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Foreigners can own property and invest in Costa Rica !!

House for sale in Flamingo Beach Costa Rica

Never a ship sails out of the bay But carries my heart as a stowaway ~ Roselle Mercier Montgomery, writer, 1874-1933

Foreigners can own property and invest in Costa Rica, but real estate laws and practices are different than those you are used to. If you are thinking of buying a place, find a good lawyer. Consult the list at the US Embassy or the American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce (. 506/220-2200, www.amcham.co.cr) for recommendations. Also see the Association of Costa Rican Residents, below. Real estate agents are not required to have a license. You should choose one that is registered with the Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors (. 506/283-0191, caccbr@sol.racsa.co.cr). Unfortunately, Costa Rica has more than its fair share of scam artists that have ripped off trusting souls willing to invest in anything from teak farms and beachfront property to bars and hotel projects.

Author tip: If you leave your property vacant or undeveloped, you may lose your land to squatters, who have archaic rights to take unused land. Hire a local caretaker.

Rent First before you buy your dream house in Costa Rica, we recommend that you rent for awhile. This will allow you to experience the different seasons and also get to know the lifestyle and the immediate community. However, it’s often the case that people decide they want to live in Costa Rica because they find a property that is absolutely perfect. Resist the urge. Plan on living here a year before you commit to a large financial outlay. That once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will come again, and we speak from personal experience.

Some people make many trips here before deciding to make a permanent move. Though not technically legal, people commonly overstay their 90- day visa in order to experience more of Costa Rica, paying the US $50 fine (plus a small amount for every month past the 90 days) upon departure. This works best for those who stay less than one year. There are also many “perpetual tourists” that leave the country every three months for 72 hours (often to Panama or Nicaragua) and, upon re-entry, obtain a new visa. However, officials have been cracking down on perpetual tourists, so don’t count on it as an option.

We do not reommend to overstay without getting a visa extension. There are new regulations, because of the problems in Argentina etc. Please apply for residency in you own country, if you are planning to move to Costa Rica. Look at our immigration page for the documents needed. This will safe you a lot of money, travel and problems. If you are caught illegally in Costa Rica by an officer, they have the option to put you in jail for 24 hours to check your papers, and believe me, you don't want to experience this.

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