Great News for Digital Nomads
“Law 10008 to attract remote workers and providers of international services” may not sound exciting, but it’s great news for digital nomads who want to live and work in Costa Rica. Imagine swaying in a hammock or lounging by a pool while reviewing your notes from work. Or picture yourself admiring the amazing ocean view or lush tropical vegetation from the comfort of your home-based office. Costa Rica’s new digital nomad visa is making that vision a reality for many.
What is the Digital Nomad Visa?
Entry requirements for Costa Rica are simple: a current valid passport and a ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days of entry. This tourist visa satisfies the needs of most visitors. But, what if you want to stay longer and work remotely? The recently passed law 10008 creates a new visa category that makes it possible to stay in Costa Rica longer than 90 days and legally work remotely. Accounting firm Ernst and Young reports: “The new Digital Nomad Visa will eventually permit eligible non-Costa Rican nationals to work remotely from within Costa Rica for an initial period of one year, and sponsor qualifying family members to accompany them in Costa Rica as dependents.” That’s exactly the status that has been sought by digital nomads—travelers who work remotely outside of their home country. When Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves signed the bill into law on July 4, 2022, the process to obtain the digital nomad visa became simpler and faster.
What Are the Requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa?
Costa Rica’s immigration agency lists the following requirements to obtain the digital nomad visa:
1. Minimum income of US$3,000 per month for an individual or US$4,000 per month for a worker with dependents. Original bank statements and a signed affidavit are required as proof of income. A certification by a public accountant or notary public is also acceptable if authenticated by consular legalization or apostille.
2. The income must be derived from a person or legal entity located outside Costa Rica and obtained using digital or telecommunication technologies to provide paid services. The worker can be an employee or self-employed but cannot compete with local residents by working for a Costa Rican company.
3. Additional information about any family members who wish to be covered by the same visa.
4. Health insurance for the length of your stay with a minimum coverage of US$50,000. If the application includes family members, they must have health insurance coverage as well. The policy can be from a Costa Rican company or an international insurance policy.
5. A copy of the photo page of a valid passport. If the applicant has already entered Costa Rica, a copy of the page with the Costa Rican entry stamp.
6. All non-Spanish documents must be translated into Spanish by a translator that is accredited in Costa Rica.
What Are the Advantages of the Digital Nomad Visa?
1. Workers whose application is approved can stay in Costa Rica for up to one year without leaving. That’s much more convenient than a tourist visa which is only valid for 90 days. After the first year, the digital nomad visa can be extended for an additional 12 months.
2. Income is exempt from Costa Rican income tax because its source is outside Costa Rica.
3. No import tax on personal equipment. Computers, tablets, phones, cameras, and other personal equipment needed to perform a job are exempt from import duties.
4. Ability to open bank accounts in Costa Rica.
5. Legally use a foreign driver’s license for the period of the visa.
6. Obtain legal residency status more quickly and at a lower cost than the other residency options.
How to Apply for Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa
There are two ways to apply:
- Create an account, fill out the application, and upload supporting documents online at https://tramiteya.go.cr/dgme/
- Fill out the application in person and turn in their documentation at an immigration office. The application is just one page.
Both methods require a payment of US$100 at Banco de Costa Rica. If the application is incomplete or unclear, the immigration agency will request additional information. According to the online news outlet Tico Times, once you submit the form, authorities have two weeks to accept or reject your application. However, many people report that the wait is longer. If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a resolution stating the approval and then will have three months to fulfill the other requirements. The nomad requests an appointment with the immigration department. At the in-person meeting, the immigration official takes photographs and fingerprints, and the applicant presents all supporting legal documentation.
If your work allows you to live anywhere, you have a great advantage. And the new digital nomad visa in Costa Rica allows you to maximize that advantage. The great living conditions in Guanacaste, Costa Rica make it the ideal place for digital nomads. Beautiful homes with outdoor living areas, reliable Internet, great weather, and affordable services are just some of the perks. Why not take advantage of the new law and make Costa Rica your new home?
PLEASE NOTE: The information on this page is not intended as legal advice. Re/Max Ocean Surf & Sun does not perform legal services nor advise in legal matters. The process and requirements for Costa Rica residency can be reviewed or changed by the government at any time, and you should consult a Costa Rican attorney for the most accurate and current information.