Sandwiched between Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested paradise with an easy-going, “Pura Vida” approach to life. The Central American country is incredibly popular with holidaymakers, backpackers, and—more recently—remote workers thanks to its new digital nomad visa.
Available as of July 2022, the remote working visa is the perfect choice for digital nomads looking to spend up to a full year in the country. Find out everything you need to know about the Costa Rica digital nomad visa in our remote working guide below.
What is the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa?
The Costa Rica Digital Nomad visa, released in July 2022, allows for remote workers to live and work in the country for up to one full year with the additional option of further renewal.
The digital nomad visa is more closely related to a residential permit, allowing visitors to stay in the country longer than a tourism visa with additional benefits offered.
The country is no stranger to digital nomads and, until now, those looking to live and explore Costa Rica would be required to leave after a 90-day period. The introduction of the digital nomad visa is a huge step forward for remote workers with a permanent solution finally offered. In addition to independent remote working visas, applicants are also able to bring both their spouse and dependents to accompany them on the digital nomad visa.
Why is the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa Better Than a Tourist Visa?
Thanks to the permissions granted with the visa documentation, nomads can now stay in Costa Rica for an initial period of up to one year. The visa is also offered with an optional extension of one additional year if remote workers spend at least 80 days within the territory.
Digital nomads holding remote working visas are able to open a local bank account with the issued visas. Additionally, remote workers are exempt from local taxes and can drive with a driver's license from their home country. Following the temporary move to Costa Rica, import taxes are also waived, allowing remote workers to import technology (such as computers) and up to two vehicles tax-free.
Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
There are a few visa requirements that must be satisfied by when applying for a Costa Rica remote working visa. For digital nomads applying for a single remote working visa, the following requirements are enforced:
- Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid at the time of application.
- $3,000 Monthly Income: Applicants must prove a stable minimum income of at least $3,000 per month.
- Health Insurance: Applicants must show health insurance proof that covers them for the entire visa duration.
For digital nomads applying for a remote working visa with dependents, the following additional requirements are enforced:
- $4,000 Monthly Income: The minimum monthly income requirement increases to $4,000 for remote workers looking to bring dependents.
- Marriage Certificate: A marriage certificate or documentation represents a declaration or recognition of the civil union, that must have been issued within the last six months.
- Birth Certificates: Copies of the birth certificates of both minor children and/or unmarried children up to the age of 25.
- Medical Opinion: If any dependent is a person with disabilities, a medical opinion that identifies this condition is required with application.
- Familial Link for Seniors: Any accompanying senior dependents must prove a familial link or proof of cohabitation by means of an affidavit.
Any applicant that does not satisfy these critera will be requested to supply additional supplementary information or may be denied.
How to Apply
Applying for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa can be confusing—that’s why we’ve created a step-by-guide to help streamline the process to help digital nomads apply for the remote work visa.
Step 1: Collect and Translate all Necessary Documents
The first step when applying for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa is to collect all of the necessary documents ready for submission. It’s important to note that all of the documents must be translated into Spanish by an accredited translator before they can be submitted. The following documents are required with every visa application:
- Copy of passport valid at the time of application
- Proof of remote work showing minimum income requirements
- Bank Statements with a signed affidavit
- Proof of health insurance for the trip duration
All documents should be digitized before starting the visa application process.
Step 2: Complete an Application Submission
Following the collection of all required documents, digital nomads are then able to submit the visa application online.
The submission process requires all applicants to register for an account and to create a username and password to use on the online hub. Unlike some other visa applications, an in-person interview or travel to a local embassy or consulate is not necessary. Applications can instead be conveniently processed entirely online, although an in-person application is possible.
Step 3: Await Visa Approval
Once the application has been processed, nomads are simply required to await approval from the Costa Rican government. The current processing time sits within 15 calendar days with notification of either application approval or rejection.
If any issues arise within the visa application, a single written notice will be issued within 5 days of the visa application. This will detail any documentation or information omitted from the application with applicants given eight working days to complete or clarify their details.
Step 4: Obtain a Residence Permit
Following the approval of the remote working visa, digital nomads are then able to travel to Costa Rica where they then have three months to obtain a residence permit. The residence permit must be obtained with biometric data and can be sourced by scheduling an appointment in Costa Rica. Remote workers should be sure to bring along all of the application documents to apply for the permit. Standard residence and immigration fees must be paid at this appointment to gain access to the temporary residence permit.
Why Choose Costa Rica For Your Next Remote Working Trip?
Costa Rica is one of the top destinations for digital nomads thanks to its strong remote work culture, low cost of living, and high quality of life. The only thing better than the easygoing attitude are the picturesque beaches and rainforests that provide jaw-dropping scenery at every turn. Thanks to convenient time zones, it also makes for an excellent location for all U.S. and Canada-based nomads, but there are many more reasons why Costa Rica is one of the top destinations for remote workers looking to spend a significant period of time abroad.
Remote Work Culture in Costa Rica
With more than 50,000 expats, remote workers, and digital nomads already calling Costa Rica home, it’s no secret that the destination is a top choice for a location-independent lifestyle. Fast internet connections are available, although cafe-lovers and hotel warriors should note that WiFi can be spotty—although things are improving.
Cost of Living and Quality of Life in Costa Rica
When compared to the United States, Canada, or most countries in Europe, the cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively low. A two-bedroom apartment can be leased for circa $1,000 per month with a remote working couple able to live comfortably on a budget of approximately $2,000 per month. Details on rental properties will vary according to the areas chosen with prices dropping dramatically when you move away from the capital.
Healthcare in Costa Rica
The healthcare available in Costa Rica is of high quality with the country often referenced as having some of the best globally. According to the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Rankings, Costa Rica is ranked 33/167 for healthcare, directly above Canada.
Medical tourism is relatively popular in Costa Rica with prices often ⅓ or even ¼ of the price for the same procedures in the U.S. Prices for individual doctor visits range between $60 and $75 whereas specialist care will be closer to $100 for uninsured visitors. All remote workers and digital nomads are required to show proof of healthcare when applying for a digital nomad visa.
The Costa Rica digital nomad visa, available as of July 2022, is one of the most highly anticipated remote working visas globally. The country is a fantastic destination with beautiful nature and a relaxed way of life.
With more than 50,000 expats and remote workers currently living in Costa Rica, it was only a matter of time before official support was implemented. The application process for the remote working visa is quick and easy, although the requirement to translate all documents into Spanish can prove to be a short hurdle for applicants.