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Pensionado visa - Costa Rica

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Bexx7799
3/7/2015 10:59 EST

Hi there - I'm planning to spend time in Costa Rica over the next few years. My understanding - given that I am retired - is that applying for a pensionado visa may be the best approach.

I'm getting conflicting information from the various websites I'm researching so wanted to check out a few things.

1. I gather I can't work for another company while I am there but I can work for myself. Is that correct?

2. I start the visa application process in my country of origin (Canada) and then complete the process when I am in Costa RIca? What documentation do I have at to show at the border so they know I am in process of applying? A letter from my lawyer? Is it possible to complete the entire process prior to arriving in Costa Rica? (the fingerprints may be tricky to get - never needed them!! :))

3. I've read the document requirements for the visa application. I gather the process takes quite some time - about how long - 4 months? 9 months? over a year?

4. I'm not planning on purchasing I just want to rent for a few years so I can move around easily (will probably never purchase). I keep hearing that I can rent a suitable apt for around 2 - 300$ but can't seem to locate anything at that price online. Is that best done when I get there? Are there any sites that aren't just vacation rentals etc?

I'm sure I will have more questions but this is where I'm starting - thx for any help folks can offer

Kohl
3/7/2015 11:55 EST

Suggest you read the info on http://www.costaricalaw.com/Immigration-and-Residency/residency-general-information-and-summary.html
You can work 'online' or open your own business but not perform 'physical work'.
http://www.costaricalaw.com/Working-in-Costa-Rica/
You must now apply in Costa Rica. and the Residency process is taking, more or less one full year from your initial application at a cost of approx US$2000
You will only have a tourist visa until in possession of a 'comprobante' that essentially says that your application is 'being considered', but that won't help you at the border crossings and if you want to keep driving you need to exit to renew your drivers license.
I don't think you will find a decent furnished place to live $200-300 anymore. More like $600 US dollars depending on location, unless accepting VERY basic facilities, in a very rural area.
I think you are reading old information or at least outdated.

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nellis304
3/7/2015 12:03 EST

"Pensionado" is a temporary residency status. ARCR.net provides details about the types of residency and their requirements. I would suggest finding a place when you get to CR, unless you have a friend there who knows what you want and can look at places. Stay in a hotel or guesthouse for a few weeks while you search. Realtors seem to jack up the prices and I'm not sure I trust craigslist. Good luck!

shermanwc
3/7/2015 12:38 EST

You shouldn't need to show any of the documents related to your residency application when entering Costa Rica. You need your passport and proof of travel out of CR within 90 days.

You can only do the fingerprints in San Jose, CR and that is now typically done near the end of the residency process. Are you planning on using a lawyer to assist with your residency application? If not, you will need to do a lot of research and need to speak some Spanish. You can bring your apostilled documents when to come to CR, to start the process.

Our residency process took 8 months (2013-2014), some take longer, a few less. You should get a "comprobante" within a few weeks after you apply. Then you only need to leave the country every 90 days if you plan to drive using your foreign driver's license.

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