Anyone who is going to live in Costa Rica should apply for residency. A lot of expats who live here never try to get residency and end up being perpetual tourists. They have to leave the country every 90 days to stay legal which can be a real pain in the neck, stressful and an added expense. In theory an immigration agent can deny reentry to anyone doing this repeatedly. In fact, a person can be banned from returning to the country for ten years as a worse case scenario.
Some brave individuals try to get residency by themselves and without the help of an experienced professional. This is not for the faint of heart, especially if the person does not speak Spanish. However, I do know a couple of people who have done it successfully.
The best way to ensure that you will obtain residency is to use an experienced layer who deals exclusively with residency issues. Just like when you have a specific health issue you are better of if you see a specialist rather than a general practitioner.
There are several companies that can assist you with residency.
1. Residency in Costa Rica in Costa Rica has been around for a while and from the feedback I have received they are very professional and do good work.
2. Costa Rica Residency Card is the “new kid on the block” so I haven’t had the opportunity to talk with anyone who has used their services. On their website they have a section of testimonials from satisfied clients.
One of the shortcomings of the two companies above is that they are one-dimentional in that they just help you with residencies and offer no other services for future residents.
3. On the other hand, the time-tested Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR) offers a whole slew of valuable services in addition to obtaining residency, which is why I choose to work exclusively with them. This is so clients on my monthly relocation/retirement tours receive a more complete service. My clients also attend the ARCR’s highly-informative two-day seminar.
For a small annual membership fee members are entitled to the following services in addition to residency:
- Immigration Legal resident applications and file updates, identity card renewals.
- The best and most informative two-day seminar in Costa Rica for expats retirees.
- Opening a bank account
- Services in areas such as investments, real estate (including appraisals) and banking.
- Relocation Assistance with shipping and customs.
- Referrals for legal, tax and accounting assistance.
- Assistance in dealing with various government departments in Costa Rica.
- Two different medical plans, public and private with group discount rates available.
- Insurance for automobile and homeowners.
- All other types of insurance available in the ARCR San Jose offices.
- Inexpensive international mail courier service to the US postal system in Miami, Florida.
- Vehicle and property title searches, company searches, credit checks.
- Photocopy, translation, fax, mail delivery and Internet services.
FREE email account that provides stable and reliable service anywhere in the world.
- Discounts on a wide variety of goods and services.
Work permits for foreign domestic staff.
- Subscription to “EL RESIDENTE” magazine.
- Many social activities and Adventure trips for networking and fun.
- Access to Costa Rica Asistencia (Auto Club Road service program like AAA)
4. Casa Canada Group is now offering help with residency but there main focus has always been on real estate and investments. They have a huge ad on the front page of the on-line newspaper, www.amcostarica.com.
Here is a list of the different types of residency:
And here are the requirements: