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New Immigration Laws

The new immigration law went into effect August 12, 2006 but no one seems to know how it is going to affect those filing for Rentista status and other items that are supposed to change with the new law.  Even the attorneys are stumped and don’t have the answers at this time.

The law was passed raising the amount you need for a family of 4 from $60k to $180k but we don’t know if this is going to be enforced.  There was an article presented by the government recently that stated the law would not go into effect until December 2007 but yet it passed on August 12 as originally planned. There is a lot of conflicting information floating around out there right now.  They are even talking (the government) about recending the law as though it never happened.

There are no funds available to enforce the new laws and that is the main reason for all the problems with the new law.  We don’t have the law enforcement, nor the funds to police as required by the new law.  This has put the Costa Rican government between a rock and a hard place on what needs to be done at this juncture.

Bottom line…we don’t know how this new law is going to affect us but as we learn more, we will pass the information onto you.

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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.