Do I need a work visa to work in Costa Rica?
Unless you have your Costa Rican citizenship or permanent residence, it’s generally advised to follow these guidelines—in addition to consulting an immigration attorney if you are pursuing a category in which you feel unsure about the law and how it would apply to you:
People who can work in Costa Rica without citizenship or permanent residence:
- Home-based businesses over the internet: Freelance writer, web or graphic design, trader—no physical location in Costa Rica, no employees: you’re in the clear. Just keep in mind that the income you’re earning online should be coming from outside of Costa Rica.
- Business owner (assuming you only have a form of temporary residence): You may oversee business operations as a shareholder, but cannot perform daily job functions as an employee of your own business.
People who can’t work in Costa Rica without citizenship or permanent residence:
- Service provider or self-employed: Think jobs such as a realtor, contractor, property manager or any professional like a lawyer or doctor.
- Employee working for a salary or set wage from a Costa Rican business: This would be seen as taking a job from a Costa Rican with the same skills.