Making the big move to Costa Rica is a very big step, if you have never relocated to another country then you should now that this is a challenging process and many people don’t make it the long haul but with some help from someone that has already made the journey you will be a lot better off. We always welcome other foreigners to come join us in the land of Pura Vida, and the warmth comes from expats and the locals. If you are looking for a place to open a tour, restaurant, hotel or just work from home then Costa Rica is a wonderful place to call home. We are happy to provide you with some useful information about relocating to the fantastic country of Costa Rica.
One of the hardest parts of moving abroad is deciding what you will bring with you and what you will be leaving behind. You will have to choose wisely because the import taxes coming in to Costa Rica are staggeringly high that change often and vary depending on the item and the age. We have used a company named A-1 Auto Transport that ships cars to Costa Rica and also deals with freight, the feedback we have received has been great.
Importing a Car
· Find the lowest prices out of Miami usually costing around $1000, there are many ships coming this way from Miami so delivery will be faster and cheaper.
· Moin and Limon are the most frequently used posts so you when getting a quote be sure to get quotes for these ports.
· Check with the auto shipping company to see that they have insurance and you may also want to look in to getting your own private insurance. Insurance in Costa Rica is handled by a company named INS.
· Taxes range from 50% to 70% depending on the age of the vehicle and what the market value is in Costa Rica. Unfortunately this is up to the officer to decide and the price will be based on the market value of the car in Costa Rica not the country you are importing it from and note that vehicle prices are high here because of the high import taxes.
· The older the car the higher the taxes.
· All vehicles coming in to Costa Rica must meet the Costa Rican standards and it is best to fix any problems before getting the car shipped, everyone must have test done by Riteve every year that insures that the car is safe and the emissions are within the standards.
· Bring the car to the mechanic to make sure the it is in good running condition, it is standard that the car needs to be running in order for it to be shipped. The brakes and tires must also be in safe conditions and all the lights must be working.
· Make sure the vehicle is clean inside and out.
· Have less than half a tank of gas in the vehicle.
· Remove all personal items from the vehicle and disconnect the stereo if you have an aftermarket stereo.
· In order to insure a vehicle in Costa Rica it must be nationalized meaning that all the taxes are paid.
Importing Other Items
Bringing everything that you have collected over the years rarely makes sense unless you can’t live without all of it. Moving to Costa Rica is a good opportunity to downsize. Having a huge moving away sale is a good way to save up some extra money for the move and you can enjoy the simpler things in life.
· It is easy to find a fully furnished house for rent or sale which will save you a lot of hassle.
· Look to bring as many personal items with you on the plane as possible.
· Shipping everything in a container is possible but not very cheap and you may have to pay taxes, if the items are used and can pass as personal items it will be tax free but expect to be taxed on tools and other items.
Obtaining residency is a little difficult if you don’t have much money but it common for expats to just leave the country every 90 days to get your visa renewed. It is said that you have to leave for 72 hours but usually you are OK if you return the same day. Because the country is very small taking a bus or driving to Panama or Nicaragua are good cheap options. The trips every 3 months can become a nuisance and it is best if you have the money for residency, find the different ways bellow.
Obtain a letter from your employer that you will have a secure job for at least 2 years that pays you $2500 min per month. Or deposit $60,000 USD in to a Costa Rica account and you withdraw $2500 per month for 2 years.
Have a pension plan of $1000 USD per couple and remain in the country for at least four months of the year. You can own a business but you must not work in Costa Rica.
Invest $200,000 or more in to a home or business in Costa Rica and receive your residency.
Those people that have a special skill like a scientist or special doctor may obtain temporary residency, students, missionaries and journalists are often given temporary residency.
If you have a first degree relative such as a spouse or child then you can apply for permanent residency.