Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa: Requirements & Application Process

If the idea of trading your usual workspace for a view of Costa Rica’s lush landscapes and sandy beaches appeals to you, then you’ll be interested in the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa.

Costa Rica offers a special visa to non-resident remote workers and digital entrepreneurs. The key criteria are that you must work remotely and have clients or employers based outside of Costa Rica.

What makes this visa particularly appealing is the practical benefits it offers. You’re looking at a reduction in income tax and the ability to open a local bank account, making your stay more manageable financially.

Plus, with this visa, you’re not just a tourist passing through; you get an entire year, extendable for another, to immerse yourself in the Costa Rican way of life.

Let’s explore what’s required and how to start applying for your Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa;

blue sky and blue sea surrounded by green trees mountain

What Is The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa?

The official name of this visa is the “Temporary Visa for Remote Workers and Service Providers of International Character.” It’s commonly referred to as the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa.

This visa is designed for individuals who work remotely and earn their income from companies or clients outside of Costa Rica. It’s a perfect fit for digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers who want to experience living in Costa Rica while continuing their professional activities.

The visa is valid for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year, provided the visa conditions are still met.

The Benefits of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

hot spring surrounded by the nature with green plants and trees
  1. Extended Stay and Work Legality: One of the most significant advantages of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa is the ability to legally stay and work in Costa Rica for up to a year, with a possible extension for another year. This is a game-changer for digital nomads who typically navigate the limitations of short-term tourist visas.
  2. Exemption from Local Income Tax: Holders of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa are exempt from paying local income taxes on their foreign-earned income. This financial benefit is a major draw for digital nomads who earn their living online, as it allows them to maximize their earnings.
  3. High-Speed Internet Access: Costa Rica boasts an impressive average internet speed, making it an ideal destination for remote work. This connectivity is essential for digital nomads, ensuring uninterrupted work, seamless communication, and the ability to meet deadlines no matter where they are in the country.
  4. Access to Banking Facilities: Although not a requirement for the visa, digital nomads with the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa have the option to open a bank account in a Costa Rican bank. This can simplify financial transactions, such as paying for local services or renting accommodations.
  5. Inclusion of Dependents: The visa allows the inclusion of family members, which means digital nomads can bring their spouses or dependents with them. This feature is particularly beneficial for those looking to experience the digital nomad lifestyle as a family.
  6. Healthcare and Insurance Flexibility: Applicants are required to have health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay, but they have the flexibility to choose an insurance provider that best suits their needs, whether it’s a Costa Rican provider or an international one.
  7. Diverse Living Environments: Costa Rica offers a variety of living environments suitable for all preferences, from bustling cities to tranquil beach towns. This diversity allows digital nomads to choose a location that best matches their lifestyle and work preferences.
  8. Cultural Immersion and Networking: Living in Costa Rica under a digital nomad visa enables deeper cultural immersion. Digital nomads have the opportunity to engage with local communities, learn Spanish, and network with other international remote workers and local Costa Ricans.
  9. Environmental Sustainability and Biodiversity: As a global leader in environmental protection and sustainability, Costa Rica provides a unique setting for digital nomads who are environmentally conscious and wish to live and work in a country that aligns with their values.
  10. Ease of Travel: The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa allows multiple entries into the country, making it easy for digital nomads to travel, explore neighboring countries, or visit home without complications related to their visa status.
  11. Import Duty Exemptions: To make your stay more comfortable, the visa includes exemptions from import duties for items like computers and other work-related equipment.
  12. No Minimum Stay Requirement: Unlike some visas, there’s no requirement to stay in Costa Rica for a minimum number of days each year, giving you flexibility in travel.

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa offers a blend of legal, financial, and lifestyle benefits that are tailor-made for the modern digital nomad. It’s an opportunity to work and live in one of Central America’s most beautiful and progressive countries, turning the dream of a balanced work-life in a tropical paradise into a reality.

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa – Requirements, Application & Costs

waterfalls in the middle of the forest surrounded by green trees and plants

Here’s a comprehensive and updated step-by-step guide for processing the requirements, application, and costs involved in securing a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa:

Step 1: Understanding Eligibility

  • Remote Work Requirement: You must work for a foreign company, operate a business, or freelance with clients outside of Costa Rica.
  • Stable Income: Proof of a monthly income of $3,000, or $4,000 if you plan to bring family members​​. Living comfortably in Costa Rica costs about $1,500 to $2,000 for a single person and roughly $3,000 to $3,500 for a family of four, covering all essential expenses.

