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Costa Rica Retirement – Residency with Pensionado Status

Interested in retiring in beautiful Costa Rica? If so, then you should familiarize yourself with the laws on how to acquire residency in the country.

First off, there are different classifications of residents in this Central American paradise. There are pensionados, rentistas, investors, and permanent residents. The following is a brief description of the first classification and a concise explanation on how to become a permanent resident of Costa Rica.

Pensionados – retirees should present proof that they receive a guaranteed income either from a State pension fund, like the United States Social Security, or an annuity of no less than $1,000 a month. If married, the status also covers your spouse and there is no increase in the monetary requirement.  It is also required to live in Costa Rica for a minimum of 4 months per year. Another requirement is that the pensionados convert $1,000 monthly to the local currency, the colones.

Expats who meet these qualifications have certain rights and restrictions as well. Pensionados are allowed to put up a business, but not be under the employment of a permanent resident. A working permit is not granted to pensionados until they become permanent residents.

How can you become a permanent resident?

There are several ways to become a permanent resident. First degree relatives of Costa Rican citizen are eligible for permanent residency.  Getting married to a Costa Rican is another. Legal residents can apply to make the arrangement permanent as well after living in Costa Rica for no less than 3 years.

Permanent residents have all the rights of citizens except the right to vote.


  1. gordon said:

    I suggest DO NOT BUY anything here. RENT a place after 90 days take a trip to Panama border renew your visa 90 days. You can do this in a day not 3 days just stay over the border for 4 hours and the back. Now your here 6 months. Repeat this in 90 days. Now your least is up soon. You can decide what you want to do. By this time your ready to leave and look elsewhere. Do not get sucked in by those who sell property at a cheap price! Huh or they have honest lawyer a lie. Many here try to get you talking about the 401K you have your pension and SS how much cash. Sort of a quite game they play to see what they can sell you. Do not be a fool Gringos living here a long time are like the Ticos lairs and thieves beware, of smiling faces. when it come to make money off you. You have been warned.

    • CRQ#1 said:

      I think you are a self-centered, ignorant, I was born and raised in Costa Rica and saw the corrupted gringos arrived with $$$ to buy women, to create bars and go-gos, just because we are a small and poor country does not make us bad, I live in USA for 15years already and I seen how the government robs honest workers how they drown middle class workers and all that money to use it in stupid wars because all they want is power, why retired people here go to other countries like Costa Rica? You said we are thieves, drug dealers, a lot of corruption, hahaha, do not make me laugh just inmagin USA without sophisticated police or army, would be a disaster, because even so yet with thousands of police officers,sophisticated cars & weapons and military Army, Navy, etc.. Corruption is rife here.

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