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How to Get a Costa Rica Work Visa: Requirements and Procedure

Key points

  • Costa Rica is an increasingly desirable due to its warm climate, safety and remarkable geography, with both Pacific and Caribbean coasts. 
  • Costa Rica work visas can be hard to attain as Costa Rica companies have to show that a local Costa Rican was not able to take the job. 
  • For support with the Costa Rican visa process, it may be worth engaging the services of a global EOR company. 

Known for its natural beauty, friendly people (ranked 16th in the world for happiness), and relatively low cost of living, many are interested in moving to Costa Rica to work. 

Here we set out the core requirements for the Costa Rica work visa and the steps you need to take to apply for this kind of visa. 

What are the different types of Costa Rica work visa?

Costa Rica offers various types of work visas for foreign nationals, depending on their employment status, qualifications, and duration of stay. The key types of work visa are:

  1. The temporary work permit (Permiso de trabajo temporal) — this is suitable for foreign nationals who have a job offer in Costa Rica from a registered employer. The permit is valid for up to two years and can be renewed.

  2. Permanent work permit (Permiso de trabajo permanente) — this is suitable for foreign nationals who have lived and worked in Costa Rica for at least three years with a temporary work permit. As the name indicates, this is valid indefinitely. 

  3. Independent worker permit (Permiso de trabajador independiente) — for foreign nationals who wish to work as self-employed individuals in Costa Rica. This is valid for up to two years and is renewable. 

  4. Investor’s permit (Permiso de inversionista) — for foreign nationals who wish to invest in a Costa Rican business and work in the country. This visa has a duration of two years and is renewable. 

  5. Special category work permit — Costa Rica also offers work visas for foreign nationals in certain special categories, such as professional athletes, artists, and scientists.  This is valid for varying periods depending on the category

  6. Digital Nomad Visa (Visa nómada digital) — a a visa is designed for remote workers who wish to stay in Costa Rica for an extended period, up to one year, while working for their overseas employer or running their own business. Applicants must be able to show that they make a minimum of USD $3000 per month. 

How to apply for a Costa Rica work visa

While the steps may vary, depending on the specific visa sought, generally employers should proceed as follows:

  • Determine the appropriate visa type —  review the various work visas available in Costa Rica and choose the one that best suits your needs and situation.

  • Collect the required documents — this includes a valid passport, job offer letter, proof of financial solvency, and any other specific requirements for the chosen visa type.

  • Submit the visa application online or in-person at a Costa Rican consulate or embassy in your home country. You may need to schedule an appointment for an interview and pay a visa fee.

  • Move to Costa Rica and register with authorities, once the visa is approved. After receiving your visa, enter Costa Rica within the validity period and register with the relevant authorities, such as the Costa Rican Immigration Department.

Costa Rica work visas — our take

Many consider Costa Rica a desirable location to move to. While once a prime destination for US retirees, Costa Rica is now highly popular among younger visas who seek a work visa in order to move to the country for a longer period of time. When seeking a Costa Rica work visa it is crucial to apply for the right type of work visa to avoid delays.

To make the process as smooth as possible, many companies and applicants consider it beneficial to engage professional global mobility services, such as that offered by many leading international Employers of Record. These providers specialize in international hire and immigration, all over the world. 


Yes. Overseas workers can move to Costa Rica on a work visa, though these can be difficult to acquire. Be aware that outside the travel and tourism industry, fluent Spanish will be a pre-requisite. 

It can be difficult. For this reason, many foreigners find it beneficial to move to Costa Rica on a digital nomad visa or investors visa.