How to Get a Costa Rica Residence Permit for Investment

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A small country in Central America is not the most obvious choice for obtaining a residence permit. However, this option offers attractive conditions, and life on the coast will appeal to many.

What's good about Costa Rica

This republic is small even by the standards of Central America: only 5 million people live here. The capital city of San Jose has only 300,000 residents. However, it is one of the most prosperous states in the region. The country has a developed economy, and the incomes of the population are among the highest in Latin America. The level of corruption is quite low: in the 2019 ranking, the country stood 44th, right after Latvia.

The country has beautiful nature: ocean, mountains, volcanoes, and waterfalls. It is warm all year round in Costa Rica. Frequent tropical downpours contribute to lush vegetation. There are 74 nature reserves on the territory with the diversity of flora and fauna. 

Conditions of the Program

A foreigner needs to make a profitable investments in the country's economy to get the residence permit for Costa Rica.

Investment size

You can invest in real estate and other assets or make a donation to the Forest Fund. $200,000 was a minimum threshold for the main types of investments, but it was temporarily lowered to $ 150,000 at the height of the pandemic. Until when will this benefit be valid?

Ivan Barkhatov, Russia Sotheby’s International Realty:
At the moment, there is no data on the amount change. As a rule, the revision takes place in the fall. Initially, it was assumed that lowering the threshold would help overcome economic problems, and "unofficially" the program in the current version is available until 2024. But this is not fixed in the law, and a formal review can take place at any time.

Additional conditions

The applicant is required to confirm the absence of a criminal record.

The holder of such a residence permit will be able to move to Costa Rica with a spouse and children. It does not allow employment, but there are no restrictions for remote work. In addition, you can establish your own business.

The applicant must keep investments and spend at least 90 days in the country per year to extend the permit.

After two years of residence with a residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence.

San Jose
Sa Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica. 

What you can buy

The program provides for three main areas:

  • real estate,
  • other assets,
  • Forest Fund.

Real estate

There are no restrictions on the property type: it can be residential and commercial real estate in any region of the country. Both new buildings and secondary market facilities are suitable for the conditions of the program. There is no list of government–approved development projects: investors can choose what they want.

However, the object must necessarily be used for commercial purposes. In the case of buying an apartment, it must be rented out. Therefore, you can buy housing for yourself separately or purchase an object for a company to lease it.

Ivan Barkhatov, Russia Sotheby’s International Realty:
The Caribbean coast, San Jose and the Gulf of Mexico are the good imvestment options. We recommend focusing on tourist areas on the coast or business locations, because there is a stable demand for rent and a regular increase in real estate prices, as supply does not keep up with demand. And of course, development projects are attractive for investment, which cover the growing demand.

Other assets

You can invest $150,000 in other business assets. These can be shares of local companies, securities, buying a ready-made business or starting your own business from scratch. This amount can be directly invested in equipment for the company: to buy a car, computers, etc.

Forest Fund

Investments in the Forest Fund have a lower threshold – only $100,000, but this is not really an investment. The amount will not be returned, it is a donation.

How it happens

The applicant will need to make investments and prove that all amounts were obtained legally: submit certificates, contracts, bank statements, etc., after which the standard verification procedure (compliance) will begin.

Ivan Barkhatov, Russia Sotheby’s International Realty:
Compliance procedures are standard: show the origin of funds (certificates, declarations), do not have active criminal records for heavy articles, etc. The requirements are somewhat different for other types of residence permits.
The actual period for obtaining a residence permit is 8-10 months, although it may take 10-12 months if the case is complicated or the client collects documents for a long time. Personal presence is necessary, as the applicant will need to give biometric data. We recommend combining the process of acquiring assets and applying for a residence permit with vacation. In Costa Rica, the weather is wonderful all year round, you can do all the paperwork and also get to know the country and relax.

A foreigner with a Costa Rican residence permit is not required to become a tax resident. The minimum period of residence is 90 days per year. You need to stay in the country for more than six months to  transfer the tax residency.

The owner of an investment residence permit can spend a vacation in Costa Rica, wait out the winter or holidays. The period of stay in the country is tracked in one of two ways: stamps in the passport or utility receipts/receipts from hotels.

Beaches in Costa Rica.

The benefits

It can be profitable to conduct your business in the country and become a tax resident of Costa Rica.

Ivan Barkhatov, Russia Sotheby’s International Realty:
Running your business in the country and becoming a tax resident of Costa Rica is a good idea. Income taxes in Costa Rica increased from 15 to 25%, sales tax fell from 13 to 9%. But the main thing is not the tax rate, but from which base to pay it. Almost everything that was used in the work is put on expenses in the company: from capital expenditures to taxis, renting hotels or housing to employees, buying airline tickets, etc. The official corporate tax rate is 30%, and the real (that is, effective) in small and medium–sized businesses is 9%. At the same time, all capital expenditures are also included in P&L, that is, they reduce the tax base down to zero.

In addition to the benefits for business, it is pleasant and safe to live in Costa Rica. The country has a high quality of life and at the same time low prices. After seven years of residence in the country, you can apply for Costa Rican citizenship. At the same time, the first passport can be saved.

Costa Rica's passport opens visa-free entry to more than 130 countries. Among them are the whole of Latin America, almost the whole of Europe, many countries in Asia and Africa.

Quoting conditions of Prian.info materials

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How to Get a Costa Rica Residence Permit for Investment
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