Navigating Costa Rican Regulations for Digital Nomads: Legal Guidelines and Application Process

Navigating Costa Rican Regulations for Digital Nomads: Legal Guidelines and Application Process

Navigating Costa Rican Regulations for Digital Nomads: Legal Guidelines and Application Process


Costa Rica, known for its captivating landscapes and welcoming culture, has opened its doors to digital nomads and remote workers through the General Immigration and Foreigners Law. This law outlines the categories and conditions for legal permanence, offering remote international workers and service providers a chance to enjoy the country's beauty while working from afar. In this memorandum, we will delve into the specifics of the Legal Permanence subcategory for Digital Nomads, providing you with crucial information on the application process, requirements, and incentives.
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I. Defining Digital Nomads

Under Costa Rican law, a Digital Nomad is defined as a foreign individual who provides remote services using information technology, telecommunications, or similar means to a foreign entity, earning a minimum of three thousand dollars (US$3,000.00) per month. For those seeking legal permanence for dependents, the minimum requirement is four thousand dollars (US$4,000.00) per month.

II. Application Requirements

To apply for legal permanence as a Digital Nomad, the following documents and criteria are required:
a) Completed Application Form or Special Power of Attorney.
b) Proof of payment of one hundred dollars ($100.00) to the government.
c) Two passport-sized photographs on a white background.
d) Passport image and entry stamp to Costa Rica.
e) Valid consular or restricted visa aligned with the applicant's citizenship.
f) Complete details of the employer, including address and reference contact.
g) Bank statements along with an affidavit or certification of income.
h) All documents in a foreign language must be officially translated into Spanish.

III. Application Process

The application process comprises two primary steps:
a) Submission of basic information and informed consent.
b) Submission of the Legal Permanence application upon acceptance of step a).
The relevant immigration authorities have 15 calendar days to respond to each step.

IV. Incentives for Digital Nomads

Costa Rica offers attractive incentives for approved Digital Nomads:
  • Legal permanence for up to two years.
  • Full exemption from income tax.
  • Exemption from import taxes on necessary equipment.
  • Recognition of valid foreign driver's licenses.
  • Access to national banking system for savings accounts.


V. Dependents

Dependents eligible for legal permanence include:
a) Spouse or common-law partner.
b) Underage children.
c) Legal-age children with special needs.
d) Unmarried adult children up to 25 years of age.
e) Parents with special needs financially dependent on the applicant.

VIII. Migratory Document Issuance

Applicants must process their migratory documents within three months of approval, including required payments and insurance coverage.

IX. Renewal Process

Renewal requires a minimum stay of 180 days in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica's regulations for digital nomads offer a remarkable opportunity to work remotely while embracing the country's beauty and culture. By understanding the application process, requirements, and incentives, you can make an informed decision about embarking on your journey as a legal permanent resident in this captivating nation.
Reference Cresco Legal

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