We are very lucky to have a lawyer we can trust and who has been helping our community ever since our struggle to save the river. Though she does not live here permanently, she is here as needed to help solve the legal issues of us the residents as well as to become involved in all the various activities and initiatives, such as the Trading Route, which by the way, though she gets paid for most of her services, she also actively participates in our trading. She can help all the way from immigration issues to acquisition of land, merchant contracts, etc.
Some people who reside in Costa Rica never become residents, but I think it is a good idea to get residency if you plan to stay all-year round. If you only want to stay part of the year, you can stay for up to three months at a time. You can travel to a neighboring country and re-enter and stay another three months. Most foreigners only need a passport to enter, no visa is required.
People can become residents under various categories. Two of the most popular are Pensionado and Rentista. Under the first, you must prove you receive a pension of at least $1,000 USD per month for the rest of your life. Under the second, you must prove you can receive an income of some sort of at least $2,500 USD per month for a minimum of two years. There are other categories, for instance by marrying a Costa Rican citizen, or by making a large investment in the country, or by obtaining certain jobs. These amounts may change, but once you are locked in, the amounts don’t change for you.
Our community lawyer is available to help you through the entire process. Once you apply, immigration allows you to stay in the country without having to leave every three months while the process of becoming a resident goes on.