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How to Legally Work in Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica – Many people grow tired of the corporate grind in the USA or are looking for a break after graduating college and set their sights on a new life and a new job in Costa Rica. However, getting job where you are paid well and are legally working is a little bit harder than you think.

costa-rica-work permitWith laws favoring hiring local workers over foreigners, you may wonder if it’s possible to work legally as a foreigner in Costa Rica. If you have a special skill set your papers will be processed easily through an established process. If you plan to get here and then sort out your work paper and immigration status it will be hard if not impossible.

You have two options for working legally. The first is to obtain a work permit. For this you or your employer will need to prove that you have skills not easily found in the Costa Rican population. This will allow you to live in Costa Rica until the specific job is complete. You may not transfer this permit to another job.

The other requirements to obtain this permit are as follows. A letter from the employer (they will know what is needed), proof from the employer that they can pay you, a certified copy of your whole passport and birth certificate (this must be authenticated by the consulate of Costa Rica in your country), and lastly finger printing done in Costa Rica.

The second option to work legally is to get a temporary or permanent residency status. With permanent residency there are no work restrictions. Most forms of permanent residency require a minimum of three years with temporary residency first. Most of those have work restrictions which require special permissions to work and are only granted in certain circumstances.

By Kerry La

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