"It's easy if you have no criminal record, have a 'guaranteed for life' pension of at least $1000 (in US dollars) a month. It will cost you approx. $2500 for your application using a lawyer. and it will take approx. 12 - 15 months. You will not be covered by the socialized medical system until then. In my opinion, $1000 is no longer enough to comfortably live on here', but LOCATION is key. I live in an area where there are hardly any other expats, only ever have lunch out if we are 'out of our town' doing business elsewhere, nor do I live near the beach and there is no way we could live on $1000 a month. If you own your home, don't maintain a car and seldom eat out, possibly you could," wrote one expat.
"Takes some knowledge that you get by reading a lot and then talking to lawyer to make sure current. Pull up ARCR (Association Residents of Costa Rica). Have list of what you need to do. It's kind of a hassle and takes some clear thinking to do in right order. They are not interested in original documents. You have to order on line certified copies of your marriage certificate and birth certificate. Then send them to have them 'apostiled'. You have to have local police record of good conduct. All has to be less than 6 months old and can't remember police record less than that. Fingerprints after papers are in the hat or when your lawyer says to. Not fun to do. But I did and I am no Einstein and I did it correctly for me and my husband. We received our 'Expediente' in 3 weeks, and our cedulas in nine months. Everyone has a different experience. Depending on your lawyer, how detail oriented you are, and patience. Some people bug the lawyer every week, and I personally believe that works against them. I didn't call once, and ours were approved in 8-1/2 months," added another expat.