Costa Rica Just Approved a Two-Year Visa for Digital Nomads

Remote workers could previously stay up to 90 days

Arenal Volcano
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Joining countries like Croatia and Barbados, Costa Rica is the latest country to introduce new visa laws designed to welcome remote workers looking for a long-term change of scenery. Under a normal tourist visa, foreign nationals who want to live and work remotely from abroad can only stay in Costa Rica for 90 days. With the passing of this new law, digital nomads can now stay for up to two years.

Costa Rica’s beauty and tropical weather have always made it an attractive destination for ex-pats, who make up 2.5 percent of its population. Now, Costa Rica is hoping that the remote workers this new law will attract can help stimulate the tourism industry while recovering from the pandemic.

The new law, known officially as the “law to attract remote service providers of an international nature,” will allow foreign remote workers to live in Costa Rica for one year, with the option to extend to two years. Under this law, there is no need to renew your visa, and holders are exempt from income tax. To apply, you must be able to show proof of health insurance and a stable income of at least $3,000 per month—or $5,000 if you plan to travel with family members.

In a press release, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado stated, “The law gives hope for the tourism sector, for the economic reactivation of our sector and with it the country in general.” Digital nomads, who spend money on day-to-day services in addition to tourism activities, are expected to contribute to the recovery of the tourist sector.

The law will also allow foreign nationals to open a bank account and drive using a driver's license from their home country. The law was officially signed on Aug. 11, 2021, and more details are still to come regarding the application process, fees, and other specifics.

Costa Rica is already a popular destination for digital nomads, but the new law is a great opportunity for remote workers who want to stay in Costa Rica for a longer period of time. However, compared to similar visas introduced in other countries, the minimum income requirement is high. In Portugal, you only need to prove that you earn at least 665 Euros per month, while Croatia and Barbados require a monthly income of approximately $2,000.

The cost of living in Costa Rica may also be higher than you think, particularly if you hope to relocate to an ex-pat hub like Tamarindo or Santa Teresa. According to Nomad List, a review website that rates cities on their livability, living expenses in these cities often exceed $2,000 per month. Still, the new visa rules offer plenty of benefits for remote workers looking for a more “pura vida” lifestyle, without the stress of an expiring tourist visa.