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Immigration in Costa Rica

I get asked about this more often than anything else so felt it necessary to clear up a couple of things…There are several types of visas that you can apply for but the 3 most common are Pensinado, Rentista and Investor status. There are new laws coming into effect August 12, 2006 that will changing the amount necessary to file for Rentista status.  Before August, you needed $60,000 (for the entire family) put into a bank in Costa Rica or a bank of your own with a special letter from your bank….not easy to get.  This is to prove that you have $1000 per month income over a 5 year period of time.  You have to change these dollars into colones each month.

The big changes as I understand them are as follows.  Now the amount required is $60,000 per adult and $30,000 per dependant child.  This can mean that a family of 4 will need to show $180,000 in a bank somewhere being held as security with the ability to withdraw $3,000 per month.  That is $1,000 per adult and $500 per child.  If your filing for residency rentista status in particular, it’s best to do it as soon as possible and before July 1, 2006 if at all possible.

There are other laws changing as well.  One thing that hasn’t been decided yet is whether or not you will have to file your documents in the country that you live in with the Costa Rica Consulate.  At present, you can file in your home country or in Costa Rica.  This is still undecided and we won’t know until the law actually goes into effect in August.

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