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Complete guide to obtaining a Costa Rica rentista visa for digital nomads, the requirements, the application steps, and FAQs

Costa Rica, known as a rainforest paradise, is filled with beaches, adventure, and animals that are awaiting your arrival. While it offers many opportunities for work and studies, it also offers an additional experience digital nomands through a rentista visa. 

This article explains the requirements for obtaining a Costa Rica rentista visa, also known as a digital nomad visa. It also explains how to get the visa and the costs involved.

What Is a Costa Rica Rentista Visa?

A Costa Rica rentista visa is issued to freelancers, self-employed people, or anyone who can prove they have a fixed income of $2,500/month. A rentista visa allows you to open a business or freelance in Costa Rica, but does not allow you to work as an employee. If you would like to work as a salaried employee for a business or company, you will need a Costa Rican work visa instead.

The residence permit issued through the Costa Rican rentista visa is valid for two years and can be renewed provided you continue to meet the requirements. Once you have been living in Costa Rica with the residence permit for at least three years, you may apply for permanent residency in Costa Rica.

Do I Qualify for a Costa Rican Digital Nomad Visa?

In order to qualify for a Costa Rica rentista visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate you will be receiving a fixed income of $2,500/month. To meet this requirement, you have to set up a bank account, where you will deposit $60,000 and obtain a letter of commitment that you will be receiving $2,500/month for the next two years. 
  • Contribute to La Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (C.C.S.S. – Social Security Fund). You will be issued seguro voluntario (or voluntary insurance) which will cost you approximately 10% of your monthly income.

Costa Rica Rentista Visa Requirements

The documents you need to submit for the rentista visa application are

  • Rentista Visa Application Form. The application form is available at either the Migration and Foreign Affairs Office or the Costa Rican Embassy.
  • Records of your fingerprints. Head to the Police Department to collect your fingerprints.
  • Proof of paid fees. You can find the payment requirements listed below under “Price for Rentista Visa”.
  • Copy of your passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months.
  • Passport-sized photos of yourself. The number of photos required is six.
  • Police Clearance Certificate. You can obtain this certificate from the police or court authorities in your country.
  • Income Certificate. The certificate must state you have a stable monthly income of $2,500 a month as required for the rentista visa.
  • Registration at the Consular Office. You are required to register with the consular office in your country.
  • Cover Letter. You will be asked to provide additional personal information by writing a cover letter.
  • If your family members are joining you, you must also submit proof of your relationship with them by providing either a:
    • Birth Certificate. Applicable if you want your child(ren) to join you.
    • Marriage Certificate. Applicable if you want your spouse to join you.

All required documents must be either written in or translated into Spanish as well as contain the Apostille Stamp.

How To Apply for a Costa Rica Rentista Visa?

A step-by-step guide for acquiring a Costa Rica rentista visa is as follows:

  1. Locate the Costa Rican Directorate of Migration. You must make an appointment with the Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria (or the General Directorate of Migration and Foreign Affairs) in Costa Rica where you will also be asked to submit your application for the rentista visa.
  2. Collect the Documents. Make sure you collect all the documents that are listed above.
  3. Submit the Application at the Directorate of Migration. All applications for the rentista visa must be submitted physically to the Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria in Costa Rica. 
  4. Wait for an Answer. The rentista visa application can take from twelve to fifteen months to process. The DGME (Costa Rica Immigration Department) will take around nine months to thoroughly check your application and will give you an answer once they have made a decision.

Costa Rica Rentista Visa Fees

The fees for the Costa Rica rentista visa include:

TypePrice
Rentista Visa Application$250 
Service Fee for Temporary Residence Permit$1,595
Governmental Fees$374

Once you pay the required fees for your rentista visa application, you will be given a document that states your payment status. This document is required for your visa application and must be attached to the other required documents.

Health Insurance For Costa Rica Rentista Visa

Health insurance is not free in Costa Rica and you are therefore required to acquire private medical insurance beforehand. There are many companies that offer:

  • Private insurance specifically for Costa Rica.
  • Private insurance specifically for either European or US citizens.
  • Global coverage private insurance.

You can check what private insurance service fulfills your needs and requirements and can then freely visit Costa Rica with no hesitation.

What Country Should I Pay Taxes For With A Rentista Visa?

If you reside in Costa Rican territory for longer than six months, you automatically register for the Costa Rican taxing system and must therefore pay taxes in Costa Rica. Acquiring a temporary residence permit makes you a legal resident in Costa Rica and you will be taxed 10-25% of your $2,500 monthly income as required by the rentista visa.

How Long After Rentista Visa Can I Get Costa Rica Permanent Residence Permit?

You will be eligible for Costa Rican permanent residence if you reside in the country’s territory with a rentista visa for at least three years. A permanent residence permit comes with additional benefits such as enabling the road to obtain Costa Rican citizenship amongst others.

Can My Family Come With Me With A Rentista Visa?

Yes, a Costa Rica rentista visa is family-friendly. In fact, it encourages you to take your spouse and children with you to Costa Rica. Additional charges may apply during the visa application procedure but no additional investment is required besides the $60,000 initial investment. You will also be asked to submit a marriage and birth certificate accordingly to prove the relationship with your family member. 

Costa Rica Rentista Visa Benefits

Some benefits of living in Costa Rica thanks to the rentista visa are

  • Warm weather. Say goodbye to seasonal sadness as Costa Rica offers warm and sunny weather all year long to let you enjoy its

Some benefits of obtaining a Costa Rican rentista visa are

  • Being your own boss, anywhere and anytime. No need to stress over working hours, as being your own boss lets you choose not only your working hours but also where you would like to work from.
  • Lower tax payment tax system. Usually, anyone providing income for the Costa Rican government pays around 30% in taxes, whereas as a digital nomad, you will only be required to tax 10-15% of your income.
  • Chance to apply for permanent residency. With a rentista visa, after meeting some additional requirements, you will be eligible for permanent residency. This is an important benefit as the permanent residence permit then enables you to apply for Costa Rican citizenship.

Is Costa Rica A Safe Country for Digital Nomads?

Located in Central America, Costa Rica is considered the safest country in the area. The government of Costa Rica also ensures additional safety measures for tourists. You are, however, advised to take some additional safety measures if you would like for your visit to go smoothly. Traveling in groups and during the day are the most common safety practices as well as not carrying your passport and a large amount of money with you for long.

As long as you pay attention to your surroundings and keep track of your belongings, visiting Costa Rica will not be an issue.

Costa Rica Must-See Places

If you need an extra push to convince you that you absolutely need to visit Costa Rica, here are some attractions you must see

Volcan Arenal

Active yet attractive, the Arenal Volcano is one of the places that everyone must see at least once. Located in La Fortuna, an area known for its thermal lakes and astounding beauty, the Arenal volcano is surrounded by lava flows that are intriguing to hear about let alone see with your own eyes.

The Cloud Forests

The Cloud Forests got their name from the high level of condensation as a result of the constant rainfall in the forests. The moisture gives the forests a gloomy and cloudy feel to them and is, therefore, one of the biggest attractions in Costa Rica.

Tortuguero

Just as the name suggests, Tortuguero is a small village where the Sea Turtle Conservation is located. The conservation is an exhibit that shows many types of turtle species that are currently sheltered there and visitors are more than welcome to see them.

Diamante Eco

Diamante Eco is a notorious adventure park filled with canoe rides, a forest canopy, jaguar filled wildlife center as well as a gorgeous butterfly house. If an all-in-one package is what you are searching for, look no further, as Diamante Eco is your perfect destination spot.

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