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How to Calculate Your Monthly CAJA Fee for Residency in Costa Rica

by rpetersen

If you’re considering residency in Costa Rica, one of the key aspects you need to understand is the CAJA payment. CAJA, short for Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, is Costa Rica’s public healthcare system. As a resident, you’ll be required to make monthly contributions to CAJA, ensuring access to  healthcare services. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of calculating your CAJA payment to make your transition to Costa Rica smoother.

What is the CAJA Requirement

Every foreign resident in Costa Rica that has a legal residency status must pay into the Costa Rica Health Care System to maintain their residency status.

Calculating your monthly Caja contribution for Costa Rican residency involves two main components: the SEM for general health insurance and the IVM for the pension system, both of which are based on the income that you reported to the Department of Immigration as part of your application process.

Calculate Your CAJA Payment

To calculate your CAJA payment for residency purposes, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the Income Amount you reported to Immigration. Start by calculating your annual income that you reported to the Department of Immigration during your residency application process. This figure will be the basis for your CAJA contribution.
  2. Refer to the CAJA contribution table: The CAJA has a table that lists different income brackets and their corresponding contribution rates. The table is usually updated annually, so make sure you’re using the most recent version. The income categories go from 1 to 5.
  3. Calculate your monthly CAJA payment.  Use the Chart provided to determine which category your income falls into and multiply your income by the pecentage indicate for SEM and the percentage indicated for IVM.  Add both of these together and that will be your monthly payment. 
  4. Verify the current exchange rate.  The CAJA table is in Colones so be sure you use the current exchange rate when doing your calculations. 

Some Helpful Examples of CAJA Calculations

In this example an individual applying under the Pensionado residency program.   Assume that your pension is  US$2,000 per month from US Social Security.  Based on that amount and the current table from Caja you fall into   income category number three.

US$2,000 x .6.24% SEM = US$124.80 

US$2,000 x 7.20%   SEM = US$144.00

Total due:  US$268.80

In this example you are applying under the RENTISTA residency program.  This requires that you prove at least US$2,500 per month in income.  So lets assume that is your income for this example.

 US$2,500 x .6.24% SEM = US$156 

US$2,500 x 7.20%   SEM = US$180

Total due:  US$336

In this example we have another Pensionado but she has an pension of US$6,000 per month which puts her into category five of the CAJA income table.

US$6,000 X 10.69% = $641.40

US$6,000 X 8.09% = $485.40

In this scenario the monthly CAJA payment would be US$1,126.80

Understanding how to calculate your CAJA payment is a crucial step in the residency process for Costa Rica. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that you meet your residency obligations. Remember to stay updated with any changes in CAJA regulations, as they may affect your payment calculations.

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