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Costa Rica signs law to attract digital nomads

President Carlos Alvarado on Wednesday signed into law a project that seeks to attract remote workers to Costa Rica.

The initiative — which has the support of the Tourism Board (ICT) and various other sectors — still needs to be published in La Gaceta. It may then take several weeks for authorities to officialize the specific legal processes regarding the new visa.

The law will grant year-long visas in Costa Rica for qualifying remote workers, often called “digital nomads.”

Remote workers can obtain a permit to stay for one year in Costa Rica, extendable for one additional year. They will also be exempted from local income taxes, will be able to open local bank accounts and can drive in Costa Rica using their country’s license, among other benefits.

“We welcome digital nomads to Costa Rica,” said President Alvarado. “This is an incentive for tourism, employment and investment by digital nomads in the various regions of the country.”

Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura has called digital nomads the “key to the rebound of the sector.” Costa Rica is an “ideal destination” for digital nomads, he said, because of its high internet connectivity paired with warm weather and outdoor adventures like surfing and hiking.

“Tourists who stay for longer periods of time redistribute their money in the value chains generated by tourism,” Segura said.

“They make more local purchases, rent a car for several weeks or months, use services such as the beauty salon, the supermarket, restaurant, soda, laundry, greengrocer, medical services, among other businesses in the community, hence the importance of becoming an option for remote workers.”

Currently, digital nomads enter Costa Rica as tourists and must therefore leave the country within 90 days

Requirements for Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa

As indicated by the final text of the law, the requirements to qualify for Costa Rica’s proposed digital nomad visa are as follows:

  • Proof of a stable monthly salary, fixed income or a average monthly income, during the last year, for an amount equal to or greater than $3,000. If the applicant chooses to request benefits also for their family group, the income may be combined with a spouse or one of the other family members and must in that case reach the sum of $4,000. In either case, it must be income that can be continue to be received even if the person is not in their country of origin.
  • Obtain a medical insurance policy that covers the applicant throughout their stay in Costa Rica. The General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners will determine the conditions or minimum coverage that this policy must have.
  • Make a one-time payment for the granting of a non-resident visa, as a Worker or Remote Service Provider. The amount has yet to be determined.
  • Any other requirement derived from the General Migration Law and Immigration Law No 8764.

For the latest information on the new law and the step by step process, go to our article: Costa Rica’s New Digital Nomad Status: A Lawyer’s View

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