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How to Retire in Costa Rica

Costa Rica welcomes overseas nationals, especially those from the US, who are looking to retire to the country. The Costa Rican retirement visa will open up new opportunities for you in your retirement or if you decide to retire early.

Reach out to one of our immigration consultants for more information on Costa Rica Retirement visas and personalised advice on how to secure a Retirement Visa.  Contact us at +1 844 290 6312, or via email.

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    Who Can Apply for a Costa Rica Retirement Visa?

    Both US citizens and foreign nationals can apply for a Costa Rica retirement Visa. For Americans, travelling to Costa Rica is not difficult because it is only a short flight away. But in order to stay and take use of your retirement once you’re there, you’ll need the necessary documentation. Enrolling in the Pensionado Program, which is designed for seniors, is your first resident choice. If you are currently living outside of Costa Rica, you can apply for a Costa Rica retirement visa at a Costa Rican consulate or embassy.

    Regardless of your citizenship, you must have sufficient funds and health insurance to demonstrate that you won’t put a strain on the government before you can apply for a Costa Rica Retirement Visa.

    Speak with one of the experienced immigration attorneys if you’re unsure whether you need a visa to enter the nation. Depending on your individual situation, they will clarify to you in detail what the first stage of applying for the Costa Rica Retirement Visa should be.

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    What are the Costa Rica Retirement Visa Options?


    There are three types of retirement visas that are available to those looking to retire to Costa Rica and they have differing criteria.

    • Pensionado (Pensioner)
    • Inversionista (Purchasing in Costa Rica)
    • Rentista (Stable Unearned Income)

    Pensionado (Pensioner)

    • Show an income of USD 1000 per month from pension, Business, fixed retirement plan etc.
    • Under a single pension income, this route covers the applicant and their spouse.
    • For the first three years following acceptance, the status is “temporary,” after which permanent residency may be requested.
    • Pesionado Residency must be renewed yearly, and proof of income is necessary.

    Inversionista (Purchasing in Costa Rica)

    • To obtain citizenship through financial means, you must invest a minimum of $US 200,000 in actual property, shares, negotiable instruments, and productive ventures.
    • Under the cover of one investment, this option covers the applicant, their spouse, and any children under the age of 25.
    • Inversionista Visa is temporary for three years initially.
    • You must renew this Visa every two years

    Rentista (Stable Unearned Income)

    • You could be eligible to apply if you aren’t covered by a fixed income pension if you have at least two years of unearned income from investments like mutual funds, equities, rental income, etc.
    • Obtain a document from a bank or financial advisor indicating that $60,000 would be sent to Costa Rica at a monthly rate of $2,500 for the subsequent two years.
    • This route covers the applicant, their spouse, and any children under the age of 25 who are supported by a single source of income.
    • The status for at least three years stays “temporary,” following which you can apply for permanent residency.
    • Rentista residency must be renewed on an annual basis.

    Are you planning to retire in Costa Rica? Our expert immigration lawyers can help you. Contact Us

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      What Are the Fees and Processing Times of a Retirement Visa Application?

      The fee for the visa application:

      • Approximately $2500 for the primary applicant, plus $1500-2000 for each dependent.
      • Around $3000 each renewal plus $2000-$2500 per dependant

      Additional costs you can expect to pay

      There are a few regular charges to be aware of when applying for Costa Rican residence, aside from professional and government fees.

      • Costa Rican Social Security (CAJA) payments range from 9.65 percent to 15.67 percent of your monthly earnings.
      • “Assured” Bond, which is the cost of a plane ticket return to your native country. In 2022, it will be $361 for US citizens.
      • $25 voluntary donation to the Costa Rican government
      • DIMEX ID card issuance – $123

      The processing time varies depending on circumstances but it can take around 12-15 months in total to get a Costa Rican Retirement Visa approved.

      How to apply for a Costa Rica Retirement Visa?

      These are various steps to follow to apply for a visa that will enable you to retire to Costa Rica:

      Prepare your documents – You should ensure you have all your paperwork in place before making an application for a visa. Double check if you need any documents translated into another language etc.

      Entering the country – You should only travel to Costa Rica once you have all the necessary paperwork and permissions in place.

      Employing a Lawyer – This step is completely optional. However, hiring an attorney might speed up the process and prevent delays or possible refusal.

      Reach out to the Immigration Office – You will need to complete your Retirement Visa application at the Costa Rican immigration office. It is where you will submit all of your documentation, perhaps undergo interviews with immigration officials, and receive your residency permit.

