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Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa: Everything You Need to Know

Many remote workers are curious about Costa Rica's digital nomad visa, because they're drawn to the country's tropical climate. This breakdown will help you understand if the visa is right for you.

Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jan 23, 20245 minutes
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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Costa Rica attracts visitors from all over the world, and it's no wonder remote workers and digital nomads want to work from the country. In 2012, it was ranked as the happiest country in the world and continues to beat out wealthier countries for high living satisfaction. It is consistently ranked one of the best places to live throughout Central America.  The government of Costa Rica is stable and democratic, making it a great place for visitors and digital nomads alike. 

However, to immigrate to the country on a regular residency visa, there is an extensive screening process, and the government requires employers within the country to hire Costa Rican citizens before expats. Many people outside of Costa Rica who want to live and work within the country are denied a visa or don’t meet the extensive requirements for approval. 

But, Costa Rica does offer a visa option for digital nomads under their DNV visa. So, while applying for permanent residency or a work visa may pose a challenge, the government still accommodates digital nomads who want to live and work remotely in the country for a period of time. 

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Who will be able to apply for the visa? 

Anyone is able to apply for a digital nomad visa as long as they meet all of the requirements in their application. Digital nomads will need to provide a stable monthly income, proof of health insurance, and documents proving they can work remotely. There is no regulation on country of origin or limitation for foreign nationals who want to apply for the visa. Visa holders can open a bank account with their home country’s official identification, including a driver’s license 

You must be a remote worker employed by a company that is outside of Costa Rica to qualify for this specific visa type. 

What are the requirements for a digital nomad visa in Costa Rica? 

To be considered for the D7 digital nomad visa, you must be a remote worker and work for a foreign company. 

Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa application is a bit more extensive than other countries who also offer this type of visa. You will need to create an application online through the Tramite Ya platform or in-person at the regional offices for the General Directorate of Immigration.

You must provide all of the required documents in your application, including:

  • Proof of payment of $100 USD or the equivalent amount in Costa Rican colon to the Banco de Costa Rica.

  • A copy of your passport page from a valid passport that contains your picture and biographical information. If you’re already in the country, you’ll need to provide a picture of the Costa Rican entry stamp from when you arrived. 

  • Proof of international health insurance.

  • Proof of income (usually bank statements) that show your monthly income of at least $3,000 USD. Your monthly income has to be the same or more than the base requirement each month. You can’t have an income of $4,000 one month and then $2,000 another month. It has to be a stable amount above $3,000 per month to be considered.

All official documents in a foreign language other than Spanish need to be translated. To make an appointment with immigration officials, visit the DGME website or contact the Immigration Call Center at 1311.

Applications must be approved within 15 calendar days by the Foreign Nationals Administration. If any additional documentation or requirements are needed, they must issue notice in writing within 5 days of the original application date. The applicant will have 8 days to resolve any issues to be considered. Travelers will not be able to enter the country without showing all of the required documents. 

Additional documentation

Once your application is approved, there may be additional regulations for foreign nationals depending on their country of origin, so you should do as much research as you can about the application process before considering becoming a digital nomad visa here.  

If you’re planning on bringing dependents or family members, they can also apply for a digital nomad visa, but they need to complete the above steps first. 

They will also need to show additional documents including: 

  • Marriage certificates

  • Documents that recognize a civil union

  • Copy of a birth certificate for minor children or married children under the age of 25

  • If the dependent has a disability, a medical opinion that outlines the condition

  • Elder dependents must show a familial link or cohabitation to the original digital nomad applying  

How long will the digital nomad visa for Costa Rica be valid? 

Because applying for a permanent residency in Costa Rica is difficult, digital nomad visas give foreigners the option to stay in Costa Rica for up to one year.  

By law, there is a minimum stay requirement for the digital nomad visa to be renewed where the applicant must have been in the country for at least 180 days or at least half the time of their visa. 

Digital nomads have the option to renew their visa for one additional year by going into their online portal and paying an additional $90 and completing the steps for renewal. You will still need to show all of the same requirements to have your stay extended. 

Tax breaks

One of the major advantages of the digital nomad visa is that foreigners will not be required to pay any type of income tax during their stay. 

Most countries that offer this digital nomad visa, including Spain and Portugal, require expats living in the country to pay income taxes. However, Costa Rica opted out of these requirements, making it an ideal location for foreigners to escape for a while. 

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FAQ

Does Costa Rica have a digital nomad visa? 

Yes, as of October 21, 2022, Costa Rica introduced a digital nomad visa. The visa is designed to allow remote workers from around the world to live the nomadic lifestyle within Costa Rica without having to go through the strenuous process of applying for a work visa. 

Do digital nomads pay taxes in Costa Rica? 

No, digital nomads are completely exempt from having to pay income taxes in Costa Rica. 

Can you work remotely in Costa Rica on a tourist visa? 

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days in Costa Rica, you will not be able to work remotely on a tourist visa. Tourist visas in Costa Rica are only good for 90 days. After that, you will need to apply for a different visa type, like a work visa or a digital nomad visa. 

Can I work remotely and live in Costa Rica? 

Yes, Costa Rica just introduced a new visa type that allows foreigners to work remotely from their company while living in the country for up to two years. There is a list of requirements that you need to meet to be considered for this visa type, so you should do research before considering this remote working option. 

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Jan 23, 20245 minutes

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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