Minimum In Country Time Required to Keep Your Residency in Costa Rica
As 2019 began, we started to receive a lot of inquiries regarding the minimum amount of time required to remain in Costa Rica to keep residency.
Whilst this matter had been addressed in a blog early last year, we wanted to emphasise that many information available in blogs, firm´s webpages, discussion boards, etc. is and continues to be, unfortunately, incorrect.
Our law is very straight forward when it comes to this:
Foreign nationals with temporary residence who are absent from the country for a period of more than two consecutive years will lose their status, unless the causes of exception are duly proven for reasons of health, study, family or other. We would, evidently, recommend that a temporary resident visits Costa Rica for at least 1 day within those 2 years to avoid suspension or cancellation of Residency and the inconveniences this may create.
Permanent residents who are absent from the country for a period of more than four consecutive years will lose their status, unless the causes of exception are duly proven for reasons of health, study, family or other. Again, it is advisable to avoid this and visit the country at least once a year.
Nowhere in the current law does it state that Pensionados need to be in Costa Rica for four months a year nor that Investors need to be in-country for six months to retain their immigration status, so and so forth. These are rules that were featured on previous laws and regulations. Regrettably, many firms have not updated their data and continue to misinform and, frankly, scare expats looking to move, invest and live in Costa Rica.
Therefore, worry not! Per todays law, you will retain your residency status as long as you follow the instructions mentioned above. Keep in mind that if you are out of the country for more than a year, when it comes time to renew, you may be asked to file additional documents such as a new apostilled/legalized background check. Consequently, follow the rules and avoid the nuisances of additional paperwork or unwelcomed hindrances in your residency process.