Wanna live in a tropical paradise as a digital nomad and enjoy tax reliefs? Then Costa Rica is the place to be, as it just launched a digital nomad visa program this past summer. This new program gives remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs an opportunity to stay in the country long-term and enjoy numerous perks such as tax benefits, visa extension to family members, visa renewals and more.
What are the requirements for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa?
- Financial requirements: $3,000 USD per month for a single person, and $4,000 USD per month for a family.
- Health and medical insurance that is valid for the entire duration of your stay in Costa Rica.
- Fees: A digital nomad visa (DNV) granting fee as determined by the Directorate.
- Proof you are a digital nomad, including and not limited to: an employment contract, a statement that you are allowed to work abroad, client contracts and proof of company ownership for entrepreneurs.
- General Law of Migration: additional requirements for specific cases, such as additional fees, proof of accommodation and resources.
Since almost all of the newly established digital nomad visa programs have turned out to be great successes all over the world, both for the state that offers them and the visa holders, this is something we will see more of in the future. Thus it’s no wonder Costa Rica launched its program in the summer of 2022. So here’s all you need to know about it.
How to apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa: Application Form Info
You can apply for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa on its official website by filling out an application form.
If you are already in Costa Rica, it is possible to apply through their consulate, embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa Requirements and Eligibility
Contrary to other digital nomad visas that aren’t open to all nationalities, Costa Rica has no such limitations. Freelancers, as well as employed and self-employed individuals of all nationalities are eligible to apply. Below are the requirements:
- Provide proof of steady income
A bank statement showing a steady income of $3,000 a month for an individual or $4,000 for families is required. Another eligible way is to show savings of $36,000, which is the amount deemed sufficient for one year of expenses in Costa Rica.
- Apply for the right insurance
Both health and travel insurance are required for the visa. Moreover, the insurance must be valid for at least a year (the duration of the visa). Private insurance is your safest bet.
- Find an accommodation
Like in most countries, to have a digital nomad visa in Costa Rica, you are required to sign a residential contract for a year or have some other proof of accommodation. The contract can be signed with an agency or the legal owner of the residence. In some cases, this can only be formal, i.e. with a local friend, while renting in a different location for a shorter term.
- Additional requirements for remote workers
If you are employed in your home country and want to work remotely from Costa Rica, you will need to provide proof of an employment contract and a letter from your employer stating you are allowed to work remotely.
- Additional requirements for freelancers
For freelancers, some kind of proof of doing business with clients will be required. It can be in the form of statements or client transactions.
- Additional requirements for self-employed persons and entrepreneurs
For those applicants who are self-employed or entrepreneurs, proof of business ownership is required to successfully receive the visa in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Digital nomad visa RESTRICTIONS
Below are cases in which your application for the digital nomad visa in Costa Rica would be declined:
- If you are employed by a local business in Costa Rica.
- If you generate, or plan to generate, income from local entities. It is prohibited to perform work or deliver services that generate revenue for Costa Rican entities.
- If you are already a resident or a local.
How to renew the Costa Rica digital nomad visa after its one year validity expires
Once an applicant gets the digital nomad visa, it will be valid for 12 months. If you want to prolong the visa, that can also be done. To renew or prolong the visa, start the process at least a month before it expires. The newly prolonged visa will then be valid for another 12 months.
The renewal is processed by the migration offices.
Also, it is important to have proof of spending 180 days in the country in the first year.
How long does it take to process the digital nomad visa in Costa Rica?
It takes up to 30 days for the visa application to be processed. This is important information for planning your trip ahead of time. It is also useful for anyone who wants to apply from within Costa Rica. If that is the case, be sure you have enough days left on your entry or tourist visa before they expire.
Are digital nomads required to pay TAXES in Costa Rica?
Digital nomads are not required to pay income taxes in Costa Rica. Moreover, they are exempt from import taxes on computers, laptops and equipment they intend on using for remote work. Such items would be imported by visa holders as personal belongings, which are non-taxable.
If you are a tax resident in your home country, you are only expected to pay tax back home. In some cases, this can be revoked, using the “double tax” statement for countries that require digital nomads to pay income taxes, such as Estonia.
Since digital nomad visa holders don’t pay any taxes in Costa Rica, they can not be considered a resident. This means that access to the free, public medical and education services are off the table. In the same manner, there is no access to local social security for digital nomad visa holders in Costa Rica.
However, there may be other local taxes that do apply to digital nomads. To check if you are required to pay any of them, consult with a local foreign office.
When it comes to Foreign Employer Compliance, no local registration, payroll or social security is required.
Benefits of having the digital nomad visa in Costa Rica
Being able to stay in Costa Rica for a year straight, without the hassle of border runs, is the first great advantage.
