Moving to Costa Rica From Canada? What to know before you go!

Moving to Costa Rica From Canada? What to know before you go!

Moving to Costa Rica From Canada? What to know before you go!

Are you a Canadian considering a move to Costa Rica? This tropical paradise in Central America has long been a popular choice for Canadian ex-pats who want to escape winter’s bite. With its year-round tropical climate, diverse landscape, and friendly locals, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica’s popularity is consistently on the rise. Access to affordable housing in Costa Rica makes it an even more enticing location for retirees and digital nomads considering a move to Costa Rica from Canada. 

However, there are always a few things you need to know before making any move. In this blog post, we’ll break down the most important factors you need to consider before relocating to Costa Rica.

Relocating to Costa Rica From Canada

Canadians do not need a visa if they are visiting for less than 90 days; however, if they plan to stay longer than that they will need to apply for residency status through the local immigration office. 

Some of the documents required when applying for residency include your passport and proof of financial stability (such as bank statements) and background checks. Canadian citizens have up to 90 days to submit their residency application in order to change their immigration status from tourist to resident. The cost of changing immigration status is approximately $300 CAD.

After submitting the residency application, the applicant may stay in Costa Rica until a decision is reached. The applicant must adhere to the tourism entrance criteria and re-enter Costa Rica as a tourist if they must depart the country before a decision is issued. 

A current criminal records certificate may be required for the person's residency file if they have been away from Costa Rica for longer than 6 months. 

Can You Move to Costa Rica Without a Job?

Costa Rica offers a number of residency application options for Canadians who wish to move to Costa Rica. If you are relocating to Costa Rica as a retiree, you can opt for a pensioner residency option. Under this option, you are required to have documental proof of having a life income of US$1000 per month. The proof should be documented to state that the pension is for life. It should be both legalised and translated into Spanish. 

If you do not have a job but are looking to move to Costa Rica as an investor, you can take the investment route. It comprises many options of investments, with investment in real estate in Costa Rica being the most common with a property value of at least US $150,000.00. If you want additional details and the most up-to-date answers to all your  questions at Outlier Legal Services

Finding accommodations in Costa Rica is not difficult. All the ex-pats who move to Costa Rica have the same rights as local residents when it comes to buying or renting a house. 

Cost of Living in Costa Rica for a Canadian

On average, the cost of living in Canada is much higher than that in Costa Rica. With the exception of some areas, most Canadian ex-pats in Costa Rica spend much less money on a day-to-day basis than they would in Canada. As per most estimates, a single person can comfortably live on $1,200 to $2,000 a month, depending on their lifestyle. This includes housing, transportation, medical care, utilities, food, and entertainment. Real estate, whether renting or buying, is also much more affordable in Costa Rica. You can check out a detailed breakdown of the cost of living comparison between the two countries for a better estimate. 

Canadians Moving to Costa Rica With Pets

If you are planning to move to Costa Rica from Canada with pets, there are certain things to keep in mind. While coming to Costa Rica with your furry friend does not require a microchip or quarantine, they will need vaccinations other than the standard rabies shot. Your pet must also have a health certificate for the Export of Dogs and Cats to Costa Rica, endorsed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It is mandatory to use the specific bilingual certificate English/Spanish for Costa Rica that you can find on the CFIA webpage.

Costa Rica is a fantastic destination to spend your days after retirement. From its laid-back vibes to warm locals, pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and the vast expanse of forests, there is a lot to explore and enjoy. All this combined with the affordability and efficient facilities makes it a favorite among ex-pats from all over North America and Europe!


A few common questions Canadians ask about moving to Costa Rica

Can a Canadian citizen live in Costa Rica?

Canadian citizens can live as tourists in Costa Rica for up to 90 days and then file for a residency application to change their immigration status from tourism to residency. This must be done outside the country, which is why many ex-pats visit nearby Nicaragua as a requirement to stay. Once the residency application is presented, the person can remain in Costa Rica until a resolution has been made.

Where do most Canadian ex-pats live in Costa Rica?

Canadian ex-pats in Costa Rica are spread across the country but popular towns like Atenas, Grecia, Tamarindo, Escazu and Flamingo are home to a sizeable Canadian ex-pat population.

Why Costa Rica is a great retirement place for Canadians?

Costa Rica is a great retirement place for Canadians because of its lower cost of living when compared to Canada. Retirees can live a very comfortable life in a pleasant, tropical environment, in an affordable area with many other ex-pats and retirees to make friends with!

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Laurel and Tony,
The both of you were fantastic with us throughout the property search and purchase process. As we had mentioned, two other attempts to find thorough, attentive, responsive agents to work with in Tamarindo were failures. I expect that we are more work to deal with than many others as we asked a lot of thorough and analytical questions and expected responses to all of them. You two never failed to deliver. The organization and execution of our condo shopping trip in January was excellent and the fact that you two devoted 2 full days to us, around our schedule, to get this deal done was key to our success. The selection of properties that Laurel planned out, including a few places above and below our target zone helped us to refine our interests. We truly appreciated your interest in our success. This could easily have been very stressful for us, and yet, it wasn’t. Thank you very much.
As a side note, when we walked into the Coldwell Banker office randomly with no appointment in November had we not found your office staff patient and accommodating from the start we would have simply walked on to the next agency. Your staff deserves special mention for getting us interested in the agency to begin with.
We will give you some advance notice before we make our first trip down so that we can plan to get together for lunch or dinner. We are tentatively planning on somewhere in the last 2 weeks of May, as soon as our son gets out of school for the summer.

Dan Batliner, Costa Rica

While my computer is still running here, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for your help during our stay.
When we first came to your office, we were in dire straights and in desperate need of assistance. Andrea was extremely compassionate, spoke with candor, and had a "can do attitude" that was of immense help.
In addition, Andrea has put us in contact with Steve, with whom we are working, preparing to view a little property that might be just what we are looking for at this particular time.
In addition, having gotten to know Andrea personally as well as professionally has been our great pleasure. I wanted to let you know what a tremendous asset she is to your company. She is a great treasure -- a one in a million.

Tina Parker, Costa Rica

We are- UNHAPPILY- home safe. Would much rather be back in Tamarindo. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING you did to make our stay a joy ! We look very much forward to seeing you on our next trip to Costa Rica. PURA VIDA !

Steve Perry, Costa Rica

We had so much fun at Buena Vista. Thanks for arranging that with Memo.
I also want to say many thanks for all that you have done. We have enjoyed Costa Rica and I have found you so helpful with everything and a pleasure to deal with that it was a very stress free vacation. When I do come back here hopefully you will still be doing what what you do.
Our last couple of days will be spent enjoying the sunshine and eating at great restaurants. Sincerely,

Tara, Kevin and Roy., Costa Rica
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