Home New Legal Articles Residency- Work Permits

Residency- Work Permits

by Super User


The Costa Rica Department of Immigration Streamlines “Work” Permits for Qualified Companies.

In the past getting a “work permit” to work in Costa Rica was an administrative nightmare with no clear cut guidelines and decisions that were arbitrarily imposed by the Department of Immigration.

In April of 2008 the Department of Immigration issued a new  Directive (CIRCULAR -DG-1084-2008, del 1 de abril del 2008 ) setting forth the requirements to qualify for the work permit.

To qualify the Company that is requesting the permit on behalf of an employee must be classified in one of the following areas:

Classification “A”   Companies that are registered pursuant to an Export Incentive Program

Classification “B”  Companies that are engaged in the export of goods and services.

Classification “C”  Companies involved in Tourism related activities

Classification “D”  Companies that are regulated by the Financial Regulatory Agency (SUGEF). This category applies primarily to banking and financial institutions.

Classification “E”  Multinational Corporations.

The first step is to apply on behalf of the Company under one of the categories indicated above.    This generally involves the following process:


1.    Fill out the Application Form (Provided by the Department of Immigration)

2.    Draft a Registration Petition to the Department of Immigration indicating :

a.    The Company Name

b.    Detailed explanation to justify your request for registration with the Department of Immigration.

c.    Detailed description of the Companies business activities.

d.    Address within Costa Rica to receive notices.


3.    Certificate of Standing of the Company to verify the registration and legal standing of the Company.


4.    If the Company has no begun operations in Costa Rica it will have to present an investment / Business Plan detailing its activities in Costa Rica.   If the Company has initiated operations in Costa Rica it will require:


a.     Certification from the Social Security Administration that it is registered as an Employer with that office.

b.    Certification from the Workers Compensation Office (INS) that it is registered with a Workers Compensation policy in effect.

c.    Certified Audited Financial Statements

Depending on the Classification chosen additional requirements apply which will be specific to the Classification.   For example if you apply for Classification “A”  (registered exporter) and Classification “B” (Export of Goods or Services) you will require a recommendation from COMEX (Comercio Exterior) which is the Commercial Office of the Cost a Rican government.  You will also have to authorize the Costa Rican government to review your file with PROCOMER (The export promotion office of Costa Rica.

For Classification “C” (Tourism) the Company will require a letter from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) recommending the Company for inclusion in the Department of Immigration Registry.

For Classification “D”  (Financial Regulated Entities) the Company will require a certification from the Costa Rican Financial Regulatory Agency (SUGEF) indicating that the Company that is applying is regulated by said agency.

For Classification “F” (Multinational Corporation) the Company will require a certification from the Head Office indicating that it has or will set up a subsidiary of the Multinational Corporation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has realized that attracting foreign investment to the country is essential for its future growth.  This Directive by the Department of Immigration is a positive step in clarifying the rules that must be followed to allow foreign (expat) workers to legally work in Costa Rica.


Copyright. Roger Petersen.  This article may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the copyright holder.


Related Articles