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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

Costa Rica Digital Nomad Visa: Your Questions Answered

As many people know by now, Costa Rica has a digital nomad visa for persons who work online outside of Costa Rica and wish to move here and can bring into the country at least $3,000.00 monthly as their income.

This type of visa is programmed to be much more user friendly in the sense that interested parties should be able to go through the application process without the need of a lawyer.

I previously explained the details about the nomad visa in a Tico Times article “Costa Rica´s New Digital Nomad Status- A Lawyer´s View

I wanted to ask a person that has successfully gone through the process for their experiences to share with our Tico Times readers. We will call her Karla for privacy reasons. These are her answers as relate to her particular experience.

In general terms how would you qualify your experience with the online platform to get your digital nomad visa in Costa Rica?

There are a lot of mistakes on the Tramite Ya application form. It says things are required that are not. For example: a digital signature, sworn statements, and apostille of documents are not needed for the visa to be accepted.

Also, even though there is an option for the platform to be in English, not all of the application is offered in English.

How long did the process take from beginning to end?

I started the process in the beginning of September and received my visa on October 31st. I only completed the application for myself, and now will move onto my husband’s application.

Did you need help from other individuals or can a person go through their process on their own?

I received a lot of help and support. I had a 1 hour free consultation with an immigration lawyer. She told me the digital nomad visa process is meant to be done easily online and completed without a lawyer. She also explained that this is a new process and there are a lot of mistakes and kinks the government is working out.

Even some lawyers don’t know the process exactly, because they are simply reading what is on the application even though it contains mistakes. Some parts of the application are ‘copied and pasted’ from other applications and don’t apply to the digital nomad visa specifically.

Also, I had a Tica friend help me translate parts of the application that were in Spanish and not offered in English. The phone number for help and immigration appointments is all in Spanish so she helped me with those phone calls. Finally, I received help from you Jorge!

What was the greatest challenge you faced in this process?

The process is about 4 steps:

Initial application, 2nd application to upload documents, immigration appointment in person, and picking up the card. After the initial part of the application was accepted, you are given only 5 working days to submit the required documents for the 2nd part.

I wish I had known that was the case so I had all the documents in order. I was rushing and stressed for those 5 days to submit everything required, only to find out later some of it was not required.

The second biggest challenge was understanding the requirements. The 3rd challenge was realizing that I had paid for things that were in the end not necessary.

For example, because the application says documents need to be apostilled, I paid for that, only to find out from my consultation with the lawyer that it was not necessary.

The application also says you need health insurance from Costa Rica and I used my coverage from the US from my job and that was accepted.

Can a person that knows no Spanish go through the process on their own?

No, I do not believe a person that knows no Spanish can not go through the process on their own. I could not have completed this without the help from 1) my Costa Rican friend 2) free consultation with an immigration lawyer 3) Help from Jorge

Are there any tools for help available to those going through the process?

Yes, you can email Tramite Ya with questions and they will answer you in English. You can not call the help number to receive help in English.

Did the process have any cost? And if so how much?

The cost for 1 person to receive their visa should be:

a. Application fees: separate deposits of $100, $100, $128
b. Notary of passport: $30
c. Translation of documents: Bank Statements approximately $100
d. * Do not pay to apostille anything – it is not necessary
e. * Do no pay for Costa Rican Health Insurance – even though it says you must have CR health insurance, I used my US health insurance from my employment and did not pay for extra health insurance through CR

Do you think the process was worth the time and effort expended?

I am glad I do not have to leave the country every 90 days. Now that I know more clearly how to complete the application, I can help my husband and son with less frustration and confusion. I feel confident I can renew my visa next year as well.

Do you have any other specific recommendations for people out there thinking of starting this process?

Be prepared with all the documents needed before starting the process. Set up a Tramite Ya account and just look at all the applications before you submit anything to know the requirements so you can quickly upload them when the time comes.

Ask a lot of people for answers to the same questions. Talk to someone who has been through the process.

Of course, these experiences relate specifically to Karla. What she has indicated here is not legal advise and cannot be taken as legally binding.

Other persons may have had different experiences with the digital nomad process. We would love to hear from you if you have any help, advice or experiences that may benefit others in making their experience easier.

About the Author

*** Lic. Jorge Montero B. is a bicultural lawyer born in New York City, educated in the U.S.A. and in Costa Rica. He holds various specialties and master’s degrees in Criminal, Commercial, Environmental and Agrarian Law from the University of Costa Rica and has over 30 years of litigation, contract and counsel experience. Email: acmbalaw@gmail.com; Tel: (506) 8384- 2246; Whatsapp: (506) 8384- 2246

NEW SERVICE: We offer 12 legal consultations for $150.00 (plus $19,50 for 13% value added tax) with a 6-month expiration period. Consultations are only specific legal questions NOT cases or analysis of cases. These consultations DO NOT include legal advice for specific or general issues, ONLY legal questions on specific points of law.

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