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What’s Going on With Costa Rica’s Law to Attract Foreign Investors, ‘Rentistas’, and Pensioners?

More than seven months have passed since the legislation was published and the government still hasn't released the ruling needed to implement it

Retired couple on a beach in Costa Rica

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado signed on July 5, 2021, the Law to Attact Foreign Investors, Rentistas, and Pensioners (Law No. 9.996). Effusively, Alvarado announced that this legislation would bring benefits to those foreigners who have been granted a migratory residency category.

After its publication in the official gazette on July 14, 2021, a 60-day period was established within the same law for the government to carry out the necessary regulation’s ruling to be able to oversee said law and thus provide clarity regarding its scope and restrictions.

A whopping total of 260 days have passed and no regulation’s ruling has been made, nor have there been any official communications regarding its implementation. This denotes a total lack of interest from the Executive branch of government in carrying out its own functions inherent to its competence.

This is also incompatible with the President’s speech about giving benefits to foreign investors, and it’s even contrary with the spirit of the law, whose purpose is —as its name implies— to attract foreigners to help with the economic recovery of the country after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From an objective point of view, what is the true ambition of the government? Is it interested in making the tax exemption for these residents? Does it want to reactivate the country’s economy? Or was this law just a simple political move on the road to the 2022 Costa Rican election?

We ask these questions due to the little interest and communication shown by the government after passing this law.

On the other hand, it’s interesting that the administration has done very little to carry out this regulation, while at the same time it has created and implemented another regulation which raises the social security rates for these very same foreigners, as we have been informing during the last few days.

Looking at it from a pessimistic —and to a certain extent realistic— point of view, we can infer that the regulation to attract investors will not be completed in the Carlos Alvarado administration and, as we say in Costa Rica, they will pass the “hot potato” to the next government, which would highlight the negative side of our “pura vida” culture.

The famous quote that says that we should “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” should be used whenever the government is involved. At Outlier Legal, we have the conviction to fight for what is right, for our community, and we will continue to do so.

Expect more updates on this ruling and that of the digital nomads visa (another one that’s pending), among others, during the next weeks.




He serves as the Lead Immigration Manager at Outlier Legal. Alfredo Abrego has a Law degree. Most of his work experience is in customer service, and for the past year and a half he has been dedicated to immigration manners in our firm. Responsable and honest, are some adjectives that fit him perfectly.

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  • Giani Natio April 5, 2022

    Great. Go fight for it. Go do some investigative journalism, hunt down the people who are supposed to do this, conduct interviews, and publish the results of those interviews for all to see. It’s a primary reason for a free media in other countries like the US to hold the government accountable by subjecting it to the court of public opinion. Who is doing that in Costa Rica?

    My sense, this is another one of the negatives of the Pura Vida culture – Costa Ricans being too unwilling to hold other Costa Ricans accountable.