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Costa Rica offers Immigration programs for retirement, investment and business enterprise purposes.

The Rentista (Retirement) and Pensionado (Pension) Program

1. Pensionado. The Pensionado (Retiree) applicant must demonstrate a permanent fixed income from a pension or similar retirement income of at least US$600 per month. The typical applicant in this category has a government, private sector pension or social security retirement benefits.

2. Rentista. The Rentista applicant must demonstrate a permanent fixed income of at least US$1,000 per month. Generally, those who seek the Rentista category do not have a pension source and instead have investment income. To apply for this category it is necessary to provide proof of the investment and it will generate the US$1,000 per month required under this program. As such the applicant must provide a letter from the bank or financial institution where the investment funds are deposited certifying the existence of that income. It is not required that the funds be held in Costa Rica. The letter can be issued by international banks (note the bank must be registered in Polk's directory) as well as Costa Rican banks. The ideal letter issued by the financial institution should state the following: (a) That the recipient will receive at least US$1,000 per month in Costa Rica (b) That the investment generates US$1,000 per month in a stable, permanent and irrevocable manner for at least five years. (c) That the financial institution issuing the letter will notify the Costa Rican Tourism Insitute (I.C.T.) if the condition changes.

In both cases, Pensionado and Rentista the beneficiaries must comply with the following:

* Prove on an annual basis that the required funds were deposited in Costa Rica and exchanged into local currency.

* Must reside a minimum of 4 months in the country.

The Investor Program

Resident Investor Status. Individuals who invest at least US$50,000 in project which has been approved by the Center For the Promotion of Exports (PROCOMER) as a priority investment area may apply for resident investor status. If the investment is in a non priority investment area then the investment required is US$200,000.

This category really involves two different steps. The first is to qualify the investment by PROCOMER to determine if it falls within the priority area. Once this initial process has been completed and the certification issued then you can begin the application process which is done directly before the Department of Immigration.

The Business Enterprise Program

Individuals who can demonstrate to the Department of Immigration that the business enterprise which they will establish in Costa Rica will contribute to the employment of Costa Rican citizens and contribute to the local economy may at the discretion of Immigration obtain a temporary residency permit. This generally requires as a minimum that the applicant have a Costa Rican corporation which is declared as active before the Costa Rican tax department; Employees who are registered with the Costa Rican Social Security Administration by the Employer and the corresponding worker's compensation insurance; a business license (patente municipal); financial statements prepared by a Costa Rican CPA certifying the financial investment made in Costa Rica. This category is at the sole discretion of the Department of Immigration.

Costa Rica maintains an embassy in the United States at 2114 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-328-6628).

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica is located in Pavas at Boulevard Pavas and Calle 120, San Jose, tel. (506) 220-3939.