As a US citizen, you don’t need a visa to travel to Costa Rica. A valid passport and answering a few questions upon arrival is everything you need.
You can stay in the country for up to 90 days. At the end of this period, you need to live in Costa Rica or apply for residency.
In some cases, it might also be worth checking your residency requirements if you decide to stay for a few months or a few years as you’ll need cash in your bank account to apply.
US citizens travel to Costa Rica without a visa
If you hold US citizenship, you can freely travel to Costa Rica. If you fly from the US, you will be questioned at your destination airport.
It’s best to have a return ticket or proof of payment for a return ticket to show the local authorities you are going to come back or move to another country within 90 days.
If you want to live in Costa Rica, you need to apply for residency through a lawyer.
Visas for Costa Rica retirement
If you want to retire in Costa Rica, there are 2 main visas you can apply for. Both of these require you to show proof that you have some type of monthly income to sustain yourself so that you don’t require help from the social services in the country.
- Pensionado visa
The Pensionado program is the best for retiring in Costa Rica. It only requires you to prove you have at least $1.000 per month to live on. This money can come from retirement funds, 401K, and other similar private funds.
This visa is made for retiring and not for working. You won’t be able to get a job on it. However, you will be able to open up your own company on this visa if you decide sitting on a beach all day long is not your ideal plan for retirement.
- Rentista program
The Rentista visa program is another option if you don’t have a state pension. You need proof that you have at least $65.000 in your bank account before moving to Costa Rica under this program.
You might also start your own business for some side income on this program. Both are made for retirees but they have different paths depending on where your pension or self-funds come from.
Your Costa Rica visa can be ready within a few months. You apply for the visa through an embassy or consulate, whichever is closest to you in the US before departing for Costa Rica.
You can’t apply for a visa from Costa Rica if you’ve already been in the country for more than 90 days. Much of this process can be simplified when working with an immigration bureau or with a specialist lawyer.
As long as you can prove you have sufficient monthly income to retire in Costa Rica, the visa is not much of an issue rather than a step-by-step application.