Costa Rica is a dream retirement destination. With beautiful, tropical weather year round and gorgeous beaches and rainforests to explore, it’s no wonder some retirees want to upgrade their stay from a vacation to a residency. The Costa Rica Pensionado status is made specifically for retirement in the country and is the best choice for retirees looking to settle down in the tropical paradise. Here is everything you need to know about getting residency in Costa Rica.
Applicants Must Have An Income Of At Least $1,000 A Month
In order to qualify for the Costa Rica Pensionado status, an applicant must have a guaranteed pension for life that brings in at least $1,000 in income per month. This income can come from just about any source — social security, or military pensions, to name a few — so long as it is an income guaranteed for life. Bank annuities and private insurance companies do not qualify.
Applicants Can Include A Spouse And Dependents
Spouses and children can be included in Pensionado status, meaning retirees can streamline the application process by including their whole family in a single application.
There are three types of approved dependents: spouses, children under the age of 25, and children with disabilities of any age. The application process will require additional documents for each dependent.
Hiring An Attorney
Unlike some other countries, Costa Rica does not require its retirement residency applicants to hire an attorney for application assistance. However, an attorney may speed up the notoriously long wait times associated with applications. Due diligence is recommended as there have been instances of attorneys taking advantage of US citizens looking for legal status.
Documents Must Be Notarized
Before the application process for a Costa Rica Pensionado status can begin, U.S. citizens must reach out to a Consulate of Costa Rica in the United States, where the following documents must be authenticated:
- Certified Birth Certificate
- Proof of income
- Certified Marriage Certificate, if applicable
- Medical certificates, in case of children with disabilities
- Original Police Record Check issued by the F.B.I.
Applicants Can Submit Their Required Documents Either From Home Or From Costa Rica
Individuals interested in applying for the Costa Rica Pensionado status can submit the required documents in two ways. They can either submit the documents from their home country via a local Costa Rican consulate or travel to Costa Rica and go to an Immigration Office of Costa Rica. Whichever method an applicant chooses, they will have to provide the following documents:
- A request letter explaining the retiree’s reasons for applying for the Costa Rica Pensionado status, as well as information such as full name, nationality, age, and occupation
- An immigration application form
- At least two passport-sized photographs of the applicant
- Payment to cover the filing fee
- Proof of fingerprint registration
- Proof of consular registration
- Birth certificate
- Police Clearance Certificate
- Photocopy of all passport pages
- Proof of income, authenticated by the Consulate of Costa Rica
If an applicant is married or including dependents, these additional documents are required:
- Marriage certificate, authenticated by the Consulate of Costa Rica
- Medical certificates, in case of children with disabilities, authenticated by the Consulate of Costa Rica
Applicants Must Renew Their Status
The Costa Rica Pensionado status is valid for 24 months years, after which retirees must undergo a renewal process. In order for Costa Rica to approve the renewal, applicants must again provide proof of their monthly $1,000 income. The government will then check that the applicant spent at least 4 months per year living in Costa Rica. This amount does not have to be a continuous 4 months, but rather a total. There is no limit to how many times an individual can renew their retirement status.