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Expats with residence status allows them to live in Costa Rica without having to leave the country every 90 days or request a new tourist visa
that could be rejected by authorities.  - Photo for illustration purposes only -







Published Wednesday, July 7, 2021


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The new Law 9996, created to attract foreign investors, rentiers and pensioners came into effect after being signed by President Carlos Alvarado.

The law modifies the previous conditions established since 2009 in Law 8764 for Immigration and Foreigners. The changes offer more advantages to foreigners who wish to obtain residency under the categories of Investors, Rentiers or Pensioners. The updated law allows for less demanding requirements to reactivate the post-pandemic economy.

Expats with residence status allows them to live in Costa Rica without having to leave the country every 90 days or request a new tourist visa that could be rejected by authorities.

In the Retiree category (Pensionado), people applying for residency must be receiving a monthly pension of more than $1,000. That lifetime pension must be issued by an authorized authority.

The pensionado must visit Costa Rica at least once a year. They can claim a spouse and any dependents under the age of 25. But, they cannot work in the country as an employee, nor can they own a company and receive returns or profit.

Rentiers (Rentista) must have by a period of no less than two years of a stable and permanent monthly rental income of at least $2,500 received from abroad. The person must visit Costa Rica at least once a year. The person can claim a spouse and any dependents under the age of 25. But, they cannot work as an employee, nor can they own a company and receive payouts or profits.

To be qualified as an Investor (Inversionista) type resident, one must have a minimum investment of $150,000 in a property or a company. The investor must visit Costa Rica at least once a year. They can claim a spouse and any dependents under the age of 25. An investor is allowed to work in their company in the country as an employee or owner, meaning they can receive dividends from the company.

In addition, the law allows other series of advantages such as:

* Duty-free and all import taxes for a single time, for the importation of household items.

* Tax exemption to import (up to two land, air and/or sea shipping) vehicles, for personal or family use. In case of loss of the vehicle due to theft, destruction by fire, flood, collision or accident during the term of the benefits, the person can import another vehicle tax free.

* Exempt from income tax the money declared as income to become a creditor to the benefits of this law.

* Exoneration of 20% of tax of properties that are purchased to obtain the residency.

* Exemption of import taxes on equipment or materials to be used in their companies. This applies in the case of an investor resident.

To enjoy these advantages, foreigners have a period of five years to apply for residence in any of the previous categories. And they will have an additional period of 10 years to continue receiving these advantages from the beginning of the residence application.

According to the authorities, the advantages approved to attract investors mean a reduction of 25% of the investment that people had made before. The residency category also applies to a person's spouse or dependents.

In the last 10 years, the country's income produced by foreign investors represents approximately 7.8% of GDP. During the pandemic, this investment has been reduced to 3.5%, according to the authorities.

"What this law achieves is to create the conditions for retiree people to come to the country, bring their investments and we can generate employment," President Alvarado said. "It is one more step in the direction of recovery."


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What have you heard of an expat interested in applying for residency in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com



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