Home Costa Rica Legal TopicsImmigration and Residency Immigration Law 8487 Title VI Residency Categories

Immigration Law 8487 Title VI Residency Categories

by Super User






This is the actual text in English of Title VI of the Costa Rican Immigration Law (LAW  8487).  

Title VI sets forth the different residency categories that are available under the law.


This translation was compiled by CostaRicaLaw.com and may not be copied or transcribed in any way without the express written permission of CostaRicaLaw.com               


                        TITLE VI

     Migratory Categories


      Permanent residents


Section 72: Permanent resident shall be the alien to whom the Immigration Agency (Dirección General) grants an authorization to stay for indefinite time.


Section 73.- Aliens who fulfill the requirements mentioned below may opt to seek this migratory category:


  1. The alien, its spouse and relatives in the first degree of consanguinity who have enjoyed of a temporary residence for three consecutive years.
  2. Alien who is in the first degree of consanguinity to a Costa Rican citizen, said degree of consanguinity includes parents, minor or adult disabled children and minor or adult disabled brothers and sisters and any alien who is married to a Costa Rican.


Section 74.- Residents may engage in any remunerated or gainful activity, either on its own account or under an employer-employee relationship, except for the limitations set forth in the national legislation. After five years of consecutive residence, residents may renew its residence card every two years and once ten years of continuous residence have elapsed, residents may renew their residence card every five years.


                       CHAPTER II

     Temporary residents


Section 75.- The Immigration Agency (Dirección General de Migración) shall grant an authorization to enter and stay for a definite period of time, which period of time will be longer than ninety days and up to two years, to those who are within the following subcategories:


  1. The spouse of a Costa Rican citizen and who has lived with said Costa Rican citizen as a married couple.
  2. Ecclesiastics belonging to those religions that have been acknowledged before the Department of State
  3. Executives, representatives, managers and technical personnel of business organizations established in the country which are engaged in those fields that take priority, according to the migratory and foreign investment policies, as well as their spouses and children.
  4. Investors
  5. Those who are paid a pension plan
  6. Sciencetists, professionals, specialized technicians 
  7. Sportsmen, duly acknowledged before the National Board of Sports (Consejo Nacional de Deportes).
  8. Correspondents and personnel of press agencies.
  9. Anyone who has lived with his or her spouse and minor or disabled children and is related to the people listed in the previous subsections.
  10. Those who earn an investment income


Section 76.- Temporary residents shall conduct, on their own account or under an employer-employee relationship, solely those remunerated or gainful activities that the Immigration Agency (Dirección General) may authorize, in compliance with the technical studies of the Department of Labor.


Section 77.- In order to obtain lawful residence under the pensioner subcategory, aliens shall give proof of their enjoying permanent and stable pensions from abroad, which pension shall not be less than six hundred dollars, U.S.A currency (US$ 600.00), or its equivalent.  In order to obtain lawful residence under the investment- income subcategory, aliens shall give proof of their earning permanent and stable investment income, generated or produced abroad or from banks belonging to the National Banking System (Sistema Bancario Nacional), which income shall not be less than one thousand U.S.A. dollars (US$ 1,000.00)or its equivalent. Aliens wishing to opt for these subcategories may contemplate their dependents as to migratory effects.  


Section 78.- Interested parties, in order to enjoy the benefits of this Law, shall file their petitions with consular officers who have evidenced their legal personality abroad, except for the provisions under section 61 in this Law.


Section 79.- In order to obtain lawful residence under the investment-income category, aliens shall give proof of their enjoying permanent and stable investment income, produced or generated abroad, amounting to not less than two thousand U.S.A. dollars (US$ 2,000.00). Having said amount of money, the interested party may petition for his or her lawful residence as well as that of his spouse, under this subcategory. Moreover, the alien who pretends to seek to obtain the lawful residence of his or her minor children, students of up to twenty-eight years old or disabled children, shall prove that he or she additionally receives in his or her investment income an additional sum of five hundred U.S.A. dollars (US$ 500.00) per each son or daughter.


Section 80.- Temporary resident aliens may, within the same migratory category, adjust to another subcategory, provided that they fulfill the following requirements.


Section 81.- Once the authorized period of residence has expired, temporary resident aliens shall be bound to abandon the national territory, except when there is an adjustment to another category or an extension, depending on the provisions of this Law and its Regulations.


Section 82.- In the event that the temporary resident continuous bearing the status under which he has been granted lawful residence, he may petition for an extension, in compliance with the Regulations of this Law.





Section 83.- Non-residents are those aliens to whom the Immigration Agency (Dirección General) may grant authorization to enter and to reside for a period of no more than ninety days, according to the subcategories listed below:


  1. Tourism
  2. Stay
  3. Aliens in transit, for a maximum period of time of twenty-four hours.
  4. Border-crossing aliens in transit, for a maximum period of time of forty-eight hours.
  5. Personnel of companies engaged in international transport of passengers and goods


Section 84.- For the purposes of being granted both a visa and a period of time for residing, the following people are within the stay subcategory:


  1. Professionals and those who are of special relevance in the fields of science, religion, culture, sport, economy, politics and who, as a consequence of their specialty, should be invited by the Powers of the State or by state or private institutions or by universities or colleges.


  1. Those who are business agents, traveler agents or trade representatives and who enter the country to address issues related to the activities of the business organizations or the companies they represent, so long as said organizations do not accrue payment of wages or fees, and are not required to reside in the national territory to carry out their activities.
  2. Those who serve as journalists, cameramen and other means of social communication personnel who enter the country to fulfill duties connected with their specialization and who do not accrue payment of wages in the country.


  1. Those who need specialized medical treatment in a well known medical centre.


Section 85.- Aliens admitted under the category of non-residents shall not adjust its migratory category while they are in the country, except for those aliens contemplated under section 61 of this Law.


Section 86.- Aliens who are authorized to enter the country and reside in it under the migratory category for a period of less than ninety days shall have the possibility of extending their residence. In order to obtain said extension, aliens must file said petition prior to the expiration of the authorized initial period and shall prove that they have the necessary economic means to survive. Regulations of this Law shall set the necessary conditions, procedures and requirements for the granting of the extension.


Section 87.- Once the lawful residence of a non-resident alien for a maximum period of ninety days has expired, said alien shall be bound to abandon the national territory. Except in those cases where the Minister of Interior and Police (Ministro de Gobernación y Policía), with the prior advice of the Board (Consejo), authorizes an extension for another period of up to ninety days maximum. Upon expiracy of the specified period of time, the alien shall be under an irregular migratory status and shall be exposed to the penalties set forth in this Law.


Section 88.- Aliens authorized to stay as non-residents shall not be allowed to work, except for those aliens contemplated under section 83, subsection e) and section 84, subsections a), b) and c).


Related Articles