A Guide To Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa

The next destination in our digital nomad journey: Costa Rica. This captivating Central American paradise draws countless tourists to its shores every year, but what about those seeking a fresh locale to work remotely? Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant urban centres, and inviting ambience, could Costa Rica beckon not just as a tourist hotspot, but as a sanctuary for digital nomads as well? Time to find out.

Can I Work Remotely In Costa Rica?

Let’s first address the pivotal question: Can you legally reside and work remotely in Costa Rica?

Thankfully, Costa Rica has long embraced digital nomads – those adventurous souls who sustain their careers while traversing the globe. It’s no surprise why nomads would gravitate toward Costa Rica as a base for their remote work endeavours; the country boasts plenty to recommend it. What’s more, Costa Rica offers permits that streamline the legal stay of digital nomads within its borders.

Enter the Costa Rican digital nomad visa, designed to legally facilitate your temporary residence and professional career within its borders. However, as is the case with all digital nomad visas, to acquire one, specific eligibility criteria must first be met.

Before delving into the visa process, it’s important to begin by determining whether or not Costa Rica feels like the right place to kickstart the next chapter of your working life. Intrigued? Let’s explore what life as a nomad would look like in this Central American gem.

Is Costa Rica Good For Digital Nomads?

Costa Rica stands out as a welcoming destination for foreign nationals to settle in. As of 2023, data from Pumble indicates that temporary residents, including retirees, expats, and digital nomads, constitute around 7% of the total immigrant population in Costa Rica, underscoring its widespread appeal. But what makes it so popular?

First and foremost, Costa Rica boasts a breathtaking natural environment, characterised by stunning landscapes and a year-round sunny climate. Particularly for nomads seeking refuge from rainy home countries, this is certain to be a big tick in the right box. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast drawn to exploring beaches, mountains, or tropical rainforests, or simply looking for a breathtaking backdrop for your remote work, Costa Rica has it all.

Moreover, for those who prefer a bustling urban centre to nature, Costa Rica also offers compelling options. According to LinkedIn’s assessment of the best Central American cities for digital nomads, San José, the capital, sits near the top of the list. As the country’s largest city, San José provides a vibrant setting for those seeking a bustling locale. Yet, cities like Cartago and urban centres such as Jaco and Dominical present equally enticing prospects well worth exploring.

In any of these spots, the cost of living remains relatively affordable. While not the cheapest country in Central America – especially when living centrally in larger cities – expenses like accommodation, food, and transportation are generally more affordable than in many Western countries, particularly if you embrace the local lifestyle and steer clear of tourist hotspots.

Furthermore, Costa Rica offers excellent amenities and infrastructure, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle for nomads. Expect reliable internet connectivity, plenty of coworking spaces, efficient public transportation, and diverse accommodation options, especially in central areas.

Finally, the country is known for having a fantastic, welcoming atmosphere for foreign nationals. Not only is it known for being one of the safer countries in Central America, providing peace of mind for digital nomads, especially those travelling alone, but its large community of digital nomads and ex-pats can provide endless opportunities for networking, collaboration, and making new friends.

Costa Rica’s Digital Nomad Visa

Introducing Costa Rica’s digital nomad program, which offers foreign nationals the opportunity to live and work in the country by extending a 90-day tourist visa to a full year, provided they meet specific eligibility requirements.

As outlined by Visit Costa Rica, to qualify for this permit, applicants must demonstrate proof of remote employment with a company registered outside of Costa Rica, provide bank statements indicating a monthly income exceeding $3,000, possess valid medical insurance for the duration of their stay, submit a completed application form, and present a valid passport. All documents must be translated into Spanish before submission.

Applicants must apply under the sub-category of Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers, which can be done online or in person at the Service Platform of the Foreign Nationals Administration. A fee of $100 is payable to the Costa Rican government for the visa.

Dependents may also accompany the applicant on this program, with proof of income exceeding $4,000 per month required in such cases.

For individuals enchanted by life in Costa Rica, this visa is renewable provided they have resided in the country for over 80 days. The renewal process and required documents remain largely unchanged, with a renewal fee of $90 applicable.