s our tips on everything you need to know about the Costa Rican digital nomad visa and how to apply.
Anyone is able to apply for a digital nomad visa as long as they meet all of the requirements in their application. Digital nomads will need to provide a stable monthly income, proof of health insurance, and documents proving they can work remotely. There is no regulation on country of origin or limitation for foreign nationals who want to apply for the visa. Visa holders can open a bank account with their home country’s official identification, including a driver’s license
You must be a remote worker employed by a company that is outside of Costa Rica to qualify for this specific visa type.
To be considered for the D7 digital nomad visa, you must be a remote worker and work for a foreign company.
Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa application is a bit more extensive than other countries who also offer this type of visa. You must provide all of the required documents in your application, including:
You will need to create an application online through the Tramite Ya platform or in-person at the regional offices for the General Directorate of Immigration
Provide a proof of payment of $100 USD or the equivalent amount in Costa Rican colon to the Banco de Costa Rica
Provide a copy of your passport page from a valid passport that contains your picture and biographical information. If you’re already in the country, you’ll need to provide a picture of the Costa Rican entry stamp from when you arrived
Provide proof of international health insurance
Provide proof of income (usually bank statements) that show your monthly income of at least $3,000 USD. Your monthly income has to be the same or more than the base requirement each month. You can’t have an income of $4,000 one month and then $2,000 another month. It has to be a stable amount above $3,000 per month to be considered.
All official documents in a foreign language other than Spanish need to be translated
To make an appointment with immigration officials, visit the DGME webiste or contact the Immigration Call Center at 1311
Applications must be approved within 15 calendar days by the Foreign Nationals Administration. If any additional documentation or requirements are needed, they must issue notice in-writing within 5 days of the original application date. The applicant will have 8 days to resolve any issues to be considered. You will not be able to enter the country without showing all of the required documents.
Once your application is approved, there may be additional regulations for foreign nationals depending on their country of origin, so you should do as much research as you can about the application process before considering becoming a digital nomad visa here.
If you’re planning on bringing dependents or family members, they can also apply for a digital nomad visa, but they need to complete the above steps first. They will also need to show additional documents that such as:
Documents that recognize a civil union
Copy of a birth certificate for minor children or married children under the age of 25
If the dependent has a disability, a medical opinion that outlines the condition
Elder dependents must show a familial link or cohabitation to the original digital nomad applying
Because applying for a permanent residency in Costa Rica is difficult, digital nomad visas give foreigners the option to stay in Costa Rica for up to 1 year.
By law, there is a minimum stay requirement for the digital nomad visa to be renewed where the applicant must have been in the country for at least 180 days or at least half the time of their visa.
Digital nomads have the option to renew their visa for 1 additional year, they will have to go into their online portal and pay an additional $90 and complete the steps for renewal. You will still need to show all of the same requirements to have your stay extended.
One of the major advantages of the digital nomad visa is that foreigners will not be required to pay any type of income tax during their stay.
Most countries that offer this digital nomad visa, including Spain and Portugal, require expats living in the country to pay income taxes. However, Costa Rica opted out of these requirements, making it an ideal location for foreigners to escape for a while.
Although this visa type has just recently been rolled out within the country, many people around the world have voiced concerns about gentrification problems and how digital nomads raise the cost of living.
Cities like Guanacaste and other coastal provinces have had complaints from locals following the pandemic. The cost of living in these beach towns has doubled as many wealthy foreigners moved to the country to escape the strict COVID regulations that were in their countries of origin.
So, while applying for a digital nomad visa may open up experiences for you, you should strongly consider doing research about how to travel responsibly and what sustainable ecotourism means. Wanting to explore the world and immerse yourself in culture allows you to become a well-rounded person, but doing it at the cost of other people’s livelihoods has long-lasting impacts.
If you’re working remotely for a Costa Rican company, the reals are different. You might need to apply for a work visa, which is much more competitive.
For some businesses, the digital nomad visa isn’t the right path.
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