CRC Daily: Costa Rica's visa for digital nomads

The latest on Costa Rica's economic reactivation efforts.

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Let’s get to this week’s questions:

What’s the status of Costa Rica’s bill to attract digital nomads?

Costa Rica is considering a law that would grant one-year visas for “digital nomads,” people whose occupation allows them to work from anywhere in the world. The visa would help attract young professionals to Costa Rica, where they would spend money and contribute to economic activity.

In its current form, the bill requires that the worker seeking this visa demonstrate an income of at least $5,000 per month and purchase medical insurance covering their planned stay in Costa Rica.

The visa would be granted for one year with the option to extend to 18 months. Foreign income would not be taxed by Costa Rica. The visa could also be extended to the worker’s immediate family.

In December, this bill received unanimous approval in a tourism subcommittee. It still has to pass two debates in the Legislative Assembly, the country’s 57-person Congress, before would become law.

While there’s optimism the bill will pass, there’s no date set for the Legislative Assembly debates, and changes may still be made to the bill. Don’t pack your laptop quite yet, but stay tuned for more news.

What about Costa Rica’s plans to attract retirees?

A bill seeks to lower the investment requirement to apply for Costa Rica residency from $200,000 to $150,000. In addition, people making a qualifying investment would be allowed to import household items and a vehicle without paying import taxes, among other benefits.

Similar to the bill for digital nomads, this project (file 22.156) has been approved by a subcommittee. It is advancing toward debates by the full Legislative Assembly body, where it may still undergo changes before (and if) it becomes law.

As with many things in Costa Rica, patience is key. Lawmakers are still on their holiday vacation, and projects almost always advance slowly.

What’s the latest on hemp farming in Costa Rica?

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: This project (21.388) was green-lit by an environmental sub-committee but must still be approved by the Legislative Assembly before it becomes law.

If passed, the law would allow the growth of cannabis and its derivatives “exclusively for medicinal and therapeutic use” and “authorize the production and marketing of hemp for industrial and food use.”

Expect to hear much more about this project as it works it way through the legal system — and don’t expect it to pass without significant changes. The Executive Branch has already said it would support legalizing hemp production but that it opposes medicinal marijuana.

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