Work Permit Applications

Understand the requirements and procedure when applying for a work permit in Costa Rica...

The company offering employment should apply for the work permit on behalf of the employee. It is the employee's responsibility to keep their documents in order.

Copies of documents issued in an applicant's home country need to be certified by a Costa Rican consulate in the applicant's country of residence. To apply for a work permit, the following documents are needed:

  • Completed application form from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería
  • Birth certificate
  • Copy of passport (a few copies may be required)
  • Certified and authenticated marriage certificate, if necessary
  • Criminal background check from home country
  • Passport photographs (at least four, more may be required)
  • Statement from the company offering employment
  • Company registration and social security documents
  • Proof of qualifications

If applicable to the work permit, applicants may also be required to:

  • Register at the Costa Rican Ministry of Security (Ministerio de Seguridad Pública) and have their fingerprints taken
  • Register with the official Costa Rican association of the profession
  • For a full list of requirements for each sector: Click here (in Spanish)

Self Employment

To apply for a work permit to become self-employed in Costa Rica, the following documents are needed:

  • Completed application form from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería
  • Letter stating name, nationality, age, occupation, reason for application, residential and postal address
  • Two recent passport photographs
  • A record of fingerprints (registro de huellas), which is issued by the Ministry of Security (Ministerio de Seguridad Pública) to check background and criminal record
  • Birth certificate
  • Copies of all passport pages (either authenticated or compared against the original in front of an official at the time of application)
  • Business license (Patente Municipal) issued by the local municipality
  • Certification of income by an authorized public accountant
  • Proof of payment of taxes, where applicable
  • For a full list of requirements: Click here (PDF in Spanish)

Copies of documents issued in an applicant's home country need to be certified by a Costa Rican consulate in the applicant's country of residence.

Applications are submitted to the Department of Immigration and a response is given within 90 days of the application.