September 23, 2011 @ 4:00 am

Can a person be self employed in Costa Rica, without becoming a citizen?

Question by CanadianGal2000: Can a person be self employed in Costa Rica, without becoming a citizen?
I am Canadian and my husband and I are thinking about going to Costa Rica and work for ourselves (have our own business). Do you have to be a citizen of Costa Rica to start a business. If not, what do you require to stay there and work for yourself? (The business would not require a space / we can do from our home/computer). Thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by tico times directory
You do not have to be a citizen to work and/or a resident. Anyone can open up a business, there are 1000s of expats that have small businesses, like gift shows, travel agencies, online products, sportsfishing charters, bars etc.

Below are two links that will help you out:

If you do not get residency (which takes several years to get) you will be require to leave the country every 90 days for 72/hrs – many just jump to Panama or Nicaragua for a mini vacation and spend a few days, then come back.

Only thing that is required to start a business is money and some type of business. However, starting a business in CR is not easy, many quit after the 1st 8 months and unless you have spend a lot of time in CR to understand the culture, laws and people it is not advisable.

Give your answer to this question below!

2 Responses to “Can a person be self employed in Costa Rica, without becoming a citizen?”

  1. Henry says:

    of course … you just need to be a citizen in order to work for others, but if you are going to be selfemployee then you donĀ“t need but incorporate your company which in Costa Rica is quicker than getting a driver license in the USA

  2. Orange says:

    As a tourist, you cannot work. However, you can OWN a business. There’s a caveat though. Even though you can set up a corporation and own the business, but cannot work in the business. Basically, you are allowed to collect the revenue and pay bills, but that’s about it. You must have employees (locals). So if you had a restaurant, for example, you could not cook or serve, you would need locals to do that.

    In your case, it seems like you are looking for some type of service business from your home. That would not work because you would need employees and it seems like that’s not what you were thinking.

    You will also have to get a business license “patente” which if you don’t know is not simple. Be ready to be given the run around until you flash some cash. Bribes are an important part of Tico business. And they help to move things along. LOL

    The other issue is that without legal residency, you would only be able to stay in CR for 90 days at a time. Then leave the country for at least 72 hours. Then when you return to CR, you’d get another visa (passport stamp) for 90 more days.

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