Step 2: Gathering Necessary Documents

  • Passport: Valid at the time of applying.
  • Bank Statements: Showing a stable income, along with a signed affidavit.
  • Proof of Health Insurance: The Policy must cover the entire duration of the visa.
  • Professional Translation: All documents must be translated into Spanish by an accredited translator​​​​.

Step 3: Filling Out the Application Form

  • Online Application: Complete the application process online at tramiteya.go.cr. Create a username and password, and upload the necessary documents​​​​.
  • Family Members: Include additional documents if applying with family members, such as marriage or birth certificates​​.

Step 4: Submitting the Application

  • Application Fee: Pay the visa application fee of $100, plus an additional $238 for a guarantee deposit​​.
  • Online Submission: Submit the application and supporting documents online.

Step 5: Processing and Approval

  • Wait Time: It takes about 14 days for the government to process your digital nomad visa application. You will be notified about the approval or denial​​.
  • Immigration Accreditation: Once in Costa Rica, you have three months to obtain your immigration accreditation document. This involves a face-to-face appointment with an official from the immigration department​​.

Step 6: Obtaining Residence Documents

  • Appointment in Costa Rica: Schedule an appointment through the DGME’s Web Appointments Portal.
  • Documentation: Bring all the documents used in the application process. Pay standard residence and immigration fees to receive your temporary residence permit​​​​.

Step 7: Renewal (If Necessary)

  • Residency Requirement: To renew the visa, you must have resided in Costa Rica for a minimum of 180 days.
  • Renewal Process: Similar to the initial application, with proof of continued income and insurance coverage​​.

Important Reminders

  • Not for Local Employment: You cannot work for a Costa Rican company with this visa.
  • No Path to Permanent Residency: This visa does not lead to permanent residency in Costa Rica​​​​.

Costs Summary

  • Application Fee: $100.
  • Guarantee Deposit: Additional $238.
  • Health Insurance: Varies depending on the provider and coverage.
  • Translation and Notarization Costs: As applicable.
mountain view with fog in the mount of the volcano surrounded by green trees and up in the blue sky - costa rica digital nomad visa

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa – What To Do and What To Avoid

Applying for a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa can be a smooth process if you follow these practical and actionable tips:

What You Should Do

  • Verify Eligibility: Ensure you meet the basic criteria, including working for a foreign company and meeting the minimum income requirements ($3,000 for individuals, $4,000 for families).
  • Gather Necessary Documents: Prepare your valid passport, proof of remote work, bank statements showing stable income, and proof of comprehensive health insurance​​​​.
  • Ensure Document Accuracy: Double-check that all your documents, especially financial proofs, are up-to-date and accurate. Discrepancies can lead to delays or rejections.
  • Professional Translation: If your documents are not in Spanish, get them professionally translated and certified, as required by Costa Rican authorities​​​​.
  • Apply Online: Complete the application on the official tramiteya.go.cr platform. Ensure all the information you provide is consistent with your documentation.
  • Pay Application Fees Promptly: Pay the required fees ($100 application fee and $238 guarantee deposit) without delay to avoid any processing hiccups​​.
  • Follow Up: After submission, periodically check your application status and be responsive to any additional information requests from the authorities.

What to Avoid

  • Incomplete Documentation: Submitting incomplete or incorrect documents is a common pitfall. Ensure every required document is included and accurately filled out.
  • Inadequate Health Insurance: Your health insurance must cover the entire duration of your stay. Inadequate coverage is a common reason for application denial.
  • Underestimating Processing Time: Don’t make immediate travel plans post-application. Allow sufficient time for processing and potential delays.
  • Applying with Ineligible Employment: Remember, working for a Costa Rican company or competing in the local job market is not permitted under this visa.
  • Ignoring Legal and Tax Implications: Understand the legal and tax implications of your stay in Costa Rica. Being uninformed can lead to complications later.
  • Neglecting Visa Renewal Requirements: If you plan to extend your visa, remember the requirement to stay in Costa Rica for at least 180 days during the first year​​.

