My significant other and I are looking to spend next year in Costa Rica. His company is going to relocate us there so he can work full time. I was hoping that someone might know what kind of requirements there are for the different visas.

We are from the United States. We wouldn't mind living on a tourist visa for a year until things can be figured out for a resident visa. We just need to know what would be a good way to go about doing things.

  • Stack Exchange thrives on specific questions so please include all the relevant details you can think of. For instance you haven't even told us which nationalities you are or which passports you carry. Costa Rica is surely like most countries in the world where their visa rules will vary depending on where the applicant is from. The more effort you put into your question the more likely somebody is to put effort into answering. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 10:16
  • Ah also I just noticed you are asking about immigrating to Costa Rica rather than about travelling there. Please note that expat and immigration questions have been decided specifically to be off-topic on the travel site. There is however a proposal for an immigration site that you may wish to follow: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/10331/immigration Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 10:19
  • Not saying that we are going to be staying there permanently. It might be just a year. So, if someone knows how to get a TOURIST visa for a year. That can work.
    – AtlasRN
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 12:37
  • 3
    This is still more of a work/immigration question than travel. However, just FYI, anyworkanywhere.com/visas_cr.html states that if you (or your husband, I guess) are/is actually working, you'll need to apply for temporary residency from the Direccion General De Migracion - at which point your questions will need to be directed to your nearest Costa Rican consulate.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 23:00
  • 4
    And I've heard many cases where if you're shown to be working AT ALL, or even just have work papers in your bags, if you try to enter on a tourist visa and they find those, it's often deportation time. Just a warning :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 23:00

3 Answers 3


After doing tons of research on the subject, I did find a website that talks about different types of residency options. Not sure which one we will apply for yet, but it is a start.



Strictly speaking, this question is off-topic for Travel.SE. Tourist visas rarely if ever allow for paid work, even if it is done online or telecommuting. Without a residency permit, you may find yourself unable to open bank accounts, for instance. Also, it's also highly unlikely to find any country that offers year-long tourist visas. Costa Rica is no exception and for Americans, this tops off at 90 days.

Looking at the Costa Rican department of immigration site it seems you won't fall under a category eligible for temporary residency (note - the website is in Spanish), so you may have to apply for permanent residency in your case.


I met loads of Europeans and North Americans living (and many working) semi-permanently in Costa Rica, and almost all of them were there just on a tourist visa. These people periodically visit a neighbouring country for another 3-month stay. (The only foreigner with a non-tourist visa that I talked to was an American massagist who had been living in CR for 10+ years or so.)

For example, from Puerto Viejo (a surfer/expat hedonism spot on the Caribbean coast), people typically visit nearby Bocas del Toro, Panama to renew their visa (combining it with a weekend getaway).

Not sure how allowed that is, officially. Just reporting what I saw. :-)

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