New Law Encourages Foreign Investment and Relocation to Costa Rica

On July 5, 2021, the government of Costa Rica published Law #9996, designed to attract foreign investors, retirees and temporary residents (those who fall under Law #8764 – General Law of Migration and Foreigners). This legislation was passed to promote the economic reactivation of the country in the post-pandemic period of COVID-19.


The incentives in the new law apply to those who are authorized to enter Costa Rica under the specific categories of investors, temporary residents and retirees/pensioners.


“The investors, temporary residents or beneficiary pensioners who opted for said benefits during the first 5 years of the law, will keep them for a period of 10 years from the date they were granted,” says the new legislation.


There are several incentives that stand out:

  1. A one-time elimination of import taxes (duty free) on the importation of household items.
  2. Beneficiaries may import up to two land, air and/or sea transportation vehicles, for personal or family use, free of all import, customs and value-added taxes (VAT). In case of loss of the vehicle due to theft, total destruction by fire, flood, collision or accident during the term of the benefits, you can import another vehicle free of the indicated taxes.
  3. The amounts declared as income to qualify for the benefits of this law will be exempt from income tax.
  4. Exoneration of 20% of the total transfer tax in any real estate purchase, within the terms of this law.
  5. Exemption from import taxes for instruments or materials for professional or scientific practice, carried out by the person with the migratory category of investor, retired resident or temporary resident. Those eligible must demonstrate, before the Ministry of Finance, that what is imported corresponds to their economic activity and meets criteria of proportionality and reasonableness.

Specifically for investors, the new legislation establishes that whomever is opting for a temporary residence as an investor must demonstrate to the Immigration Department a minimum investment of $150,000 USD in real estate, registrable assets, shares, securities and productive projects (or projects of national interest). This is a reduction from the previous amount of $200,000 USD.

Of note, the regulations establishing how the law will be applied are still pending to be issued by the government.  

To answer any questions you may have as the details are finalized, we are at your service at

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