Now Law: Digital Nomads Welcomed in Costa Rica
I am pleased to update Howler readers on the March 2021 LegalEase article, Digital Nomads Welcomed in Costa Rica. The government of Costa Rica has signed into law #10008 “Law to Attract Workers and Remote Providers of International Services,” known as the Digital Nomads Law.
This brings exciting news to those wishing to live in Costa Rica while working remotely. As we know, many companies have moved to a remote work model due to COVID-19. This change in the traditional workplace environment has opened the door for thousands of employees to become digital nomads and live anywhere they would like.
Law #10008 creates a special category that allows for foreign workers to work remotely from Costa Rica.
“In the current situation, where tourism recovery could extend for up to three more years before returning to the pre-pandemic demand, the segment of digital nomads is key to the rebound of the sector,” said Mr. Gustavo Segura, Tourism Minister.
The requirements as stated in Article 10 of law #10008 are as follows:
- Receive a stable monthly payment, fixed income or an average monthly income, during the last year, in an amount equal to or greater than $3,000 USD or its equivalent. If the applicant decides that their family members will also receive the benefits, the minimum amount of income will be $4,000 USD. The proof of income can be shown through bank statements supporting the minimum income or through other means that will be indicated in the regulations of this law.
- Obtain medical services insurance that covers the applicant for the entire duration of their stay in the country. The entire family must also be covered if they apply for inclusion as beneficiaries.
- Make a payment, one time, for the granting of a non-resident visa as a Worker or Remote Service Provider. The amount will be determined by regulations issued by the Directorate-General for Migration and Aliens.
- Any other requirement from the General Migration Law and Immigration Law No 8764.
- All payments or labor wages received must come from abroad. Therefore, the beneficiaries will not be able to carry out jobs or services that are paid within the country (Article 14).
Per the new law, qualifying remote workers will receive the following benefits:
- Immigration status: Beneficiaries will be granted the category of non-resident, subcategory “Worker or Remote Service Provider.” The immigration benefit will be granted for one year, extendable for a single period of an additional year. To authorize this extension, the beneficiary must have stayed for a minimum of 180 days during the year originally granted. (Article 15).
- Income tax: Total exemption from income tax, as defined in Title I of the Income Tax Law, No. 7092 of April 21, 1988 and its amendments. In no case will the beneficiaries be considered as habitual residents of the country for tax purposes, nor will the income they received from abroad be considered from a Costa Rican source (Article 16).
- Import of equipment: Exempt from the payment of all taxes on the import of basic computer, telecommunications or similar personal equipment, necessary to carry out their job duties or the provision of their services, as long as they comply with the proportionality regulations that will be dictated by the National Customs Directorate of the Ministry of Finance (Article 17).
- Driving licenses: The driver’s license granted in the country of origin of the beneficiary will be valid for the purposes of driving in Costa Rica (Article 19).
- Opening of bank accounts: The beneficiaries will be able to open savings accounts in the banks of the national banking system, complying with the current legal framework against money laundering (Article 20).
This law is awaiting administrative regulation for its application and is expected to be released in October 2021.
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