Being meticulous in your preparation and understanding the specifics of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa process is key to a successful application.

white concrete building in the middle of the community- costa rica digital nomad visa

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa – Resources to Stay Up to Date with Visa Changes

Always refer to the latest information from official sources and consider consulting with an immigration expert if needed. This careful approach will help you avoid common pitfalls and set you on the path to enjoying your digital nomad journey in Costa Rica.

Here’s some resources you may find useful;

Atlys.com

iVisa.com

World Visa Guide

Essential Costa Rica

Costa Rica Immigration Experts

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Do I Need a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa?

Deciding whether you need a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa depends largely on your intentions and duration of stay in this Central American paradise. If you plan to work remotely while soaking in the vibrant culture of cities like San Jose and exploring the natural wonders that make Costa Rica a top destination among Central American countries, then this visa might be essential for you.

Key Considerations for the Digital Nomad Visa

  • Duration of Stay: One of the primary considerations is how long you intend to stay and work in Costa Rica. The standard tourist visa may suffice for short stays. However, for longer durations, the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, specifically designed for digital nomads, becomes necessary. This visa caters to those who wish to immerse themselves longer in the Costa Rican lifestyle without the need to frequently renew a tourist visa.
  • Legal Working Status: The digital nomad visa legalizes your status as a remote worker in Costa Rica. It’s crucial for those who want to ensure they’re complying with local laws while working for companies or clients based in their home country or other foreign nations.
  • Financial and Tax Benefits: One of the significant advantages of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa is the tax benefits it offers. Foreign nationals on this visa enjoy tax benefits, including full income tax exemption on their foreign-earned income, making it financially advantageous for long-term stays.
  • Opening a Costa Rican Bank Account: Although not a mandatory requirement for the visa, having a local bank account can be convenient. It simplifies transactions like paying for accommodations or local services, offering an added layer of ease for your financial dealings within Costa Rica.
  • Family Considerations: If you plan to bring family members, the digital nomad visa allows for this inclusion, ensuring that your family can legally stay with you in Costa Rica. This is particularly beneficial for those looking to experience the country as a family unit.
  • Engagement with Local Authorities: It’s always a good idea to consult with the Costa Rican Embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most up-to-date information regarding visa requirements and processes. They can provide detailed guidance tailored to your specific situation.
  • Visiting Costa Rica for Scouting: If you’re still undecided, consider a preliminary visit to Costa Rica on a tourist visa. This can give you a taste of what living in Costa Rica might be like and help you decide if the digital nomad lifestyle here aligns with your personal and professional goals.

Whether you need a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa hinges on several factors, including your work nature, stay duration, financial considerations, and family needs. This visa stands as a gateway to a balanced work-life experience in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich countries in Central America. For those looking to blend professional productivity with the allure of the tropics, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Best Places to Live or Explore In Costa Rica for Digital Nomads

hanging bridge in the middle of a forest surrounded by green trees - costa rica digital nomad visa

Costa Rica stands out among Central American countries as a prime destination for digital nomads, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a comfortable lifestyle. Here’s a closer look at why these locations are ideal for digital nomads:

San José

top view of a a lot of tall buildings in the city during night time - costa rica digital nomad visa

As the capital city, San José is the pulsating heart of Costa Rica. It’s perfect for nomads seeking an urban environment with modern amenities. The city provides access to the Costa Rican Embassy, making it convenient for managing visa-related matters. With a range of coworking spaces and a thriving expat community, it’s a hub for networking and socializing.

Santa Teresa and Tamarindo

These beach towns are idyllic for those who prefer a blend of work and leisure by the sea. The relaxed atmosphere, combined with a reliable internet connection, makes them perfect for digital nomads. They offer a laid-back lifestyle that’s conducive to creativity and productivity.

Puerto Viejo

top view of a community beside the  beach with green trees- costa rica digital nomad visa

Known for its Afro-Caribbean influence, this town is ideal for digital nomads who appreciate cultural diversity and natural scenery. The area’s laid-back vibe and vibrant community life make it a great place for those who want to immerse themselves in a unique cultural setting.

Monteverde and La Fortuna

top view of a forest full of green trees and sky showing sunset- costa rica digital nomad visa

For nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, these locations offer a serene environment away from the coastal heat. The cooler climate and proximity to natural wonders like cloud forests and volcanoes provide a peaceful backdrop for focused work.

