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Relocating to Costa Rica

Each year, many people decide to relocate to Costa Rica. Many are retirees who want to enjoy their post-employed life, while others are younger people, who want something new and exciting. Still others are professionals who are moving to San Jose to work for international corporations with headquarters in San Jose. These ex pat assignments can last anywhere from one to three years or more, and are just as fun as exciting as moving down to Costa Rica for any other reason! If you are not retired and are planning on relocating to Costa Rica, something you need to take into account is the legal situation of working in Costa Rica.

Send me South specializes in helping expats gain residency in Costa Rica.  We’ve done it personally and professionally, and know the ins and outs of the bureaucracy here.  While it might take a bit of time to get your residency, it doesn’t have to be a headache.  We can help you through the process so that its done efficiently.

Costa Rica does not offer work permits easily, like many other developed nations. Ex pats on work assignment are an exception to this and are usually allowed to work as professionals legally for a period of time.  Because there are so many literate and skilled Costa Ricans, the job market is quite competitive and the Costa Rican government has put measures in place to ensure that Costa Ricans themselves are employed. If you are not retired and you want to relocate to Costa Rica, you will need income. The cost of living in Costa Rica is almost comparable to parts of the United States if you want to live with many of the comforts like good cheese, sausage, meat, and wine that you might be accustomed to at home. Rent for an apartment can be as low as $200 (US) per month, and while you can find houses to rent for $300 (US) or $400 (US) per month, they can be as expensive as $1,000 (US) to $3,000 (US) per month. Once you factor in your groceries, cost of gas if you plan on driving, money for going out once in a while, and other life costs, you will see that each month you need about $1,500 (US) per person to live comfortably.

Since many young people don’t have lots of money sitting in savings accounts, they need to find ways to generate income once they relocate to Costa Rica. As work permits are only available to a worker that is highly skilled for a position that cannot be filled by a Costa Rican citizen, it is not advisable to plan on getting a work permit. Some people are relocating to Costa Rica through teaching programs, where they are able to teach English in an area for a few months, but at the end of this contract, they do not have a permit to look for other work. One of the ways to support yourself once you relocate to Costa Rica is by telecommuting. This means doing internet based work for a company located in your home country. It is best if you have this set up before you decide to relocate to Costa Rica so that you are not trying to find employment online after you have arrived in Costa Rica, although it is possible, it can be stressful.

If you are able to find internet based work and can generate a source of income for yourself to live in Costa Rica, you still must be aware of your visa status. Just because you are earning money and spending it in Costa Rica, that doesn’t mean you are eligible for residency. When you land in Costa Rica, you will receive a 90-day Tourist Visa. After your 90 days, you will need to leave the country for at least 72 hours before you can re-enter the country and be granted another 90-day Tourist Visa. There are many young people that relocate to Costa Rica for 90-days, then return home for a period of time to see family and friends, or work in their home country, save money and head back to Costa Rica. If you are considering this option, be sure to have a realistic idea of how much money you will need to pay for plane tickets back and forth and to cover your costs of living in both Costa Rica and your home country.

While there are challenges to relocating to Costa Rica, Send me South makes sure it doesn’t have to be a difficult process, as long as you take the time to prepare for your move. Research which region of the country you would like to relocate to, as the cost of living varies from province to province. Send me South will locate and provide a range of rental listings for you to get an idea of how much money you will have to spend on rent each month. Start looking for internet based work a few months before you plan on relocating to Costa Rica so that you don’t have to worry about finding work once you are in your new home. You can look at sites like Trip Advisor to read reviews of restaurants and get a sense of how much money you might spend each month eating out. One of the great advantages to living in Costa Rica is that many of the activities here are free! There is no cost to go to the beach, go for hikes, or enjoy the wildlife, so while some things cost as much as they do back home, you will find an endless amount of entertaining activities that don’t cost a penny.

If you are serious about relocating to Costa Rica, plan ahead a bit and save up some money. With every move there are hidden expenses and relocating to a foreign country is no different. Expect to pay a security deposit on whatever apartment or house you do rent. If you plan on living in a city, public transportation will be available, but this is also an additional monthly cost. If you live in a smaller community, you may want to buy a bike to get around. While many rental homes come furnished, there will still be items you will need to purchase upon arrival. By factoring these extra expenses into you relocating costs, you will save yourself some headaches when arriving in Costa Rica. Take time planning your move and have fun!  Send me South specializes in making your move to Costa Rica seamless and part of an enjoyable journey.  Contact us and let us know what your needs are, and we will let you know how we can help you.

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