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A year ago, Costa Rica approved Law 10.008, Ley para atraer trabajadores y prestadores remotos de servicios de carácter internacional, also known as the “Digital Nomads law.”

In  July 2022, the reglamento was published, which established the rules for a foreigner to apply as a digital nomad. 

Applicants can extend a 90-day tourist visa, allowing them to work remotely from Costa Rica for up to one year, and with an extension of up to one year. (The applicant’s proof of stay in Costa Rica must be for a minimum of 180 days).

A digital nomad is someone being paid to provide services remotely for an employer or entity outside Costa Rica, using digital or telecommunication technologies, or in similar circumstances.

Benefits (conditions apply)

 

  • Income tax exemption: Digital nomads will not be considered permanent country residents for tax matters; they are exempt from income tax, as their income originates outside Costa Rica.
  • Tax exemption for imported equipment: Digital nomads may waive customs taxes on telecommunications and electronic devices necessary to fulfill remote work requirements. The tax benefits apply only to the digital nomad, not to their family members.
  • Driver’s licenses: Digital nomads will be allowed to use their home country driver’s license in Costa Rica for the entire stay here.
  • Bank account opening: They will be allowed to open a bank account in Costa Rica.

 

The benefits will last while the digital nomad has a valid migratory condition. The digital nomad is not allowed to work for a Costa Rica employer; it must be a company or employer outside Costa Rica. 

 

Applicant requirements


Foreign nationals and their dependents who meet the following requirements may legally stay in the country under the immigration subcategory of Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers. They require:

  1. An application form signed by the applicant or their representative. 
  2. Proof of stable income — bank statements showing a stable monthly net income of at least US $3,000, or $4,000 to $5,000 if they are applying as a family group, and an affidavit of the origin of this information. 
  3. Health insurance — mandatory medical insurance coverage of at least US $50,000 through the digital nomad’s stay in Costa Rica for medical expenses in the event of illness here. An insurance policy must also cover any dependents accompanying the digital nomad to Costa Rica. 
  4. Receipt confirming payment to the Costa Rica government in the amount US $100, or the equivalent amount in Costa Rican colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank of Costa Rica, per Article 256 of the General Law on Immigration and Aliens. Payment is required for each family group member.
  5. A copy of the photo page of the foreign national’s valid passport, which contains their photograph and biographical information, and the page containing the Costa Rican entry stamp if the applicant is already in Costa Rica. The passport must always be provided for the documentation process.
  6. Consular or restricted visas as applicable to the group of countries outlined in the requirements under Executive Decree no. 36626-G, entitled “Regulation on granting entry visas to Costa Rica.” This is based on the applicant’s nationality per the provisions of the “General Guidelines on Visas for the Entry and Stay of Non-Residents.” The exceptions set forth in the guidelines mentioned above will be considered when applying this rule. 

 

All documents issued in a foreign language must be officially translated into Spanish.
 

Dependent requirements


Spouses or common-law partners, children under 25 years of age, children of any age with disabilities, or seniors who live with the person(s) who work or provide services remotely, must submit the same requirements listed above except the bank statements. They must also provide the following documents: 

  1. Marriage certificate, issued in the last six months.
  2. A document or certificate representing a declaration or recognition of the civil union or common family marriage issued in the last six months by the competent authority.
  3. A copy of the birth certificate of minors or unmarried children up to the age of 25.
  4. If the dependent is a person with disabilities, a medical opinion that identifies the condition must be submitted.
  5. Sworn declaration proving the bond and coexistence. Older adults are to demonstrate their bond with the applicant.

Relevant note: the issue date for the certificates or documents listed above shall not be more than six months from the application date.

 

Procedure
 

The General Direction of Migration and Foreigners will be in charge of processing the applications and proceeding with the procedure to obtain this migratory subcategory. Below is the procedure to follow for the submission of the application.

  1. The application must be submitted through the digital platform Trámite ya, with the previously indicated requirements. Check the “Formularios según Trámite” section on this page to download the relevant forms, depending on whether the applicant will submit the form online through the Tramite Ya digital platform: https://tramiteya.go.cr/dgme/ or in person using a physical form in the central or regional offices of the General Directorate of Immigration (DGEM). 
  2. Those who aim to apply with dependents, spouses or children must also submit a family group form.
  3. When the application is submitted, the DGEM has 15 calendar days to issue a resolution approving or rejecting the request.
  4. Within five business days from the application being submitted, the DGME will notify if there are pending requirements or request the applicant to provide clarifying or supplementary information. The applicant will then have eight working days to complete or clarify their application.
  5. Once the applicant submits all the requirements, the remainder of the administration’s 15-calendar day period to issue a definitive resolution will begin to elapse. 
  6. If the application is rejected, the DGME will provide options for other migratory categories that better fit the applicant. The resolution allows the applicant to present a revocatory or amparo claim within the digital platform.
  7. The DGME will be allowed to do background research on the applicant profile to verify their criminal and police background.
  8. Once the application is approved, applicants will have three months to process their immigration accreditation document. If the process is not completed within this period, procedures will be initiated to cancel the immigration status granted.

 

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) launched a website where you can find more detailed information about the benefits, requirements, and procedures to be followed to obtain the digital nomad condition. Please go to www.visitcostarica.com, and choose the “Things to Do” option followed by “Digital Nomads.” Also, you can click the following link to review the Immigration website: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Categor%c3%ada%20Migratorias%20%28Extranjer%c3%ada%29/Digital-Nomads.aspx

 

We at GM Attorneys are available for your Immigration or residency questions. Please feel free to contact us at info@gmattorneyscr.com

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