Monday 4 December 2023

Costa Rica Permanent Residency Fees Explained

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2 December 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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(QCOSTARICA) Some firms processing residency aren’t quite accurate in their description or disclosure of fees for temporary residency in Costa Rica.

Outlier Legal Services, a company dedicated to assist the expat community in Costa Rica, has posted a note explaining the importance of people to know the amount of money they will need to spend in government fees, regardless of their filing the residency application on their own or using an attorney.

All the government fees, payable at the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), are split into two: at the beginning of the process when the residency application is field, and at the end of the process when residency is approved.

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When Filing

At the start of the process the government fee is US$251. The payment receipt (from the BCR) is required to be attached to the application. The immigration service will reject any application without the fee. Remember the fee is payable only at the BCR, not any other financial institution.

The fees are broken down as such:

  • Application fee US$50
  • Change of Status fee, US$200
  • Stamps, US$1. This is basically a tax for filing the paperwork. The word stamp is use since in the past an actual stamp (just like postage stamp) was to be purchased as proof of the tax paid and attached (licked to glue) to the document.

When Approved

When the application is approved, the applicant will be required to pay the government fee of US$423 (more or less) to complete the process. This is where some people get a shock, mainly because they may never been told or didn’t pay attention to the fee structure.

The goverment fee is broken down as:

  • US$300 for security deposit, that may be used to send a foreign national back home in should the foreigner be deported. This amount could vary, depending on the applicants country of origin. A flight to China or Europe is much more than to the U.S. or Colombia, for example. Since the fee is set in colones, the actual dollar amount may vary, based on the exchange rate at the time of the payment.
  • US$123, this is for the cost of the DIMEX, the ID card issued to foreign residents.

Therefore, applicants should budget US$673 for government fees to complete their residency application.

The above fees are only application to the immigration process, and does not incude fees for the CCSS  – the “Caja” or social security – application; nor legal fees if using a lawyer.

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Other fees to consider are costs of official translation of documents and the cost for obtaining of document such as birth certificates  and background checks  )police record or Antecedentes Penales in Spanish) from the home country.

More reading:


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