Minimum Time in Country for Residency
Unfortunately, and as it happens, there is a lot of “fake news” regarding the minimum amount of time required to remain in Costa Rica to keep the residency. People generally ask “Am I required to be
Unfortunately, and as it happens, there is a lot of “fake news” regarding the minimum amount of time required to remain in Costa Rica to keep the residency.
People generally ask “Am I required to be in Costa Rica for at least four months?” I wish that other firms providing immigration services would dedicate a little bit more time to educate their clients, they should provide them with accurate information. Similarly, I wish those pseudo news outlets will have the decency to do some fact checking regarding the content they share.
So, let’s take a look at this.
When people ask about the minimum amount of time required to remain in the country once they are residents, people are actually wondering whether the Immigration Department will cancel their residency if they are gone for too long. We have previously shared a post regarding the grounds for losing the residency, you can read it by clicking here.
When it comes to the cancellation of residency, and in related to periods of absence, we need to refer to Section 214 of the Immigration Regulations. This section sets forth the minimum amount of time required to remain in the country to avoid losing the residency. Language of the section states that the Immigration Department will initiate cancellation proceedings for temporary residents who have been out of the country for more than two years, and for permanent residents for at least four years.
Therefore, if you are a temporary resident and you are out of the country for more than two years, the Immigration Department is entitled to cancel your residency. Capici?
As noted, you will lose your residency if you are out of the country for more than two years. However, when it comes to the minimum amount of time required to be in country, we should also consider the possibility to renew the residency when required.
When a temporary residency is obtained for the first time, it will be required to renew it after two years. If the person is out of the country for more than year prior to the renewal, it will be required to produce some additional paperwork to complete the renewal. Thus, we advise our clients to be in the country at least one day per year in order to avoid issues when doing the renewal. Being out of the country for more than one year does not mean that you cannot get your renewal, it just means additional work and additional costs for doing that work.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you happen to be out of the country between one and two years, you can still do the renewal, you will not lose your residency.
Cancellation of Residency
You know that nothing gets ever done in Costa Rica in a timely manner. So, what are the chances that the immigration department will cancel your residency? We have seen cases where people have been out of the country for more than two years and the immigration department has not initiated cancellation proceedings. In those cases it has been possible to complete the renewal of the residency.
We advise people to be compliant and to avoid issues when trying to renew, and thus we recommend to be in the country for at least one day per year. But at the end of the day, under section 214, you are required to be in the country at least one day in a two year period if you are temporary resident. The minimum requirement is one day in four years for permanent residents.
So, whoever tells you that you are required to be in the country for four months does not have the slightest idea of what they are talking about.
Donato J . Caputo January 13, 2018
I’ve been living here over 4 years and want my residency and I’ve read everything online and it just seems like a hassle. I’ve just been approved and am collecting SSD and I also own a car here in my name along with all bills from house. How much would it cost me for you to handle it for me? TYVM
rafavalverde February 9, 2018
Thank your message. The cost for residency for one person under the retirement category is $2,274 USD.
Ed Bowers March 4, 2018
“When a temporary residency is obtained for the first time, it will be required to renew it after two years.”
Not in the case of temporary residency by marriage. Renewal required after 1 year, can be renewed again for the third year and then one can change category to permanent resident.
rafavalverde March 9, 2018
You are correct. It is a good observation. The marriage category is renewed on a yearly basis.