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How to Get a Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa: Requirements and Procedure

Key Takeaways

  • Climate, proximity to the US, safety and a high standard of living, are all features that attract digital nomads to working in Costa Rica.
  • Costa Rica is one of more than 40 countries to offer a digital nomad visa
  • Digital nomad visas are different to traditional business and work visas
  • You can apply for a Costa Rica digital nomad visa online
  • Holders of a Costa Rican digital nomad visa are exempt from paying some taxes
  • It takes about 15 days to get a response to your application. 

Working remotely is now more commonplace than ever. As a consequence, more professionals are choosing to work remotely whilst they travel, a movement known as digital nomadism. As the trend grows, more nations around the world are offering visas for remote workers. Typically these visas allow you to remain in a country for longer than is possible with a traditional work or tourist visa and require you to work remotely for an employer based outside of the country.

Costa Rica is one country that offers visas for digital nomads. Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa is a fairly new option similar to the the country’s rentista visa, a visa aimed at people who have a guaranteed, but passive, income source.

 If you’re interested in exploring Costa Rica and working remotely, read on to learn more about the country’s digital nomad visa.

What is the Costa Rica digital nomad visa?

The Costa Rica digital nomad visa is a visa aimed at freelancers and remote workers. With this visa you can extend what would otherwise be a tourist visa of 90 days, to be valid for one year. Later, it’s possible to extend the visa for a further year.

Note, as with digital nomad visas in other countries, such as Spain or Estonia, the Costa Rica digital nomad visa is only permitted for individuals employed by an employer located outside Costa Rica. 

This is similar but distinct from the rentista visa, which is initially valid for two years: Neither visa allows you to begin employment with a company in Costa Rica, but the rentista visa also prohibits working for overseas companies — it is intended for residents with a passive income source only. 

Visas for digital nomads are not the same as traditional business or work visas: With a business visa you can enter a country temporarily to conduct business activities. These visas generally have a short validity period similar to a tourist visa. A work visa lets you stay for a longer period of time and allows you to work for a local company, which is sometimes the first step towards permanent residency or citizenship.

If you have a digital nomad visa for Costa Rica you are entitled to open a bank account in the country and are exempted from paying local income tax for a period of time. Another benefit is that you can waive customs tax for electronic and telecommunications devices that you need to work remotely.  

How do I apply for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa?

You can submit your application for Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa online or at an embassy. A response is usually provided within 15 days. If you’re already in Costa Rica you can apply by making an appointment at the Directorate General of Migration. Appointments can be booked online.

To apply for the visa:

  • Complete the application and pay the application fee
  • Obtain travel insurance
  • Submit the necessary documents
  • Wait for a response. 

Video about the Costa Rica's Digital Nomad Visa Program

Which documents are required for the digital nomad visa?

A variety of documents are required when you’re applying for a digital nomad visa. It’s important that you understand what to submit because this helps avoid having your application rejected or delayed. If your application is rejected it might affect your ability to apply for another Costa Rican visa later on. If you have any doubts about what to submit, contacting your nearest Costa Rican embassy is a useful way to confirm what to do.

You’ll need official translations of your documents into Spanish if they are in any other language. It’s important that you factor the time and cost of getting translations into your plans so that you have enough time to apply.

The documents you’ll need to submit are:

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of travel insurance
  • Proof of accomodation during your stay
  • An employment contract
  • A declaration that you intend to work remotely in Costa Rica
  • Proof of financial means.
Application form for the costa rica digital nomad visa
Application form for the Costa Rica digital nomad visa

Working remotely in Costa Rica — our take

If you’re already a digital nomad or you’re interested in adopting this lifestyle, digital nomad visas can help you travel more freely and spend more time in countries you want to visit. The Costa Rica digital nomad visa might suit you if you’re interested in remaining in Costa Rica for an extended period. It’s advisable to conduct thorough research into the visas that are open to you and find out how to apply, so you can make the right choice and make a smooth and successful application.

FAQs

To apply for Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa you’ll need to pay a fee of $100. It’s essential that you pay the correct fee when you’re applying for any type of visa.

There are now more than 40 countries around the world that have a visa aimed at digital nomads and remote workers. As the digital nomadism trend keeps growing, it’s likely that more countries will start to offer this type of visa. Some of the countries that currently issue this visa include Germany, Spain, Estonia, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

To investigate other countries that offer digital nomad visas see our comprehensive list of digital nomad visas

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