Costa Rica: New Remote Visa Program Approved

August 20, 2021

Key Points 

  • On Aug. 11, 2021, President Carlos Alvarado and Minister of Tourism Gustavo Segura approved new laws supporting a Costa Rican remote work visa.  The law will go into effect when published in the Official Gazette (La Gaceta), expected in the coming weeks
  • The remote work visa will permit eligible foreign nationals employed outside Costa Rica (servicing personnel or entities outside Costa Rica) to live and work remotely within Costa Rican borders.
  • The remote visa will be approved for up to one year, without sponsorship from local employers
  • The remote visa will not permit foreign nationals to perform local remunerated work duties in Costa Rica

Overview 

Additional information about the remote work visa is as follows:  

  • The visa is valid for one year. It may be extended one (1) time for an additional one (1) year. 
  • To be eligible, applicants must prove a consistent average monthly income of at least USD 3,000 (or USD 4,000 if the visa-holder has dependents) for a year prior to submission. The General Immigration Directorate may request bank statements or other documentation to verify. 
  • Applicants and any familial dependents must possess private medical insurance. The insurance policy must cover the full duration of their time in Costa Rica. 
  • The government intends to adjudicate remote work visa applications within 15 calendar days from the filing date.  
  • This program will offer tax benefits to the primary visa-holder. These benefits include:  
    • Income tax- and technical work equipment exemptions.  
    • Additionally, primary visa-holders will be able to use their international driver’s licenses in Costa Rica, and open savings accounts in Costa Rican banks. 
  • If primary visa-holders wish to renew for one (1) additional year, they must have remained within Costa Rican borders for a minimum of 180 days during the first year. 

What are the Changes? 

This is a new program wherein foreign nationals have options to work remotely within Costa Rican borders. Other Costa Rican work visa options require company sponsorship and/or do not automatically transfer work authorization. 

Looking Ahead 

This new policy will officially launch when it is published in La Gaceta, expected in the coming weeks.  Furthermore, detailed information on the application process will be published in the next two months (60 days). Employers may consider this option for their employees seeking to relocate; additionally, employers can expect similar announcements to come for other countries. Remote work visas are rising in popularity due to COVID-19. Employers should stay abreast of all local labor and tax laws and pay close attention to compliance requirements.  

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Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.  

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