Required Costa Rica Residency Documents

The first three documents are required for all types of residency in Costa Rica. (Valid 6 months from issued date)

1. Police Certificate of Good Conduct from your last place of residency. Valid for 6 months. Required for applicant, spouse, and any children aged 15 to 25.

2. Birth Certificate. Required for applicant, spouse, and all dependent children (up to 18 years old or up to 25 if a university student – proof of enrollment is required).

3. Marriage Certificate (if spouse wishes residency). Proof of divorce is not needed.

4. Income Certificate for Pensionado and Rentista Residency (required for only the applicant, valid 6 months).

Pensionados -proof of a pension of at least US$1000/month stating that it is for life, and that it will be paid in Costa Rica.

For pensions from the U.S. Social Security or Canada Pension, it is easier to obtain the certification at the U.S. or Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica. (You must provide them with proof of your pension.)

Pensions from other government agencies (all countries) must have a letter stating that the pension is paid by the government.

Pensions from other institutions must have a statement verifying the type of institution paying the pension.

Rentista Residency – contact the ARCR for wording of documents.

All The Above Residency Documents (other than those obtained in Costa Rica) MUST BE:

a) Notarized by a local notary public if they do not have an official government seal. If in doubt about the need to have it notarized, check with ARCR or the local Costa Rican consulate.

b) In the USA (and most countries) they must then pass through the Secretary of State (or other body) to be Apostilled.

c) If Apostilles are not available in your country, they must be Consularized (authenticated) by the Costa Rican consulate in the country where the document was issued.

Notarization: Your signature must NOT appear in the notarization of the document.

Apostilles: Cost varies from country to country, as does the authority who issues them. Conta the ARCR for specifics.

Authentication: A Costa Rican consulate will charge US$40 for authentication of each document. They must affix stamps worth that amount to collect the money. If they do not have the stamps, the ARCR can buy them in Costa Rica on your behalf. There is now a $250 application fee in Costa Rica.

Other requirements for both

Pensionado and Rentista Residency

1) Income must be proven to continue at each renewal.


US$12,000 per year
US$30,000 per year

2) Physical presence in Costa Rica for a minimum of 4 months each year

3) Renewal of residency identification card (carnet) every two years. The government of Costa Rica charges a US$100+ tax for each renewed identification card.

4) You and your dependents cannot earn a salary or supplant a Costa Rican in a work situation. You can own and operate a business and pay yourself, and/or make investments.

All pensionados and rentistas must submit proof of 1 and 2 above to the Costa Rican government each year. The ARCR assists members with all the above procedures.

Inversionista Residency Status

1). Invest at least US$200,000 in an operating business or another amount in a government approved sector. $200,000 in ownership or property &/or vehicles, stocks, etc.

2). Visit Costa Rica at least six months per year.

Translations of Documents for Residency

Translations from other languages to Spanish have to be done either by the Costa Rican consulate (no one else) in the country where the document was issued or here in Costa Rica by an “official” translator for the specific language to Spanish. Here we can arrange for the services of a translator at the cost of the member. Translation from the original language to English is not accepted by the Costa Rica government.