10 things you should know when buying Tamarindo real estate
Pt. 7: Obtaining Residency
In part one of this ten-part series, we discussed the Costa Rican legal system and how it differs from the U.S. legal system. In part two, we discussed how to choose a realtor. In part three, we discussed property managers and the services they provide in maintaining and renting your vacation home. In the fourth installment, we discussed the various taxes that may apply when owning Tamarindo real estate. In part five, we discussed the various utilities that service your new home. In part six, we discussed the types of insurance available for your Tamarindo Real Estate and how to obtain insurance policies. In this seventh installment, we will discuss the different ways to obtain residency in Costa Rica.
Types of Residency
Without residency, visitors are only allowed to remain in Costa Rica for a period of 90-days, granted with your tourist visa upon arrival. If you wish to live in Costa Rica or remain in the country for more than three months at a time, you will want to apply for residency. The four most common types for applications for residency to Costa Rica are known as inversionistas, or business/investors, pensionados, or retirees, rentistas, legal residents, or vinculos, those who marry a Costa Rican citizen, or have a child in Costa Rica. We’ll start with the residency option most viable for you when you purchase real estate in Tamarindo.
“Inversionistas” Or Business/Investor Residency
An Inversionista Resident is someone who makes a direct investment of $200,000 or more into the Costa Rican economy. The investment can be into any type of business in Costa Rica, or in real estate. When you purchase your Tamarindo Real Estate, you can qualify to become an inversionista resident if the real estate you are purchasing is valued at or above $200,000, assessed by the Municipalidad, and registered with them for the purpose of levying and collecting property tax. This type of residency is considered temporary residency and after a period of three years as in inversionista, you can apply for permanent residency. One of the requirements for inversionista residency states that you must remain in Costa Rica for at least six months out of each year for your residency to remain valid.
“Pensionado” Or Retiree Residency
Another way in which you may qualify for residency if the value of your Tamarindo Real Estate is less than $200,000 is by applying for residency as a Pensionado Resident. Pensionados are retirees living in Costa Rica with a pension of at least $1,000 per month from a permanent pension source or retirement fund. Pensionados are not granted work visas and are not able to gain employment in Costa Rica. One monthly pension of at least $1,000 can be applied to a married couple, granting both husband and wife residency based solely on the one monthly pension. Pensionados are required to live in Costa Rica for a minimum of four months per year. This type of residency is also temporary, and after three years as a pensionado, residents can apply for permanent residency.
“Rentistas” Or Legal Residents
Rentista residents are not yet retired but don’t need to work. In order to qualify for rentista residency, you must be able to prove that you are receiving guaranteed, unearned income from investments or other sources outside of Costa Rica and that you can prove a received monthly payment of at least $2,500 over a two-year period. Most rentistas prove their eligibility by presenting a notarized letter from a bank or financial institution indicating the applicant has on deposit at least $60,000 in an account. Those applying for rentista residency must agree to withdraw $2,500 per month and converting it into local currency, Colones, to be spent within Costa Rica to stimulate the economy. This amount is the same for a single individual, a couple, or a family with dependents. Only $2,500 per month must be proved for an entire family to become residents of Costa Rica. Rentistas, like pensionados, must live in the country for at least four months out of each year to maintain residency. This type of residency is also temporary, and after three years as a rentista resident, you can apply for permanent residency.
“Vinculo” Or Married to or Relation to a Costa Rican Citizen
You may be purchasing real estate in Tamarindo because the love of your life is a Costa Rican citizen. Or maybe once you have moved to Costa Rica, you’ll fall in love with a Costa Rican citizen. If this is the case and you do end up marrying a Costa Rican citizen, you can qualify for vinculo residency. This process requires officially registering your marriage at the Registro Civil in Costa Rica. If you were married to a Costa Rican citizen outside of Costa Rica, this process can take up to four months, so be aware of this time issue. By marrying a Costa Rican citizen, you qualify for temporary residency and after three years, you can apply for permanent residency. Another benefit to vinculo residency is that you are granted a built-in work permit, meaning you are eligible to gain employment in Costa Rica.
Also eligible for vinculo residency is the happy couple that decides to have a baby in Costa Rica. If you and your partner have a child in Costa Rica, you qualify for vinculo residency and automatically become permanent residents. Vinculo residency can also be applied to other children you may have who were born outside of Costa Rica so that the entire family will be held in the same regard and afforded similar benefits. Again, parents who have a child in Costa Rica and gain vinculo residency are granted built-in work permits and may seek employment in Costa Rica.
Key Documents Required
While the documents required for each type of residency vary slightly, there are several key documents that are required for all types of residency. They are as follows:
- Birth Certificate
- Police Clearance Letter (from your previous country of residency)
- Current Passport
- Proof of Consular Registration
- Recent passport-type photographs
- If spouse is also applying: a copy of the Marriage Certificate
- Pensionado and Rentistas: Proof of Income Letter
- Inversionistas: Must also show proof of having made a direct, verifiable investment of US$200,000 in Costa Rica and will need to present additional documentation pertaining to the investment
None of the required documents can be older than six months from the date the application is filed. Also, all documents issued outside of Costa Rica must be authenticated, notarized, and translated into Spanish by the Costa Rican consulate in the country where the document was issued or in Costa Rica by an official translator.
PPV Tamarindo Real Estate is an Eco-conscious, residential Ocean View community located on Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Our development offers more luxury than you would ever expect at an affordable price. Our development is close to beautiful beaches; offers Ocean View Condos; lots offering panoramic Ocean views; and affordable tropical residential lots.