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CrCosta Rica Visas
& Permits.






Country Capital

San José


Costa Rican colón (CRC)

Companies preparing to expand to Costa Rica need to make sure all of their employees have the necessary visas and permits to live and work in this coastal nation. Adhering to country-specific rules and regulations is key to mitigating risk and ensuring compliance. For example, there are strict guidelines in place in Costa Rica to ensure that international workers are not taking job opportunities that could otherwise be filled by citizens of Costa Rica and permanent residents. Here are some important steps to building a global team of workers in Costa Rica.

Types of work visas in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, a work permit is a specific type of immigration permit that falls under what is called the “Special Category.” This category includes the following visa types:

  • Temporary Worker
  • Worker of Specific Occupation to Work with Natural Person (domestic employee)
  • Worker of Specific Occupation to Work with a Legal Entity
  • Transfer Personnel
  • Self-Employed Specific Occupation Worker with Duly Constituted Business
  • Artist, Athlete and Member of Public Shows, Professional and Guest Technicians
  • Cross-Border Worker

If employees fall under any of these categories, they may be able to obtain work permits. Only citizens and permanent residence of Costa Rica would not require a separate work permit, as their permits give them the right to work freely for any employer in the country.

Requirements to obtain Costa Rica work visas

To apply for a permit to work in Costa Rica, international employees will need to submit several documents, including the following:

  • A signed, duly completed application form
  • A birth certificate
  • 2 passport photos
  • Copies of each page of the applicant’s passport, including blank pages
  • Certification of the legal status of the company or institution with an issue date no later than 1 month after the submission of the application for temporary residence for the worker.
  • Proof of insurance in the form of a statement from the applicant’s insurance company
  • A receipt of consular inscription
  • A receipt of fingerprint registration issued to the applicant by the Ministry of Public Security
  • A certificate of police clearance from the applicant’s country of origin or residence, along with a copy of a document proving their legal residence in that country
  • Proof that the applicant has sufficient financial means and income
  • Certification of the Costa Rican Social Security Institution for the employing company
  • A receipt for the payment of each page submitted with the application

Application process

Before a prospective employee can begin the application process for a work permit, the employer will need to prove that the position could not be filled by any job-seeking nationals of Costa Rican.

Once this has been established, the employee should apply for a provisional visa. This visa is required to enter Costa Rica. Nationals from certain countries do not need a visa to enter, but they still need to register with the Costa Rica Consulate in their country.

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the employee must apply for a work permit. Before applying, they must also register their fingerprints with the Ministry of Public Security, Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Costa Rica’s work permits are issued by the General Immigration Department, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería — this is where the employee will submit their application. The department will review the application according to the regulations set forth by the Costa Rican Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

It can take 3 to 8 months for a Costa Rica work permit to be processed, and in some cases, it may take even longer. Employees should begin the application process well in advance of their intended start date.

Other important considerations

Employees should be sure to gather all of the necessary documents for their application before arriving in Costa Rica. It’s important to note that these documents will need to be translated into Spanish and notarized.

Discover how G-P can help you manage your global teams.

At G-P, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to global business, enabling opportunity for everyone, everywhere, and helping companies tap into the fullest potential of their workforce. We help you maintain full compliance with local laws and ensure everything from hiring and onboarding to paying employees is quick and easy, regardless of where they are in the world.

Find out more about how our Global Growth Platform™ can help you grow your team across the globe.


THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. You should always consult with and rely on your own legal and/or tax advisor(s). G-P does not provide legal or tax advice. The information is general and not tailored to a specific company or workforce and does not reflect G-P’s product delivery in any given jurisdiction. G-P makes no representations or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information and shall have no liability arising out of or in connection with it, including any loss caused by use of, or reliance on, the information.

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