Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa & Remote Work



Proof of stable net income of at least $3,000 per month, or $5,000 per month for families.


The visa permits a one-year residency, which can be extended to two years, without requiring the holder to exit the country.


Applicants must be either employed by a company that is registered outside of Costa Rica, own a business that is registered abroad, or freelance for clients who are based outside of the country.


You can expect around $500 USD in total.


Costa Rica follows a territorial tax system, meaning that income generated from foreign sources while residing in Costa Rica from remote work or clients abroad is not subject to local income tax. You can effectively be tax free in Costa Rica. Yes, you read it right!

Nomad Visa Costa Rica 2024

Have you ever dreamed working amid the lush greenery of rainforests and the pristine shores of Costa Rica? If this sounds appealing, you might be interested in exploring the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa.

Officially termed as the “Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers,” this visa facilitates remote workers and their families to legally reside and work in Costa Rica for a period of up to two years.

This detailed guide will walk you through every aspect of the Costa Rica digital nomad visa. You’ll discover the eligibility requirements, necessary documentation, a step-by-step process for application, associated visa fees, and much more.

Does Costa Rica Offer a Digital Nomad Visa?

Yes! Costa Rica introduced its digital nomad visa, also recognized as the Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers, in July 2022. This visa permits foreign nationals and their dependents to live and work in Costa Rica for an initial term of one year, which is extendable to two years.

Key Benefits of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa provides several attractive benefits, including:

  • Duration: Visa holders are allowed to stay for one year, with the possibility to extend for another year without needing to exit the country.
  • Tax Advantages: Digital nomads with this visa are exempt from paying income tax in Costa Rica.
  • Banking and Driving: Visa recipients can open a local bank account and are permitted to use their home country’s driving license.
  • Customs Tax Exemption: There is no customs tax on work-related tech and devices necessary for remote work, subject to specific conditions.

Required Documents for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

Applicants need to prepare and submit a series of documents as part of their visa application, both for themselves and any accompanying family members:

  • Application Form: A signed application form by the applicant or their authorized representative.
  • Financial Proof: Twelve months of bank statements demonstrating a stable monthly income of at least $3,000, or $4,000 for applicants with families.
  • Payment Receipt: A receipt for a $100 fee paid to the Costa Rican government, specifically deposited in the Banco de Costa Rica.
  • Employment Requirements: Applicants should be employed by a company registered outside of Costa Rica, own a company registered outside of Costa Rica, or freelance for clients based outside of the country.
  • Health Insurance: Valid proof of health insurance coverage for the applicant and any family members for the duration of their stay in Costa Rica.
  • Passport Copy: A photocopy of the photo page of the applicant’s valid passport, including the page with the Costa Rican entry stamp if already in the country.
  • Marriage Certificate: If applicable, a marriage certificate issued by a competent authority.
  • Birth Certificate: For any family member under 25 years of age accompanying the applicant.
  • Medical Certificate: For any disabled applicant or dependent, detailing their health condition.
  • Proof of Relationship: For any senior citizens accompanying the principal applicant, documentation proving the familial relationship is required.

Translation Requirements

All documents not originally in Spanish must be accompanied by an official translation. These translations can be completed by an official translator registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a notary public.

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa Application Process

Applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa involves a straightforward but meticulous process.

Step 1: Submit Your Application
You and your dependents can apply for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa either online or in person:

  • Online Application: Utilize the ‘Tramite Ya’ digital platform to submit your application. This platform allows you to upload all required documents electronically and fill out your application form accurately from anywhere.
  • In-Person Application: If you prefer or need to submit a physical application, visit either the central or regional offices of the General Directorate of Immigration (DGEM). When applying in person, make sure to select “Stay (Estancia) for Digital Nomads” on the DGME’s Web Appointments Portal to schedule your appointment. Ensure that you bring all necessary documents as listed in the required documents section below.

Step 2: Pay Your Application Fee
Submit the application fee of $100 to the specified Banco de Costa Rica account. This fee is mandated by Article 256 of the General Law on Immigration and Aliens and is crucial for processing your application.

Step 3: Wait For Approval
After submitting your application and fee, the next stage is the approval process. This includes a thorough security check of your criminal and police records, possibly accompanied by biometric revisions. The processing office aims to issue a resolution within 15 calendar days. If there is any need for additional information, they will notify you within 5 days of submitting your application. You then have 8 working days to provide the requested information.

Step 4: Obtain Your Residence Permit
Once your application is approved, the next step is to obtain your residence permit. This is necessary even though the digital nomad visa is not a residency visa per se; it requires registering your stay officially. You must collect your biometric data and finalize this process within three months of your arrival in Costa Rica. This step is completed at any Immigration office across the country, where standard residence and immigration fees apply.

Step 5: Apply for Visa Renewal
If you wish to extend your stay under the digital nomad visa for a second year, you must have spent at least 180 days in Costa Rica during the first year. The renewal process mirrors the initial application, requiring you to provide updated financial proofs and a valid health insurance policy.

Cost of the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

Applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa involves various fees that contribute to the total cost of obtaining and maintaining the visa:

  • Visa Application Fee: Each applicant must pay $100 when submitting their application.
  • Guarantee Deposit: A deposit of $238 is required as a financial guarantee.
  • Variable Approval Fee: Upon the visa’s approval, an additional fee is charged, the amount of which varies based on specific factors pertaining to the applicant’s circumstances. This fee will be clearly specified upon approval.
  • Special Social Immigration Fund: Applicants are also required to contribute $90 to the Special Social Immigration Fund. This contribution supports the certification process of legal stay documents within Costa Rica.
  • Security Deposit: A security deposit is also necessary, the amount of which depends on the applicant’s nationality. This deposit is intended to cover potential costs associated with deportation, should it become necessary.

Timeline for Applying for the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa

The process of applying for and obtaining the Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa can vary in duration:

  • Application Processing: Typically, the government processing time for the visa application is around 14 days. This period allows for the review and approval of the submitted documents and the applicant’s background.
  • Post-Approval Steps: Once the visa is approved, the applicant has three months after arriving in Costa Rica to secure their residence permit, which includes the collection of biometric data. This step is crucial and involves making an appointment with immigration officials to complete the necessary documentation and formalities.

Residency Considerations

The Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa does not lead to residency. It is designed for a short-term stay of up to two years and does not provide a pathway to Temporary or Permanent Residency. Holders of this visa cannot later switch their visa category to seek residency status. This visa strictly allows for remote work from Costa Rica without the provision for an indefinite stay.

Tax for Digital Nomads in Costa Rica

Due to Costa Rica’s territorial tax system, income earned from foreign sources—such as remote work or overseas clients—is not taxed locally. This policy can significantly benefit digital nomads whose income primarily originates from outside Costa Rica.

Despite these benefits, digital nomads should be aware of potential local tax liabilities:

  • Local Income Tax: If you generate income within Costa Rica, it may be taxable. The local income tax rates vary from 10% to 25%, depending on the amount of income earned.
  • Self-Employment Tax: Income from any freelance activities conducted within Costa Rica is subject to self-employment taxes. It’s essential to understand the specifics of these obligations to ensure compliance with local tax laws.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): For services rendered within Costa Rica, digital nomads are required to charge and remit VAT, which is currently set at 13%. This applies to any business transactions carried out within the country.

Work. Travel. Explore. Enjoy. Freedom.

Nomad Visa 2024 © Privacy Policy