How-to-Live in Costa Rica & Pay No Income Taxes

Everything you need to know about the Digital Nomad Costa Rican Visa
Costa Rica is a perfect destination to work remotely. Some people have been doing it for years, but now the country is offering some great benefits for digital nomads from around the world.

After a prolonged waiting period since the initial introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa project in July 2021, President Rodrigo Chaves finally signed the bill into law on July 4th, 2022. This revised bill carries amendments aimed at simplifying and speeding up the process for obtaining a long-stay visa.

So, what exactly is the Digital Nomad Visa?

In essence, the Digital Nomad Visa is the newest benefit Costa Rica is providing for tourists looking to take advantage of what some companies give their employees today.

The Digital Nomad Visa opens the door for these individuals to legally reside and work in Costa Rica, offering a considerably longer stay when compared to a typical tourist visa.

Why should you get a Costa Rican Digital Nomad Visa?

Full Income Tax Exemption: Income earned from sources outside of Costa Rica is entirely exempt from income tax.

No Import Tax on Personal Equipment: Import taxes on personal equipment, including electronic devices such as computers, tablets, cameras, phones, and more, are waived. Additionally, individuals are permitted to bring up to two vehicles into the country without incurring import taxes.

Visa Extension: Initially, digital nomads receive a visa for a period of 12 months. This can be extended for an additional 12 months, provided the applicant can demonstrate a minimum of 180 days’ presence in Costa Rica.

Get your Digital Nomad Visa Step-by-Step

Applications: To initiate the process, you must visit https://tramiteya.go.cr/dgme/ and complete the application form, which requests basic personal details and supporting documents. Following submission, authorities have a two-week window to approve or reject your application.

Immigration accreditation document: Once the first process is completed, you’ll be allowed to enter the country under this agreement.

It’s crucial to note that within 3 months of your arrival, you must secure an immigration accreditation document. During this appointment, you’ll be asked to complete all security protocols, including biometrics and photographs, that will be part of your Costa Rican documentation. 

Minimum Monthly Income: Applicants must demonstrate original bank statements and a signed affidavit proving an income of at least US$3,000 if they are traveling alone or a minimum of US$4,000 if accompanied by a family member.

Prohibition on Working for a Costa Rican Company: Visa holders are restricted from engaging in the local labor market and competing with residents for employment.

This implies that you cannot work for a Costa Rican company but must instead be employed by one outside of Costa Rica.

Health Insurance: The provision of health insurance coverage for the entire duration of your stay is mandatory.

Professional Translation: All documents required for the application process must be presented in Spanish. Any documents in a language other than Spanish must be translated by an accredited translator from the applicant’s home country, an accredited translator in Costa Rica, or a registered Costa Rican notary.

Why would I apply for a Digital Nomad Visa if I can stay in the country for 180 days?

In case you didn’t know, a new decree came into effect on September 8th, 2023, allowing passport holders from a select group of countries (including the United States, Canada and most European nations) to stay for 180 days, as opposed to 90 days before this reform.

This means that many foreign travelers coming to Costa Rica on a tourist visa are now able to stay for up to 6 months.

The main benefit of the Digital Nomad Visa is for visitors that have decided to stay for longer than 6 months and become eligible for an exemption on income taxes. This allows digital nomad residents or visitors with families to use those savings for other purposes, in addition to having other benefits that facilitate life in Costa Rica for a year or more (recognition of a foreign driver’s license for one year, ability to open a Costa Rican bank account).

One thing is certain: Costa Rica is welcoming foreigners who want to contribute to the country’s economic growth, while making the process easy and pleasant for either a long or short stay.

Andres Vedova

CR Nomads Commercial Director

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