Long-Term Housing

Minimum Rental Periods

The minimum lease agreement period is 3 years, renewable automatically unless written notice is given to cancel. Rent increases each year per market index if the rent price is charged in colones. If rent is in USD, there are no annual increases.

Required Documents for Signing a Lease

Typical documents required to sign a lease are a valid passport and proof of employment.

Standard Security Deposit

The security deposit is equivalent to 1 months’ rent.

Local Norm for Returning the Security Deposit

The security deposit is returned 30 days after the contract expires, the property is returned.

Rental Commission

Should you utilize the services of a real estate agent to help you in your search, agencies usually collect rental commission equal to 1 months’ rent.

Payment of Rental Commission

The agent’s rental commission is typically paid by the landlord.

Accepted Method of Payment

Wire transfer or deposits from a local bank are preferred methods of payment.


School Registration

School Fees

Typical school fees include:

• Admission fee
• Matriculation fee
• Monthly tuition

Costs will vary depending on the school of choice.

Accepted Method of Payment

Wire transfer or deposits from a local bank are preferred methods of payment.

Additional Notes

It is required that families have an interview with school authorities. In addition, an admission is also required for each child.

International schools have limited available spaces so waiting lists are rather common.


Local Requirements

Residency Requirements

When you move to Costa Rica you may want or need to establish residency.  Requirements may include obtaining the Temporary Residency (DIMEX) which will be needed to open a bank account and obtain a local driver’s license.

It is advisable to connect with a local expert to identify any additional requirements and support available to assist in meeting the local requirements.

Obtaining a Driver’s License


Typical documentation required to obtain a driver’s license include:

• Social security card
• Valid ID with full name
• Valid passport
• Proof of address

You will also need to fill out the Application for Driver’s License, including a medical certificate. You must have been present in Costa Rica for 91 consecutive days in order to apply for the driver’s license.

Additional Notes

The process to get a driver’s license can take around 4 to 6 hours and can only be done on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There typically are no English speaking employees available in the government office where the process takes place.


Opening a Bank Account

Required Documents

In order to open a bank account, you may be asked for:

• Copy of residency card (DIMEX)
• Copy of utility bills to attest the address of residence
• Orden Patronal and an employment letter from employer stating how much is made each month
• Complete application form at bank branch
• Some banks may ask for a reference card from previous banks.

Time Required

Typically opening a bank account can be completed in 1 day.