Nosara and Uvita

man and woman walking a dog at the sea side during sunset- costa rica digital nomad visa

These towns are perfect for wellness-focused nomads. With yoga retreats and wellness centers, they offer a harmonious balance between work and health. The quiet beaches and biodiversity are additional perks.

Heredia and Jaco

top view of a building made of concrete rock surrounded by other houses and building - costa rica digital nomad visa

Close to San José, these areas provide a blend of colonial charm and modern convenience. They are ideal for families and those who prefer to stay connected to urban facilities while enjoying a quieter lifestyle.

Tips and Recommendations:
  • Living spaces: Research and secure comfortable accommodation that fits your work needs, including a stable internet connection.
  • Networking: Engage with local expat communities for networking and socializing, which can be crucial for a fulfilling nomadic experience.
  • Local Bank Account: Consider opening a Costa Rican bank account for ease of transactions, especially if you plan a long-term stay.
  • Visa and Legal Matters: Stay updated on foreign affairs and visa regulations through the Costa Rican Embassy, especially if you’re on a Costa Rica work visa.
  • Explore and Immerse: Each location offers unique experiences, from the urban culture of San José to the natural wonders of Manuel Antonio National Park. Take time to explore and immerse yourself in what makes Costa Rica special.
  • Health and Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive health insurance, a requirement for the digital nomad visa.
  • Tax Considerations: Understand the tax benefits associated with your visa status and how it relates to your home country.

These locations in Costa Rica not only provide an ideal setting for remote work but also offer a chance to experience a rich and varied lifestyle, making every visit to Costa Rica an opportunity to explore and grow. Whether you’re a solo traveler or moving with family members, Costa Rica’s welcoming spirit and diverse locales cater to all.

Key Considerations for Digital Nomads in Costa Rica

For digital nomads settling in Costa Rica, understanding the culture, ways of living, and widely accepted modes of payment is essential for a hassle-free experience. Here’s a detailed overview of how to conveniently navigate the digital nomad lifestyle in Costa Rica:

  • Credit and Debit Cards: Widely accepted in most tourist areas, larger cities like San José, and establishments like hotels, restaurants, and stores. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller towns or local markets where card payments may not be an option.
  • Cash: Local currency (Costa Rican Colón) is preferred, especially in smaller towns or rural areas. US Dollars are also widely accepted, but it’s better to have smaller denominations as larger bills might be hard to break.
  • Mobile Payments and Apps: The use of mobile payment apps is growing in popularity, but it’s not as widespread as in some other countries. Therefore, relying solely on mobile payments might not be feasible in all locations.
  • SIM Cards and Mobile Data: For internet access, pre-paid SIM cards are a practical choice. They are easily available and affordable. Different providers offer varied coverage, so it’s important to choose one that suits your travel itinerary in Costa Rica.
  • Banking: Opening a bank account in Costa Rica can be a bit complex for foreigners. It’s often easier to use international debit/credit cards, although you should check with your bank regarding international transaction fees.
  • ATMs: Widely available in cities and tourist areas. They dispense both Costa Rican Colón and US Dollars but be mindful of transaction fees.
  • Cryptocurrency: Its use is still in the nascent stages in Costa Rica, so relying on cryptocurrency for regular transactions is not recommended.
  • Internet Availability and Costs: In Costa Rica, internet connectivity is a critical factor for digital nomads. While the internet is widely available, it can sometimes be unreliable. In rented apartments, you may need to arrange for internet installation or upgrade the existing service. It’s common for electricity outages to occur during the rainy season, so having a battery backup/surge protector for your modem and router is advisable. Co-working spaces like WeWork in San Jose, and others in popular beach towns, offer good internet and working environments​​​​.
  • Accommodation Options: When it comes to accommodation, options like Airbnb are popular among digital nomads. Many hosts may offer deals for longer stays. Additionally, various communities have local Facebook pages where you can find rental listings. It’s worth noting that rental prices can vary significantly depending on the location and time of year​​.
  • Transportation: Costa Rica’s public transportation system is a cost-effective way to travel around the country. In most towns, you can find everything within walking distance. Bikes and ATVs are practical options for local travel, and renting a car is feasible for longer trips​​.
  • Food and Dining: Eating out in Costa Rica offers a range of options from local ‘sodas’ (traditional Costa Rican restaurants) to more international cuisine. While dining out can add up in cost, especially in touristy areas, there are affordable options available. Groceries, particularly fresh produce, are readily available in local markets and supermarkets​​.
  • Entertainment and Leisure: Costa Rica provides a plethora of activities for digital nomads to enjoy during their free time. The country’s natural beauty allows for affordable leisure activities like hiking, beach trips, and exploring national parks. Bars and nightlife are prominent in tourist towns, especially in beach areas​​.
  • Coworking Spaces: For a reliable working environment, coworking spaces are increasingly popular in Costa Rica. These spaces provide high-speed internet and a community of fellow digital nomads. Selina is one of the popular chains offering coworking and co-living spaces across the country​​​​.

