Costa Rica Launches New "Digital Nomad" Visa

Published date29 July 2022
Subject MatterTax, Immigration, Income Tax, General Immigration, Work Visas
Law FirmMayer Brown
AuthorMs Grace Shie and Paul Justas Sarauskas

As of July 2022, Costa Rica officially opened the application process for the country's new remote worker visa under the immigration category 'Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers.' Like many countries, Costa Rica suffered a hit to its tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country created the digital nomad visa in an effort to attract long-term visitors and stimulate the local economy. The law enabling the new visa category was signed in August 2021, but administrative and logistical requirements have delayed implementation until now.

Costa Rica's adoption of a digital nomad visa follows the introduction of similar immigration pathways in Italy, Romania, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. A major benefit of the new pathway is that visa holders will not have to obtain local sponsorship or employment authorization in order to work in Costa Rica for an employer abroad.

Visa Eligibility

The new visa type is available to foreign nationals who are employed or provide services to an employer, person, or entity outside of Costa Rica. The applicant must have an income of at least US$3,000 a month (or US$4,000 if accompanied by family/dependents) and private health insurance for themselves and any accompanying dependents while living in Costa Rica. Eligible foreign nationals will be allowed to remain in Costa Rica for one year with the possibility of a one-time extension for an additional year. It is important to note that visa holders will not be allowed to engage in local employment in Costa Rica, as the visa category was created specifically for remote workers.

The governing Costa Rican authority will process the visa application within 15 days. More information on the documentation requirements for the visa can be found on Costa Rica's immigration agency webpage.

Benefits for Remote Workers

The availability of this new visa will bring several benefits to remote workers. Compared to other visa types, applicants for the remote worker visa are not required to obtain criminal clearance certificates or apostilles of supporting documents, such as proof of income, birth certificates, or marriage certificates. Applicants also benefit from relaxed proof of income requirements, an income tax exemption, and an exemption from the tax on...

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