Move To Costa Rica On A Digital Nomad Visa

Costa Rica is finally enacting the Digital Nomad Visa law passed in July 2021. Although this is not a residency class stay, it is an up-to-two-year stay that is a good introductory period for visitors to get a feel for if the pura vida lifestyle is right for them to make a more permanent move. 

Today’s buyers of Costa Rica real estate are typically spending a length of time renting and traveling the country before deciding where to settle and buy real estate. This Digital Nomad Visa class allows for people to rent in Costa Rica and test the waters without having to leave the country every 90 days to get a new tourist visa stamp.

About The Digital Nomad Visa

Costa Rica’s new government has finally completed the new immigration regulations and is ready to enact the digital nomad visa. It has already been signed by President Chavez and is awaiting publication of the law in the national paper, La Gaceta, which makes it official.

The Digital Nomad Visa is essentially an extended visa for one year with the possibility to renew for one more year afterwards. The ease of this option for singles and families working online to travel to Costa Rica for an extended stay while deciding on if this is a place to make a permanent home.

With a Digital Nomad Visa in Costa Rica, the applicant(s) cannot later change to the category of residency and will have to file a separate application for residency class.

This visa caters specifically to digital workers who are earning an income outside of Costa Rica while living here for 1 – 2 years. The one-year Digital Nomad Visa is open to applicants who are self-employed or work for a company abroad (outside of Costa Rica). 

The applicant must receive a foreign income of at least $3,000 USD per month from their work abroad. A family applying must show an income of $4,000 USD per month. 

Applicants will need to prove their income through bank statements and/or payment receipts. It will not be important to demonstrate the type of employment.

How To Apply For Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa

The steps of the application will be as follows:

  • Fill out an application form and pay the $100 application fee
  • Attach an image of your passport ID page and the page with your last entry stamp
  • Attach your bank statements with an affidavit stating that the bank statements have been obtained by an accredited financial institution showing the minimum amount of income per month needed for the applicant(s).

Families applying will need to show additional documentation like:

  • A marriage certificate with no more than six months of issuance from the date the application is filed or a document showing common law marriage status issued by an official agency
  • A birth certificate for people under 25 years of age that are the children of the main applicant.
  • Medical proof of disability of any dependents on the application.
  • Senior relatives must show documents proving they are the family of the main applicant.

Incentives Of The Digital Nomad Visa

Aside from not having to leave every three months (90 days) to get a new tourist visa stamp to stay in Costa Rica, Digital Nomad Visa applicants are exempt from paying income tax in Costa Rica on their foreign income. They are also exempt from importation tax on any equipment required for their job, including laptops, cell phones, cameras, and more.

This Costa Rica visa class will come with its own identification card, which will likely cost around $130 USD.

Digital Nomad Visa holders will not be enrolled in Costa Rica’s social security program, CAJA. Instead, they will be required to have private medical insurance for coverage of at least $50,000 per person on the application.

There will be no background check requirements for acquiring this visa. Foreign documents required will not need to be apostilled. And there is no need for a digital signature in Costa Rica.

The ease of requirements of this newly approved legislation will make for an easy transition for people thinking about moving to Costa Rica but not sure if it will align with their lifestyles. It is often recommended on expat blogs and forums that potential buyers should spend time renting in Costa Rica before buying property. It is well advised to visit the different areas to see if they find the place that feels right for them. People often know when they have found the region/town that most fits their energy and lifestyle. The Digital Nomad Visa will allow for an easier decision period where visa holders can rent a home and get a feel for the lifestyle over one or two years without the pressure of commitment.

The Evolution Of The Digital Nomad Visa

The digital nomad Visa legislation was originally passed in July 2021. However, the regulations had been deliberated for the last year and have only now been agreed upon and signed by the new President of Costa Rica. Previous versions of the law have been eliminated because the excessive procedures would have been a barrier to prospective applicants.

Once this migratory condition is finalized with the printing in La Gaceta, foreigners will be authorized to enter Costa Rica on their visitor’s visa and they will have 90 days to submit an application with Costa Rica’s immigration department, which will process the Digital Nomad Visa application. There will be a face-to-face appointment with an immigration official in this process. If this appointment is missed, the applicant visa status will be canceled.

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