      Consular Registration – You must travel to the Consular to register if your own nation has a consular presence there. Simply inform the consulate of your nation that you are in Costa Rica and intend to apply for residence.

      Registration of fingerprints – Your fingerprints must be registered with the Ministry of Public Safety. Fortunately, this is also in San Jose, so schedule a time to get your fingerprints taken. Fingerprint registration is only required for candidates who are older than 12 years old.

      Wait for a decision – After submitting everything, all that’s left to do is wait for your application for a visa to be processed.

      What Documents Should You Include to Apply for the Visa?

      A variety of documentation must be included in your application to confirm your eligibility for the Costa Rica Retirement Visa. The following documents are required to complete your application for the retirement visa:

      • A letter of request outlining the reason for your application to Costa Rica. The request letter must include the lawyer’s first and last name, nationality, age, occupation, address, and other key details. The letter must be signed by a public notary or an immigration official.
      • Two passport-sized pictures – this must be in color and taken recently.
      • Application form has been fully completed and signed.
      • The Ministry of Public Safety produced proof of fingerprint registration. This rule does not apply to dependents under the age of 12.
      • Legalised and authenticated birth certificate issued by your country of origin (not older than six months).
      • A validated and authenticated document of your previous criminal record from your home country or the last three years’ residence. Applicants from the United States must present a Federal Criminal Background Certificate that is no more than six months old.
      • Copies of all relevant passport pages.
      • The relevant authority that has granted your lifetime pension. This document must confirm that you will be getting a monthly pension of more than $1,000.
      • For accompanying dependents: Submit supporting papers, such as a marriage or birth certificate, as well as any medical certifications needed to support their application.
      • Proof of payment is required. Attach the receipt to the remainder of the paperwork after you have paid the necessary fee.
      • Payment of $1.25 to $2.50 every page submitted with the residency request.

      If you wish to obtain a retirement visa in Costa Rica, reach out to us and we will make it happen. Contact Us

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        Reasons for Refusal of Retirement Visa

        There are a number of reasons why US citizens are unable to retire in Costa Rica.

        • Most expats may not have the equivalent monthly salary.
        • Many expats do not have health insurance.

        Other possible explanations include:

        • You have been convicted of a crime and are either serving time in prison or awaiting trial.
        • You were convicted of a crime but have not served your sentence (probation or parole).
        • Within the previous ten years, you were convicted of a felony.
        • You are wanted for a criminal offence and will most likely be arrested if you enter Costa Rica.
        • Within the last ten years, you have been deported from Costa Rica.

        How can IAS help?

        At IAS, we have competent immigration attorneys on staff who can assist you with your retirement visa application and advise you of any potential issues.

        Our attorneys are knowledgeable about Costa Rica’s immigration regulations and can assist you in filing and submitting your visa application. They will handle your application procedure with care to eliminate the worry and potential costs that come with a rejected application.

        If you are concerned about your eligibility because of a criminal past, we will assist you in determining the best options suitably for retiring to Costa Rica.

        Our attorneys are able to clarify the terms of Costa Rica’s retirement visa so that you do not break any of them. If you have any more concerns about how to retire in Costa Rica, our attorneys are here to help. Contact us at +1 844 290 6312 to learn how our attorneys may assist you.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Some people prefer to renew their visas every three months in one of the surrounding countries. This is a costly alternative because you must have a leaving flight within 90 days and pay for transportation to the border if utilising a shuttle service.

                  Depending on the country you visit to renew your visa, you may be required to comply with their entrance requirements, which may include a health test or immunisations. If you choose to do so, you always run the danger of being granted the time the immigration officer desires, since they are not required to allow you 90 days.

                  Yes, it is easy to get a Costa Rican residency under professional guidance. A pension or retirement fund with a minimum monthly income of $1,000 in the Costa Rican bank account or more qualifies for retiree, or pensionado, residency, which is good for five years. You can convert to permanent resident status after three years, which is a quick process that will give you nearly all the privileges of a Costa Rican citizen.

                  Much depends on your location and the sort of lifestyle you like, since it might be a less expensive retirement option than many other countries across the world. Some claim they can live on $1500 per month, but this may reduce you to the bare requirements of life, preventing you from enjoying it.

                  To live comfortably and stress-free, you need at least $2,000 per month and preferably $3,000 per month.