While living as a digital nomad in Costa Rica, you’ll find a mix of modern conveniences and natural beauty that cater to a variety of lifestyles and work requirements. With careful planning and exploration of local resources, you can create a fulfilling and productive experience in this Central American paradise.

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Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa – Summary

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa serves as a remarkable opportunity for those seeking to blend the thrill of travel with the consistency of a professional lifestyle. This visa stands out among digital nomad visas, offering unique advantages like extended stay periods, tax benefits, and the inclusion of family members. It caters not only to solo adventurers but also to those wishing to embark on this journey with all or any family member.

To visit Costa Rica is a great opportunity to experience the country’s rich biodiversity, vibrant culture, and warm communities. Your digital nomad visa not only permits a seamless transition into the Costa Rican way of life but also provides a legally secure platform to explore and work within this beautiful country.

Remember, the world is your office, and Costa Rica could be your next destination to balance work and adventure.

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Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa – FAQs

Can I be a Digital Nomad in Costa Rica?

Absolutely! Costa Rica offers a special visa known as the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa (Costa Rica DNV) specifically for digital nomads. This visa allows foreign nationals to legally stay and provide paid services remotely from this beautiful Central American country. With its pura vida lifestyle, reliable internet connection, and diverse landscapes (think Manuel Antonio National Park and the urban vibrancy of San José), Costa Rica makes for an ideal digital nomad destination.

To enter Costa Rica under this new visa, you’ll need to meet a few requirements, but once you do, you can enjoy working amidst breathtaking natural beauty and cultural richness.

What are the Income Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa in Costa Rica?

The minimum income requirement for the Costa Rica DNV is $3,000 a month. If you’re planning to bring family members, this amount increases to $4,000 per month. This income must be from foreign sources to attract digital nomads who earn their living outside of Costa Rica. This foreign income requirement ensures that digital nomads can comfortably support themselves without competing for local jobs, aligning with the Costa Rican government’s policies on foreign nationals administration.

What are the Benefits of a Nomad Visa in Costa Rica?

The benefits of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa are numerous. Firstly, there is a full income tax exemption on foreign-earned income, meaning you don’t have to pay income tax in Costa Rica on the money you earn while there. Additionally, you are exempt from paying import taxes on personal computer equipment necessary for your work.

This visa also allows you to enjoy the pura vida lifestyle of Costa Rica for up to two years (initially one year with the possibility of an extension), far longer than a standard tourist visa. Plus, the opportunity to experience different regions, from the lively streets of San José to the pristine beaches, adds to the allure of this new visa.

How Long can Digital Nomads stay in Costa Rica?

Under the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa, digital nomads can stay for up to one year initially. However, there’s an option to extend the visa for an additional year, allowing a total stay of up to two years.

This extended period is significantly longer than what a typical tourist visa offers and provides ample time to fully immerse oneself in the Costa Rican culture, explore different areas like San José or the lush rainforests, and even establish longer-term connections within the local communities.

What is the Process for Applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa?

To apply for the Costa Rica DNV, you first need to gather the required documents. These include your foreign national’s valid passport, proof of your stable monthly income, and comprehensive health insurance coverage. An official translation of your documents may be required, for which you should use an official Costa Rican translator.

The application can typically be submitted online through the Foreign Nationals Administration platform. After submission, the local immigration office in Costa Rica will review your application. Once approved, upon entering Costa Rica, your passport will receive a Costa Rican entry stamp, and you’ll need to visit the local immigration office to finalize your legal stay documents.

This process involves paying a fee at the Banco de Costa Rica and obtaining your residency permit, which is not a restricted visa but rather a permit allowing you to live and work remotely in Costa Rica. Ensure all your documents, such as birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applying with a spouse), or civil union documents, are in order, as this will smooth out the application process.

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