In 2020 due to Coronavirus’s mandatory quarantine, we all learned that working from home is possible from almost any part of the world and that companies were working remotely in a very successful way. Furthermore, schools and students of all ages have continued their education by learning from almost anywhere in a virtual classroom. So, due to all these changes and the economic crisis that has occurred during this pandemic, in some latitudes, Governments are trying to dynamize their economies, by establishing a new “working tourist”, and keep on protecting the jobs for their citizens. These nomads that can work remotely with their computers became the new market to attract, since they can live in any part of the globe and keep enjoying all the beauties that a country can offer. A country like Costa Rica is ideal for these Digital Nomads, because of the numerous scenarios to visit, from beaches, to volcanoes, to national parks, forests and the 5% of the fauna of the globe hidden all over its territory.
That said, in the upcoming weeks the Costa Rican Government is pushing for the Bill No. 22.215, better known as “Law for Attracting International Remote Workers and Service Providers”, which will be up to vote at the congress and if approved and later ratified by the President, this Bill will stablish a before and after for “Digital Nomads” visiting the country. Until now, any remote worker who came to Costa Rica, 99% of the time entered as a tourist, and by doing this, they became “forever tourists”, being forced to do border runs every 89 days to Nicaragua or Panamá. Also, in most of the cases, these workers can´t apply in any of the categories that the Costa Rican law established in order to request the Residency. Besides, let´s be honest, these “Remote Workers and Service Providers” do not want to permanently relocate to a country, they want to stay in it for a certain period of time, and then change to a different location. In other words, they are citizens of the world, they just want to have a legal immigration status for a year or two and then leave to another place.
Under the circumstances, Costa Rica should step up and move forward into this new era by adapting its legislation in order to win this new market and keep on leading the tourism industry. Therefore, if approved, the Bill No. 22215 will create a new subcategory under the non-resident category, to be known as “Remote Worker or Service Provider”. It will bring many benefits to this growing figure of “Digital Nomads” such as being able to stay one year in Costa Rica, with the possibility of extending the period for one more year if the status is granted. In addition, these remote workers will be totally exempted from any tax derived from their work, and the income received by the remote workers from abroad will be consider national income. Likewise, all the personal computer equipment required by these Digital Nomads to carry their work will be exempted from all import duties.
It is important to state that this new status also comes with some requirements, such as having an average monthly income for the last year of $3,000.00, obtaining a private insurance that can cover the entire stay in Costa Rica and paying the one-time fee for the granting of a non-resident visa as a “Remote Worker or Service Provider”. However, the conditions do vary, if the Digital Nomad intends to apply for a family group non-resident visa; in that scenario, the average monthly income for the last year must be of $4,000.00, this amount can be the combined income of two family members. Furthermore, each family member must be covered by a private insurance and each person must pay the one-time visa fee.
It goes without mentioning that here, in Nomad, we are working to help you apply for this category as soon as it is approved by our Congress. Please don’t hesitate to contact us so you can come and Live in Paradise.