Move To Costa Rica From The USA

Top 9 Must Know Details

Moving to Costa Rica from the United States can be a great adventure, but it does require careful planning and preparation. To help make the process as smooth as possible, here is a comprehensive outline to guide you through the steps.

Costa Rica beach

Research and Understand Costa Rican Culture and Laws

Before embarking on your move, it is important to do your research on Costa Rican culture, laws, and customs. Key things to consider include;


Language – Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, so it’s essential to learn at least basic Spanish before moving.

Residency – Costa Rica has several different types of residency permits, so research which type is appropriate for you and the requirements for each.

Taxes – Make sure you understand the tax laws in Costa Rica and how they might apply to you.

Healthcare – Costa Rica has a national healthcare system, but it’s important to research how it works and whether you’ll need additional coverage.

Lawyer Costa Rica

Create A Budget

Moving to Costa Rica can be expensive, so it’s important to create a budget and consider all of the costs associated with your move. Some expenses to consider include;

Travel – Plan for flights, transportation to and from the airport, and any necessary travel documentation.

Housing – Consider the cost of renting or buying a home, as well as any necessary deposits, utilities, and other expenses.

Residency – Consider the cost of obtaining residency in Costa Rica.

Shipping – If you’re planning to bring belongings with you, factor in the cost of shipping.

Living Expenses – Consider the cost of groceries, dining out, and other everyday expenses.

budget for costa rica

Apply For Residency

To apply for residency in Costa Rica, you’ll need to gather the necessary documentation and follow the application process. The exact requirements will depend on the type of residency you’re applying for, but some common documents include;


Birth certificate

Criminal background check

Marriage certificate (if applicable)

Proof of income or financial support


It’s important to note that the residency application process can be time-consuming, so plan accordingly.

Apply for Residency in Costa Rica

Find Housing

Once you’ve obtained residency, it’s time to find a place to live. Some things to consider include;


Location – Research different regions of Costa Rica and consider which one might be the best fit for you.

Type of Housing – Decide whether you want to rent or buy a home.

Safety – Consider the safety of the area you’re considering.

Amenities – Consider the availability of amenities such as grocery stores, medical facilities, and other services.

Costa Rica Real Estate

Sell Or Store Your Belongings

If you’re not planning to bring all of your belongings with you, it’s important to figure out what to do with them. Some options include;

Selling – Sell your belongings before you move to Costa Rica.

Storage – Consider renting a storage unit to keep your belongings while you’re away.

Shipping – If you’re planning to bring your belongings with you, consider the cost and logistics of shipping.

usa moving costa rica

Plan For Insurance And Healthcare

Costa Rica has a national healthcare system, but it’s important to research how it works and whether you’ll need additional coverage. Some things to consider include;

Healthcare Coverage – Research the national healthcare system and determine whether you need additional coverage.
Insurance – Research private health insurance options in Costa Rica.

Medical Facilities – Research the availability of medical facilities in the area you’re considering.

health insurance costa rica

Plan For Transportation

Costa Rica has an extensive public transportation system, but it’s important to research your options and plan accordingly. Some things to consider include;


Public Transportation – Research the availability and cost of public transportation in Costa Rica. Buses are the most common form of public transportation and can be a cost-effective way to get around. There are also taxis and ride-sharing services available in most urban areas.

Personal Transportation – Consider purchasing or renting a car if you need personal transportation. However, it’s important to note that driving in Costa Rica can be challenging due to narrow roads, steep hills, and unpredictable weather conditions. Additionally, purchasing a car can be expensive due to high import taxes.

Licensing – Research the requirements for obtaining a Costa Rican driver’s license if you plan to drive. In most cases, you’ll need to take a driving test and provide the necessary documentation, including a valid driver’s license from your home country.

transportation in costa rica

Tie Up Loose Ends

Before leaving the US, there are a few loose ends to tie up. Some things to consider include;


Bank accounts – Close any US bank accounts you no longer need.

Utilities – Cancel or transfer any utilities in your name, such as electricity, gas, water, and internet.

Mail – Set up a mail forwarding service or provide a forwarding address to receive any mail that may come after you leave.

Taxes – File your taxes before leaving the US and research whether you’ll still be required to file US taxes after moving to Costa Rica.

Loose Ends

Make the Move to Costa Rica

Once you’ve completed all the necessary preparations, it’s time to make the move. Some things to consider include;

Flights – Book your flights to Costa Rica.

Packing – Pack your belongings for the move, making sure to follow any restrictions or guidelines for shipping.

Immigration – Make sure to have all necessary documentation with you when you enter Costa Rica, including your passport, residency permit, and any other required documents.

Ground Transportation – Arrange for ground transportation from the airport to your new home.

Settling In – Take some time to settle in and get to know your new home.


Moving to Costa Rica from the United States requires careful planning and preparation. By following this outline and doing your research, you can make the move as smooth as possible and start enjoying all that Costa Rica has to offer. Pura Vida!

Pura Vida Costa Rica

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