Work Permits in Costa Rica

Understand the requirements for foreigners coming to Costa Rica for work or self-employment...

Work permits (permisos para trabajar) are issued by the Department of Immigration (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería) and are needed by foreigners who want to work in Costa Rica. Work permits are issued according to profession and are valid for a year.

Workers who do not have the correct work permit can be fined and deported.

Foreign nationals with a residence certificate (cédula de residencia) or a refugee card (carne de refugiado) do not need a work permit and are subject to the same labor laws as Costa Rican nationals.

Workers not eligible for a work permit

Certain workers - usually from professions that are already well represented in Costa Rica - may not be eligible for a work permit.

  • For a list of professions where government advises against granting a work permit: Click here (in Spanish)