Expat In Paradise

Visas in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers various types of visas for foreigners who wish to move to the country for different purposes. As visa regulations may change over time, it’s essential to double-check the latest information with the Costa Rican embassy or consulate before making any plans. As of my last update, here are some of the common visas available:

Tourist Visa (Short-term stay):

Tourists from many countries, including the United States, can enter Costa Rica without a visa for up to 180 days for tourism purposes. If you plan to stay longer, you may need to exit the country and re-enter to get a new 180-day visa stamp. However, this method is not a long-term solution. Although many people stay long-term on tourist visas it can not be used to establish residency. As of the time of publishing the visa allows for 180 days but only 90 days of driving. If you wish to drive in Costa Rica legally you need to get re-stamped every 90 days.

Rentista Visa:

The Rentista visa is designed for individuals who can demonstrate a steady income from a source outside of Costa Rica. The applicant must prove a consistent monthly income (usually around $2,500) for at least two years. This visa allows for temporary residency and is renewable.

Pensionado Visa:

The Pensionado visa is for retirees who receive a pension from a government or private entity. Applicants must show a minimum pension income (usually around $1,000) per month and meet other financial requirements. Like the Rentista visa, the Pensionado visa grants temporary residency and is renewable.

Investor Visa:

The Investor visa is for individuals who plan to invest a significant amount of money in Costa Rica. The minimum investment threshold can vary and may include real estate, starting a business, or other qualifying investments.

Work Visa:

For individuals who have secured a job offer from a Costa Rican company, a Work visa can be obtained. The employer typically sponsors the visa, and the applicant needs to provide specific documents and meet requirements set by the Costa Rican authorities.

Student Visa:

Students planning to study in Costa Rica need to apply for a Student visa. The applicant must be enrolled in a recognized educational institution and provide documentation proving enrollment.

Family Reunification Visa:

Foreigners who are married to a Costa Rican citizen or have immediate family members (parents, children) who are Costa Rican citizens can apply for a Family Reunification visa.

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Visa:

For individuals fleeing persecution or violence in their home country, Costa Rica offers the possibility of obtaining a Refugee or Asylum Seeker visa, which provides protection and assistance.


It’s crucial to note that the visa application process can be complex and time-consuming. It is highly recommended to seek professional advice from immigration lawyers or experts who are familiar with the Costa Rican immigration laws and procedures. Additionally, the specific requirements and processing times for each visa category may vary, so applicants should plan accordingly and be prepared to provide all necessary documentation.