DIGITAL NOMAD VISA APPROVED IN FIRST DEBATE AND LAW TO ATTRACT INVESTORS, RENTISTAS, AND RETIREES APPROVED IN SECOND DEBATE
Good news for foreigners looking to reside in Costa Rica: The two Laws that we have been waiting for are about to be passed!
DIGITAL NOMAD VISA:
On June 28th, 2021, the Costa Rican Assembly approved in firstdebate the bill of law N. 22.215 in advantage of Digital Nomads (“Law to attract remote workers and providers of international remote services”). The Bill is expected to be discussed in Second Debate in the next weeks for final approval and publication once signed by the President. The Regulation of Immigration Authorities for the pending details shall be published within two months from the passing of the Law.
LAW TO ATTRACT INVESTORS, RENTISTAS, AND RETIREES
This bill has been already approved in second debate on June 22nd, 2021 and is waiting for the signature of the President and consequent publication on the Gaceta. As established for the Digital Nomad Visa, the regulation of Immigration Authorities for the pending details shall be published within two months from the passing of the Law.
Here some information on each bill, starting from the digital nomad visa:
DIGITAL NOMAD VISA: REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS
A new migratory category: The Bill of Law creates the new category of Estancia Visa as Remote Worker or Provider of Remote Services.
Who will be eligible under the new category: A foreign person who provides remunerated services remotely, subordinate or not, using computer, telecommunications or similar means, in favor of a foreign natural or legal person (located abroad), for which he/she receives a payment or remuneration from abroad (“Digital Nomad”.)
Family members: The new category can also be requested for spouses or common-law partners, children under the age of twenty-five or who have a disability, as well as older adults who live with the Digital Nomad.
Threshold / Required Income: To be eligible as Digital Nomad, the person shall provide proof that he/she has been receiving, since the last year, a stable monthly salary, fixed income, or an average monthly income, for an amount equal to or greater than three thousand dollars (US$3,000) legal currency of the United States of America or its equivalent. If the applicant chooses to request the benefits also for his/her family group, the aforementioned amount of income to be demonstrated may be validly integrated with the income of the spouse or any of the other members, and must in that case reach the threshold per month of four thousand dollars (US$4,000) legal currency of the United States of America. In either case, it must be income that can continue to be received even if the person is not in their country of origin.
How to prove the required income: The income may demonstrated by filing bank statements or through other means of proof yet to be indicated in the regulationto be issued by Immigration Authorities once the law passes.
Private Insurance Coverage: One of the requirements will be obtaining a private insurance for medical services that covers the applicant for the entire duration of his/her stay in the country. Likewise, all members of the family group must be covered if they choose to request their inclusion as beneficiaries.
No CAJA obligations: The Bill does not foresee any obligation for the Digital Nomad and his/her family to register before the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (the so called “Caja”) and pay the social charges or contributions related to any Costa Rican social security scheme.
Digital Platform and Fast Resolution Process before Immigration Authorities: Immigration Authorities shall implement a digital platform for Digital Nomad Visa Application and will have 15 calendar days to review the case and notify the final resolution. Within five (5) days from the application, they shall verify the requirements and, shall clarifications or additional documents be necessary, request them giving the applicant eight (8) days to complete the case file. This preliminary resolution will suspend the final resolution term, which will continue to run after the above-mentioned eight days term expires.
Tax Benefits: Total exemption on income tax and tax on remittances abroad; Exemption from the payment of taxes on the import of equipment, instruments, tools or computer, telecommunications or similar means, necessary to carry out the tasks or the provision of the services of the Digital Nomad.
Driving privileges: The foreign driver’s license of the beneficiary will be valid for the purposes of driving in Costa Rica for the entire length of the condition.
Bank Account Opening: The beneficiaries may open savings accounts in the banks of the Costa Rican banking system.
Length: The immigration benefit will be granted for one year, extendable for a period of one additional year. All the above-mentioned benefits and privileges shall have the same length.
180 days of minimum stay in Costa Rica to renew the condition: People with the status of beneficiaries under this category may renew it for an additional year upon the condition of having stayed in Costa Rica for at least 180 days during the first year.
LAW TO ATTRACT INVESTORS, RENTISTAS AND PENSIONADOS: MAIN ASPECTS
Application: The Bill applies to those foreigners who are granted a temporary residency as Investors, Rentistas, or Retirees (hereinafter, the “Beneficiary” or “Beneficiaries”).
Duty-Free Import Benefits:
Household items: The Beneficiary will benefit from an exemption from the payment of any import taxes with regards to the import of household items. This applies only for the first import, after which the Beneficiary will be required to pay the import tax for any posterior import.
Vehicles: Beneficiaries will be able to import up to two vehicles for their personal/family use under a Duty-Free Import regime.
Income Tax Exemption: The amounts declared as incomes to qualify for the benefits of this law will be exempt from income tax. However, the income obtained in the national territory, resulting from the investments made in the country, will be taxed by Income Tax.
Transfer Tax Exemption: Shall the Beneficiary buy a property at his/her own name, he/she will benefit from an exemption of 20% of the total transfer tax applicable to the purchase.
Instruments and material for professional use: these will be excepted from taxes, as long as it is demonstrated before the Tax Administration (“Ministerio de Hacienda”) that the digital nomad needs these instruments/ materials for professional use.
No minimum stay in Costa Rica: Beneficiaries will not be obligated to remain in the country for a minimum amount of time to maintain the condition.
Lowered threshold for Investors: The Bill lowers the threshold required to be eligible as Investor to US$150,000. oo(from US$200,000.oo).
Dedicated Platform before Immigration Authorities: Immigration Authorities shall create a special Platform fully dedicated to Investors, Rentistas and Retirees to expedite the resolution time of residency applications under said categories.
Term: The benefits established under the Bill may only be requested within the first five years after the new Law will be published and, once granted, will be valid only for ten years.
We invite you to watch the Podcast hosted by Richard Bexon, of Costa Rica Real Estate Investment, where our Partner Cristina Guerrini talks about the most recent updates in Immigration Matters in Costa Rica (NOTE the podcast was recorded before the approval in first debate of the Digital Nomad Visa):