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Discover Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa

Last updated on July 7, 2023
costa rica digital nomad visa

Break out surfboards and pack your laptops because the powers that be have created a marvelous invention indeed — the Costa Rican Digital Nomad Visa.

Imagine this — you, a keyboard warrior, nestled amidst the verdant palm trees and waves crashing against the sandy shores, while ‘attending’ your ninth Zoom meeting of the day. Dreams do come true, and in this case, thanks to the Costa Rican Government and this great piece of legislation passed in October 2021.

But before you slap on the sunscreen and head south, you’ll need to prove that you’ve been squirreling away a minimum of $3,000 per month for the past year. Or, for a family… a combined income of $4,000. Your income will need to be as consistent as the tropical Costa Rican weather, and quite like the sun here, the visa officials want proof of health insurance for a year in advance, a requirement that might puzzle the monthly pay-as-you-go policy aficionados.

You’ll also need to pay the visa fee — the government’s way of saying, “Welcome, mi amigo, to our beach-laden paradise!” The exact amount remains shrouded in the mystique of the cloud forest, but you’ll know soon enough.

Now, while the law might seem to be as chill as a sloth on a Sunday, some intricacies may trip up a few digital nomads. Stability, while appreciated in our hammocks, is just as crucial in our bank accounts. The law doesn’t take too kindly to inconsistent, project-based earnings. One month you’re swimming in riches, the next, you’re tighter than a toucan’s beak; well, that’s not going to fly.

Good news is, once you’ve jumped over the administrative hurdles and find yourself basking in the pura vida lifestyle, the advantages are as abundant as the country’s biodiversity. Say adiós to the tedious border runs, your foreign driver’s license is as good as local, and you get to enjoy tax-free foreign income — a privilege that might make even the capuchin monkeys jealous!

Getting your hands on the golden ticket (no chocolate factories involved, sadly) — the Costa Rican Digital Nomad Visa — begins with an application form. Fill it out, wait for the approval (or denial), and then, if you’re lucky, you may begin your tenure as a provisional digital nomad. You’ve got 90 days to secure your migratory accreditation, so don’t forget to bring your translated documents, pay stubs, proof of insurance, fingerprints, and a snapshot of your sun-kissed face to the appointment in San Jose.

Once you’ve been on your tropical staycation for a year, and you’ve spent a minimum of 180 days soaking up the Costa Rican sun, your nomad status can be extended for another year. After all, why leave when you can have another year of working with the aroma of freshly brewed local coffee wafting around?

Just remember, while you’re free to work remotely, compete in the local surf competition, or even engage in a salsa dance-off, you can’t dip your toes into the local labor market. The Costa Rican job market remains off-limits; your income must originate from a land far, far away.

One important consideration: your nomad status doesn’t qualify as residency. It’s akin to a long-term, all-access pass to the Costa Rican experience, which can be renewed annually. Should you fall head over heels for this Central American paradise (and really, who wouldn’t?), you can consider applying for official residency and even citizenship later on.

So, pack up your beach shorts, your laptop, and a sense of adventure. The land of pura vida awaits, and as the local saying goes, “Hasta luego!” (or see you later!) to the conventional office, and “Hola!” to the digital nomad lifestyle in the resplendent Costa Rican landscapes. Adventure, sunshine, and maybe a bit of bureaucracy await you!