The law allows the creation of a new visa category for foreign workers.
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Published on Thursday, July 15, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Congress approved in the second and final round of votes the bill No.22,215, known as the Law to Attract International Digital Nomads, which grants a series of benefits to foreign virtual workers.
According to Congress, the new law, which was promoted by deputy Carlos Ricardo Benavides, will create conditions to motivate digital nomads to live in Costa Rica.
“The (law’s) goal is that for many months (digital nomads) live in hotels, villas or apartments, visit national parks, visit restaurants, make purchases in supermarkets and stores, travel around the country and spend their money in shops or hiring professional services in our communities,” Benavides said.
The law allows the creation of a new visa category for foreign workers, which allows them to stay in the country for one year, with the option of extending an additional year if they want. Currently, tourist visas only allow foreigners to stay in the country for 90 days.
Another benefit is the tax exemption on the importation of technology or equipment necessary for doing their work, such as computers, cameras, among others.
Foreigners with this visa will also be exempt from income taxes on the earnings generated by the work carried out in Costa Rica.
The visa also allows them to obtain a medical insurance policy that covers them throughout the period they are in the country. This benefit applies without the need to have a resident ID known as DIMEX.
Another benefit of this visa is allowing foreigners to open their bank accounts at local banks.
In addition, international digital nomads will be able to drive using their driver's license from their countries of origin without having to go through the homologation process.
To receive these benefits, the international remote worker who wishes to apply for the digital nomad visa must prove an income of at least $3,000 per month.
If they prove a monthly income of at least $5,000, they may provide their family with a visa to live in Costa Rica.
According to specialists, it is estimated that by building a large community of digital nomads in Costa Rica, they could produce at least $600 million a year into the country's economy.
It is important to take into account that the benefits of the new law will end when the international worker requests to cancel that type of visa. The visa could also be canceled by order of the General Directorate of Immigration in case the beneficiary has committed illegal activity in Costa Rica.
After being approved by Congress, the bill will be signed by President Carlos Alvarado. With this requirement fulfilled, the bill becomes law and will be published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta. It is estimated that the publication could be effective in less than a month.
Recently, Costa Rica was recognized among the top destinations to live and work abroad in 2021. This is based on the quality of life, ease to settle in, and cost of living, according to the surveys published in the two business magazines, Forbes and Bloomberg.
How will this new law impact expat communities in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to email@example.com