On August 11, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado sanctioned an initiative that will create special visas for digital nomads.
The program will allow foreigners remote workers will stay for up to a year in Costa Rica, with the option to stay for another year.
While in the country, digital nomads will be exempt from local income tax and will be able to open bank accounts. They will also be able to drive using a license from their home country.
Currently, remote foreign workers are required to enter the country as tourists and leave within 90 days.
“We received digital nomads in Costa Rica,” said Alvarado. “This is an incentive for tourism, employment and investment by digital nomads in the various regions of the country.”
To qualify for the new visa, which is supported by the Tourism Board, international teleworkers will be required to:
- Provide proof of a stable monthly salary
- Obtain and maintain medical insurance during your stay in Costa Rica
- Pay a one-time visa fee
Individuals must prove that they earn a sustainable remote income of at least $3,000 per month. Families must show that they earn at least $4,000 per month.
Other program details, such as the minimum medical insurance coverage and the visa fee amount, have yet to be determined. According to authorities, it could take several weeks for these details to be announced.
Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura said Costa Rica’s hot climate, extensive surfing and hiking environments and high-speed internet make it an “ideal destination” for digital nomads.
Segura also said international remote workers will be “the key to the recovery of the [tourism] sector “after the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that long-term tourists pour money into local businesses such as car rental companies, supermarkets, restaurants, laundries, beauty salons and medical facilities.
Costa Rica will have a lot of competition in its quest to attract digital nomads, who have become one of the most sought after tourist commodities in the world.
Several other destinations, including Barbados, Croatia, Curacoa, Dubai and Estonia, have already introduced digital nomad visa programs, hoping to attract some of the millions of international remote workers created by the pandemic.
Romania, Greece, Thailand, Indonesia, Cape Town and Sri Lanka have also announced plans to create digital visa programs in the near future.
Thanks to COVID-19, the the population of American digital nomads increased by nearly 50% between 2019 and 2020, according to a study by MBO Partners.