One of the other interesting benefits is that the visa is transferable to dependents. They include opposite and same-sex spouses, as well as common-law partners. In some cases, the primary applicant can sponsor children older than 25 years of age if they depend on the applicant for financial support. Younger children can be sponsored as well.
Digital nomad visa holders can also open local bank accounts and use their foreign driver’s license in Costa Rica.
These are just some of the benefits a digital nomad will enjoy in Costa Rica. Another thing you can look forward to is the country itself! This Central American gem already has substantial digital nomad communities.
What are the best places for digital nomads in Costa Rica?
- San Jose, Central Valley
- Santa Teresa, Guanacaste
- Tamarindo, Guanacaste
- Liberia, Guanacaste
- Puerto Viejo, Limon
San Jose, Central Valley
This central region of Costa Rica has remarkable geographic features. It is situated on a plane, but it’s surrounded by several mountains and volcanoes! What makes San Jose attractive is its safety, amazing cuisine and proximity to other popular cities west of San Jose, such as Grecia, Atenas, San Ramon, Sarchi, Escazu, Santa Ana, Puriscal, and Ciudad Colon. You’ll also experience an urban lifestyle in San Jose and the best coworking spaces like Beeworking, Selina CoWork and Gracias Coffee.
This province, also known as the “Golden Coast,” is very popular with digital nomads in Costa Rica. Located in the northwest, the region has breathtaking beaches and nature resorts.
Tamarindo is close to the airport, so it’s quite convenient to reach the region. A bit wild, with amazing untouched nature, it’s perfect for adventures or leisure.
Puerto Viejo, Limon
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is located in the southeast, on the Caribbean coast. A somewhat secluded area, it has become popular with digital nomads and remote workers over the years.
Is the internet good in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica ranks 80th globally in fixed broadband internet speeds at 43.32 Mbps downloads.
The country has widely available DSL and optic fiber internet. It is steadily and noticeably growing its optic fiber internet coverage, with 63% of the country having been covered in 2020. We can assume that this coverage is at least 80% in 2022.
The price for unlimited data can go from $11 per month to $111 per month.
For specific regions, you should use Speedtest.net to check the internet speed and stability.
And for a more in depth analysis on the internet in Costa Rica, including different providers, prices, speed and coverage, click here.
As a company with great experience in working with remote workers, we always recommend our staff have a local sim card with internet data. No matter where you are, some unexpected internet issues can arise. For that reason, choosing the best provider in your region is crucial in order to be on the safe side.
The Cost of living in Costa Rica
The currency used in Costa Rica is the Rosta Rican Colon (₡). You should expect to get 610 CRC for 1 US dollar.
According to numbeo.com, the cost of living for a family of four in Costa Rica is $2,179.75 and
$601.45 for an individual without rent.
Rent prices vary depending on the city an accommodation is situated in, the location in the city and the number of bedrooms. An average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the center is $470.00, while the same apartment outside of the center can cost up to $150.00 cheaper.
For a three-bedroom apartment, the prices average between $820.00 in the center and $590.00 outside of the city center.
If you are interested in a specific city, Numbeo.com offers options for comparing prices in Costa Rica to those of your home city, or different places you want to take a look at.
If you want to buy an apartment in Costa Rica, consider the prices per square meter. One square meter in the city center ranges from $870.00 to $2,890.00. A square meter to purchase an apartment outside of the city center ranges from $754.00 to $2,000.00
Internet with unlimited data ranges from $30.00 to $73.00 per month.
A meal in an inexpensive restaurant can be as cheap as $5.00 per person. If you want to dine in a mid-range restaurant and bring a friend, expect the bill to average $37.00 for a three course meal.
Here are some more prices you can expect:
|Regular 1L milk||$1.24|
|Loaf of fresh 500g white bread||$1.62|
|1kg white rice||$1.49|
|Dozen of eggs||$2.22|
|Local cheese 1kg||$5.91|
|Chicken Fillets 1kg||$6.23|
|Beef Round 1kg||$8.46|
|Water 1.5 liter||$0.77|
|Bottle of mid-range wine||$10.12|
|Domestic beer 0.5l||$1.58|
|Cigarettes 20 pack Marlboro||3.61$|
Remote Work Opportunities
Not many employers offer fully remote work. Unless you are an entrepreneur or a location independent freelancer, earning an income while traveling can be a challenge.
That’s where we come in! If you are looking for a steady income, while also being completely free to travel, take a look at our open positions at Support Adventure. They are 100% remote as we are a company run by expats around the world, and we’re full of individuals who understand the ups and downs of the nomad lifestyle. Apply here to get hired.