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All Things Costa Rica
Border Runs & Residency Requirements



  • an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country

Do I NEED a Visa to travel to Costa Rica?


  • an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder's identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries

When do I need to leave Costa Rica?  Border Run Options

Link to full article

Remember that: A return flight ticket is needed when entering Costa Rica. The immigration officer will ask for it upon your arrival. It is advisable to make a photocopy or take a picture of your passport with the entry stamp to carry at all times during your stay. Your country of origin determines the amount of days available to stay in Costa Rica as a tourist. In some cases, the Immigration official may request you show economic solvency for your stay in the country. Even with a 90-day tourist visa, the immigration official determines the duration of your stay as allowed by your passport. Visitors to Costa Rica must have a valid passport as well as proof of their intent to exit the country before their visa or entry stamp expires, usually within 90 days. All non-resident travelers must possess a return ticket or a ticket as proof of when they intend to exit the country, commonly referred to as an outbound exit or onward ticket. An onward ticket is required of non-residents who are: Traveling on a one-way ticket Entering the country with a return ticket dated more than 90 days after arrival Flying into Costa Rica and flying out of another country By law, an onward ticket includes any of the following on approved, commercial transport: A pre-purchased bus ticket out of the country A pre-purchased flight out of the country Proof of passage on a cruise ship Obligation to Declare when entering or leaving Costa Rica: When entering or leaving a port in Costa Rica, if you carry an amount equal to or greater than the US $ 10,000 or its equivalent in other currencies, cash or securities, you must request and complete the form provided for this purpose at the migration post and present it to the Customs Authority for verification; The declaration must be made before finalizing the corresponding immigration procedures. The omission of what is established by Costa Rican law (No. 8204, article 35) will result in the immediate loss of money.




Yves “Pepito” Malette Co-Owner & General Manager Yves was born in Ontario Canada and speaks English, French and Spanish. As the co-founder and co-owner of Costour, he oversees the general operations of the agency. His commitment is to develop the most memorable and exciting experiences, so that visitors will leave Costa Rica with fun filled memories. He then oversees the sales and marketing strategies related to the tours. He also oversees the booking systems and web services as well as the social media activities. When we cannot find him, he is off the beaten path looking for new tour ideas. He loves the Costa Rican wildlife and is always passionately trying to learn more about the traditions and culture of Costa Ricans which are considered happiest people in the world.

Applying for Residency in Costa Rica - US Citizens

5 Types of Residency:

  1. Family Relationship

  2. Pensioner (Pensionado)

  3. Small investor (Rentista)

  4. Investor (Inversionista)

  5. Company visa (Representante)

General Requirements for Residency:

1.  Application Letter  - (drafted by attorney)


2.  Birth Certificate - MUST contain complete information including both parent's names.  MUST be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through "Apostille" process.  This document expires 6 months after issue.

NOTE:  original notarized birth certificate is NOT acceptable

Apostille - What is it and how do I get it?

 A legal certification that makes a document from one country valid in another ​

3.  Marriage Certificate - MUST be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through "Apostille" process.  This document expires after 6 months of being issued.

NOTE:  male applicants do not need a marriage certificate as their name has NOT changed since birth vs female applicants; you will need each marriage certificate that has changed you maiden name from appropriate state.​

EX.  Jane Doe has married twice.  She was married in Indiana and her name became Jane Smith she was again married in Florida after being divorced and is now Jane Jones.  Jane will need a marriage certificate from Indiana and Florida.

4. Police Record - For US citizens (FBI Background check based on a fingerprint comparison, it must be a FEDERAL BACKGROUND REPORT not a State Report.

For other nationalities, must be a background check based on fingerprints and a country wide background report (this cannot be a local or state police report).  MUST be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through "Apostille" process.  This document expires after 6 months of being issued.

In the case of Canadian citizens, it must be a police report based on fingerprints comparison issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)


5.  Fingerprints - They need to be taken at the Ministry of Security in Liberia or San Jose Costa Rica and applicants must bring their passports. - (arranged by attorney)

6.  Certified copy of the entire passport (even blank pages)

7.  Special Power of Attorney granted by the application to the attorney that will handle the residency application.

8.  4 passport size photographs

9.  The applicant is required to pay $250 at the following bank account that belongs to immigration:  Banco de Costa Rica - Account #242480-0

10.  Consular registration at the embassy of its origin located in Costa Rica



Legal Fees - Varies per attorney

Authentication CostWith apostille process there is NO fee paid and with no authentication process at CR consulate, the authentication fee is $42 per document and this amount must be paid at the CR consulate or Ministry of Foreign Affairs in CR (documents that will require authentication are:  birth certificate, police report, marriage certificate and any other document issued outside CR)

Filing Cost - Immigration authorities charge $250 per application

Translation Fee - $30 per document (max 2 pgs)

Government fees - $30 per person

cost rica residency.PNG

“We provide legal services to those with the aim of improving the quality of their lives, our vast expertise let us guide our clients through a hassle-free journey, with a friendly approach. Helping them feel safe, satisfied and with a sense of belonging to their new experience in Costa Rica” Marcela Gurdian IEX Costa Rica Founder

Cordero & Cordero Abogados is a full service law firm that specializes on Business and Corporate Law. It represents national and international entities doing business in Costa Rica, through its offices located in San Jose and Guanacaste, providing services throughout the entire Costa Rican territory. In addition, in order to support its clients regionally, it has corresponding law firms in all the Central American jurisdictions. Its team of lawyers, paralegal and staff is composed by experienced professionals, capable of dealing with complex transactions as well as specialized legal requirements. They are determined to provide the highest quality legal service through a personalized, essential and a responsive approach in every legal matter.

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