Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Costa Rica Sets “National Priority” to Attract Baby Boomers

Earlier this year, the national government of Costa Rica declared it had a “national priority” to attract Baby Boomers to retire in the country. The order was signed by former President Arias, and it directs certain ministries to take action to implement this priority. The government understands that each new retiree brings an income stream and activity to Costa Rica, and is responsible for the creation of 4 new jobs. The first policy changes will help make it easier to relocate to Costa Rica.

Already, Immigration processing is being streamlined. If a foreign retiree can prove that they will have at least $1000.00 (USD) coming into Costa Rica each month and can pass other immigration screenings (mostly centered on past police records in their home country), then they can receive their approved “Pensionada/Pensionado” residency status within 6 months of application. Such status allows a retiree to stay within Costa Rica for an unlimited period of time, and possibly work under certain circumstances. The latter aspect will be clarified when the rules and regulations related to the new Immigration Law are published and implemented.

Costa Rica is already attractive to foreign investors and one of the principal reasons is that it allows them to take 100% control of real estate and business investments. ( There is no requirement for local participation in asset ownership, with the exception of certain property zones in coastal areas. It also is a low tax environment, as the average property tax rate is ½ of 1% of recorded value, per year. Foreign retirees can add these investment advantages to easing immigration rules, as they consider Costa Rica.

The government estimates that 10,000 foreign retirees will make Costa Rica their home in 2010 and will increase national income by over $300 million (USD). This economic activity will come in many forms including house payments, food, medicine and recreation, and also from the wages of the new jobs that will be created. The capacity of the country to accept these new retirees each year is also the focus of the new national priority.
Future installments will address more dimensions of Costa Rica’s new national priority to attract Baby Boomers to make the country their new home. For perpsectives on adding Costa Rica to your life: