Costa Rica recently passed a law to grant visas to digital nomads. The visa allows foreign nationals and their families to live and work there for at least a year, all while enjoying the country's easy-going 'Pura Vida' lifestyle and a wide range of benefits.
Several countries have introduced special visas for remote workers since the pandemic as more people have the opportunity to become international digital nomads. Georgia, Estonia and Aruba recently introduced such visas, and now Costa Rica is getting in on the trend by granting visas to international visitors who wish to do their current jobs from the Central American country. It makes it easier for them to stay there for a year—with the option to extend it to two years.
It's hoped that the new visa will prop up the tourism industry and boost related sectors. Contributions from digital nomads is expected to inject USD $24,100 (15 million colones) per year into the local economy, the tourism board predicts—which the government hopes will provide more jobs for Costa Ricans.
"The digital nomad utilizes services, consumes food, makes purchases, utilizes transportation, and hires people—all of this generates more employment and growth in the country,” Costa Rica's president Carlos Alvarado said in a statement.
The law was signed on August 11, and while some details have still to be confirmed, it's likely that people will be able to apply for the digital nomad visa within a matter of weeks.
Currently, digital nomads enter Costa Rica as tourists and must therefore leave the country within 90 days but this new visa will allow the holder and their families to stay in Costa Rica for up to one year, with the option to extend it for an additional year. Under the digital nomad visa, the holder is exempt from paying local income taxes, and is permitted to open a bank account in Costa Rica. They will also be permitted to drive using their own country's driving license.
How do I apply for Costa Rica's digital nomad visa?
You must present proof of an income greater than US$3000 per month to apply; or if you're traveling with your spouse or family, that income can be combined to US$5000 per month.
You'll need to obtain a medical insurance policy that covers you throughout your stay in Costa Rica, and you'll also need to make a one-time payment for the visa to be issued; though that amount has yet to be determined.
Applications have yet to open and more details on the digital nomad visa are expected to be announced soon. We'll update this article when we have more information.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica has been welcoming tourists without quarantine or testing, but there are still some additional requirements in place. Arrivals must complete an online Health Pass before they board their flight, and local restrictions apply in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates. Travelers are advised to stay up-to-date on public health guidelines before traveling to Costa Rica.
Source: Lonely Planet