What is a digital nomad?

In August of the year 2021, with the approval of Law 10008, which is called “Law for the Attraction of International Workers and Remote Service Providers number 10008”, a new migratory classification was created that allows foreign workers or “digital nomads” to apply for a work permit or visa under the migratory category of non-resident and subcategory of stay as a remote worker or service provider. Such migratory benefit is granted for a term of one year, extendable for a single additional period also of one year.

In addition to the above, on July 4, 2022, the regulations of Law 10000 were signed, which defined the procedure to be followed to file the application and the requirements that must be provided with it, among other aspects.

The benefits contemplated by the law for the so-called “digital nomads” are the following:

1. Being able to stay up to a period of two years in Costa Rica.

2. The remote worker may request that the permit also covers his or her family group, which includes the spouse or domestic partner, children under twenty-five years of age or those sons or daughters of any age who have a disability, as well as the elderly people living with them.

3. Exemption from tax on utilities.

4. Tax-free importation of any equipment necessary to carry out the work.

5. Recognition of foreign driver’s license in Costa Rica.

6. Possibility to open savings accounts in banks of the Costa Rican national banking system.

What are the requirements for the worker to access this immigration category??

  1. Not to have the condition of resident in Costa Rica.
  2. Submit the application form duly signed physically or digitally.
  3. Attach proof of payment in favor of the Government for the amount of $100 or its equivalent in colones.
  4. Submit an image of the page of the current passport of the foreigner with his/her photograph and biographical information and an image of the page with the entry stamp to Costa Rica.
  5. Valid consular or restricted visa.
  6. Bank statements accompanied by an affidavit stating that these have been requested and obtained from the corresponding financial entity, where it is supported that the worker has received during the last year a    remuneration from abroad for a minimum amount of $3,000 and when the request is also made for the family group, it must be $4,000.
  7. Remote work – The worker must work on his own, or for a company established outside Costa Rica, receive the salary from abroad and not belong to any payroll in Costa Rica.

What are the requirements for the employee’s dependents to obtain the respective permit?

  1. Marriage certificate with date of issue not older than six months.
  2. Document that demonstrates the declaration or recognition of the domestic union with a date of issue not older than 6 months.
  • Copy of birth certificate or proof of birth in case of minors or unmarried persons under 25 years of age.
  • If the dependent person suffers from a disability, he/she must provide a medical certificate that proves it.
  • Elderly persons must provide an affidavit to prove the existence of a relationship or cohabitation with the worker who is applying for the stay.

How to apply for legal stay under the subcategory of Stay for Remote Worker or Remote Service Provider?

  1. The application can be made either virtually through the following link: https://tramiteya.go.cr/dgme/
  • The application can also be made physically by making an appointment through the DGME’s Web Appointment Portal under the option Digital Nomads Stay.

What is the deadline by which the Department of Immigration Management and Regional Coordination must resolve requests for stay in the country?

The Immigration Management and Regional Coordination department, as appropriate, will have a period of 15 calendar days from the presentation of the procedure to resolve in writing the request for the subcategory and in case there are defects in the request, in the first 5 calendar days will make a prevention to correct it within 8 working days.

What happens when the legal stay is approved under the immigration subcategory of stay?

  1. Once the worker is notified of the resolution, he/she and/or his/her dependent will have a period of 3 months to process his/her migratory accreditation document, for which he/she must go to an appointment at the Documentation Subprocess to have the respective photograph taken. In addition, the following requirements must be presented:
  2. Proof of payment in favor of the Government for the amount indicated in the approval resolution.
  3. Proof of payment for $90.00 corresponding to the request of the document of permanence.
  4. Proof of payment for the guarantee deposit for non-residents sub category of stay.
  5. The foreigner’s valid and in good condition passport, which was used to carry out the initial procedure.
  6. A medical insurance with coverage for medical expenses up to $50,000.00 must be contracted and the policy must cover the beneficiary for the entire stay. In case of family groups, each member must have a policy with the above requirements.

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