Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa signed into law

The new law will attract wealthy foreigners to Costa Rica.

President Carlos Alvarado on Wednesday signed into law a project that will create a “digital nomad” visa in Costa Rica to attract foreign remote workers. 

The project must be published in La Gaceta (the official government newspaper). It will then take some weeks for the corresponding rules/framework to be formalized for this new visa.

The law will “promote long-stay visitation in Costa Rica and increase the expenditure of foreign resources in the country,” said President Alvarado.

“A digital nomad consumes services, food, makes purchases, uses transportation, hires people. All of this generates more employment in the country and generates growth,” he added.

Details: Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa

Here are the basic requirements and benefits outlined by Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa:

Who qualifies to be a digital nomad?

The person in question must meet the following requirements:

  1. Show proof of an average monthly income, during the last year, equal to or greater than $3,000. If the applicant chooses to request visa benefits for their family, a combined income of $4,000 would qualify. In either case, income should continue even if the person is not in their country of origin.

  2. Obtain medical insurance that covers the applicant (and their family, if applicable) throughout their stay in Costa Rica. Minimum coverage requirements have not yet been determined.

  3. Pay a to-be-determined amount for the visa application and processing fee.

What are the benefits to the visa?

The benefits of the digital nomad visa include the following:

  1. The visa is valid for one year. It is extendable for an additional year if the individual has remained in Costa Rica for at least 180 days of the first year.

  2. Family (e.g. a spouse, children) of the individual could also receive the digital nomad visa and take advantage of its extended-stay benefits.

  3. The individual will not be taxed in Costa Rica for income earned from their remote job. In addition, the individual can import to Costa Rica, tax-free, the equipment necessary for their job.

  4. The individual can drive in Costa Rica using their foreign license (as long as said license remains valid). They can also open a bank account in Costa Rica.

You can read the full text of the project (in Spanish) by clicking here.

Summary: Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa

The digital nomad visa gives Costa Rica a competitive advantage over similar nations that are eyeing a post-pandemic tourism rebound in the coming months and years. 

Travel demand is already growing, and thousands of people work jobs that will stay remote even once the pandemic ends. Costa Rica is now better positioned to take advantage. 

Once it clears the remaining legal hurdles, the visa will help attract more wealthy foreigners to Costa Rica. They will have the tranquility of up to two years of legal stay, and their spending will support a struggling economy.

On the surface, the law looks like a win-win.

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