Tuesday 7 February 2023

Costa Rica continues to close the doors to the formal arrival of digital nomads

Almost eight months have passed to regulate the activity in the country

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7 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The stay of a remote worker and their family for a period of six months would generate income for Costa Rica around ¢15 million colones (US$22,000), according to the initial estimates of the proposal that allowed the approval of the Ley de Nómadas Digitales (Digital Nomads Law).

However, after almost eight months of waiting for a regulation for the arrival of foreigners who wish to settle in Costa Rica to work remotely, the country continues to lose out for the recovery of a sector that is barely beginning to rise from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Despite the fact that a first draft proposal for this regulation has already been presented, various sectors claimed that the text went against what the approved legislation proposed and that it would not work to compete with other destinations that also struggle to attract digital nomads.

The National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), the Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives (Cinde), the Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (Camtic) and several legislators have pressed for that a regulation be presented that reduces the number of procedures for foreigners to establish themselves in the country.

The current Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez, described it as inconceivable that at this point the regulation has not been prepared.

“We feel that the regulation, instead of facilitating or creating more interest for these people to come to Costa Rica, what it is doing is discouraging it,” Rodríguez said in an interview La Republica.

The last “cry to heaven” was given by the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) legislators, Paulina Ramírez and Carolina Delgado, who called the government of Rodrigo Chaves to account for the delay.

“We also want to know if the concerns of the various sectors have been addressed, especially the National Chamber of Tourism regarding this regulation and how the concerns would have been remedied,” said Ramírez.

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The liberationist sent a letter to the Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz, to express her discomfort at the delay in the regulation, which prevents the economic reactivation of the tourism sector and the activities that revolve around this union.

For her part, Carolina Delgado, questioned the excessive number of requirements that would rather scare away digital nomads, as other sectors have already pointed out.

“We are still waiting for different government institutions to reach an agreement in order to have a viable regulation to be able to implement this law that would bring great development to Costa Rica,” said Delgado.

The last update of this legislation was carried out by the previous legislators, who approved that digital nomads who want to work in Costa Rica do not have to apply for a full year, but can do so for a shorter period.

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In addition, an article was included so that the procedures carried out by these long-stay tourists are more agile and avoid bureaucratic processes that make it difficult for remote workers to choose Costa Rica.

  • The Digital Nomads project was approved in second and final debate by legislators on July 13, 2021
  • The bill was signed into law by former President Carlos Alvarado on August 11, 2021
  • The law was published in the official newsletter La Gaceta on September 1, 2021
  • The regulations should have been  ready at the beginning of November 2021
  • A draft of the regulation was not presented until March 2022
  • The draft was criticized by various sectors for its excessive red tape


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