The second most frequent question asked by investors looking to acquire a property in Costa Rica is often "How can I obtain legal immigration status?". As pointed out by Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol and further explained in KSI Realty's "Investing in Costa Rica" section, there are 3 ways to obtain residency for foreign businessmen - other than family ties with a native Costa Rican:

1. The investor status

Investors have to demonstrate that they have invested in the country and that they have a Costa Rican corporation that owns and runs a business. The best businesses and companies should be in one of the following categories/industries:
> Tourism: Hotels, Resorts & Casinos, Bed & Breakfast, Lodges, Site Seeing Activities and Extreme Outdoors Sports Activities (aerial tram, river rafting, eco-tourism...)
> Tree plantation with an initial investment of $100,000 in the first 3 years
> Productive projects in which Costa Rican labor is hired (industrial production of goods or free trade zone activities)
> Banking Investments
> Real Estate Investments
> "National Interest" type projects defined by the Costa Rican Government (as of today for example, ecological protection programs)

A complete list of requirements for each specific activity will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency when the type of investment is decided by the client.

2. Retiree Status

A retiree has to demonstrate receiving a life pension from a government or a retirement fund of no less than $1,000 per month. A complete list of requirements for this status will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency, but the one mentionned above is the most important.

3. Rentista Status

This status applies to a person who receives a monthly allowance of no less than $2,500 per month. The person has further to demonstrate and guarantee that he/she will perceive this monthly income for at least 2 years with a letter from a first order bank or financial institution. A complete list of other requirements for this status will be provided by the attorney in Costa Rica in order to apply for residency, but the one mentionned above is the most important.

 


The third most frequent question asked by businessmen looking to invest in Costa Rica is "How much will it cost me to close a deal (expenses and legal fees) and obtain legal immigration status?". Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol covers some of the most important costs associated with the acquisition of a Costa Rican property and the application for a legal residency status:

1. Closing cost for a Real Estate deal is 4.5% of the value of the sales price. This includes a 1.5% tax for land transfer, 1% registration stamps' fee to the National Registry and a 2% notary fee (to be paid at closing)

2. Fees for the incorporation of a Company in Costa Rica are about $750. This amont includes legal fees (legal agent fee for the first year), registration stamps, publication in the official newspaper, and obtention of legal and accounting books. All expenses and fees need to be paid at signing. This could be an option if you wish to operate a business without getting the immigration status.  

3. Attorney's fees per hour in other retained activities are about $100 per billable hour

4. To apply for a residency status, costs are broken down as follow:

> For the first and second group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $3,750. This amont includes a $3,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $500 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

> For the third group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $4,750. This amont includes a $4,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $500 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

> For the fourth group of nationalities mentioned in our previous post, you should account for about $7,250. This amont includes a $6,250 fee per person, plus additional expenses of about $1,000 per client when all required documents are provided, legalized and translated (included is an incorporation of a company in Costa Rica to start the investment process). All expenses and 50% of the fee need to be paid at the start of the process, 25% when all documents are submitted to the Immigration Office and the remaining 25% to be paid when immigration status is granted.

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Disclaimer: Information and data as of February 2012, not binding and likely to be modified without prior notice. Please see a licensed and certified professional and seek legal counseling should you wish to invest in Costa Rica. Please note that the amounts given are estimates and their sole purpose is to give you an idea and help you set up a provisional budget. Costs and information maybe subject to change depending on the uniqueness of each investment project in Costa Rica.