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a) In Costa Rica, certain areas destined for industrial development, have been designated by the State. These areas are based on the infrastructure and the facilities they offer to those companies dedicated to the manufacture and production of merchandise for the local, as well as the regional and international markets. Businesses established under the industrial umbrella or industrial parks within zones designated by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce, are entitled to the following benefits:

  •  Partial exemption from municipal taxes.
  •  Access to preferential loans, through the National Banking System. - Large reductions in income tax.
b) The Seaports and Airports of Costa Rica

Located in the Central American isthmus, between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica has access to the farthest reaches of the world by both Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.
The growing demands for foreign trade, especially concerned with the exportation of the country's basic products (coffee, banana, meat and sugar) made it necessary to generate a transportation infrastructure which would allow the movement of these goods. At present, the most modern of transportation technology has been added to conventional services
available in Costa Rica. This system is a computerized transportation service, which opens up a whole new range of opportunities for entering, previously unattainable markets.

Duty-Free Zones have been established near the seaports and also in the interior of the country, where specialized labor is more readily available and complementary industries are closer.

The seaports of Limon and Moin, located on the Atlantic coast are within a few kilometers of each other. They are connected to the Pacific through the Panama canal, which makes is possible to move products from one coast to the other. The ports facilities in Limon are primarily for container shipments, principally to handle the cargo of fruits. Both ports offer roll-on/roll-off service.

Puntarenas, a major center of tourism, also is an important port of the Pacific area. At present, the great majority of Pacific cargo is handled at the modern port of Caldera, located a few kilometers south of Puntarenas.

Caldera is very well connected, by the modern southern coastal highway , with the Central Valley.

The Juan Santamaría International Airport situated a few kilometers from the capital city, is frequented by several international airlines, The airport is connected directly with Europe, the U.S.A and South America. The Juan Santamaría Airport is becoming more and more the hub of international air cargo for the entire region. This represents a great attraction for those companies who operate large capacity international air cargo craft and are in a need for new routes and markets.

Medical Services...

Medical care in the capital city of San Jose is adequate. However, in areas outside of San Jose, medical care is more limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation, has proven useful in many emergencies. For additional health information, travelers may contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers' hotline at (404) 332-4559.


By law, elementary school is free and obligatory. Some 70% of secondary education is provided by public high schools with accredited private schools providing the rest.

Costa Rica has many national and international universities offering a variety of degrees. Some specialize in agriculture, international relations or in the environment. In addition to the universities, Costa Rica is filled with schools offering a North-American or European -style education from pre-kinder through high school.


Investment Issues: Costa Rica has a long history of investment and real estate scams and frauds perpetrated against U.S. citizens and international visitors. Title insurance is not available in Costa Rica. There have been numerous instances of duly registered property reverting to previously unknown owners who have shown they possess clear title and parallel registration. In addition, some U.S. citizen landowners have had longstanding expropriation disputes with the government of Costa Rica, and others have had their property invaded by squatters, whom they have been unable to evict. Pavones, on the south Pacific coast, is the area most affected by squatter/landowner disputes. Persons contemplating buying land should seek competent legal advice concerning their rights as landowners, inspect the property, and assess local conditions prior to purchase.

Hot Investment Opportunities...

Costa Rica is a great place for investments, because of its stability, strategic location, infrastructure, inexpensive labor force and government incentive programs. Costa Rica has been recognized by many well known international companies as a good place to invest.
These companies are now established in Costa Rica, and exporting high quality products. These products made in Costa Rica are now being proudly displayed to a demanding world market. Among the government organizations with which the potential investor should make contact is the National Center for the Promotion of Exports (CENPRO). Another organization that may assist you in this area is The Costa Rican Coalition of Incentives for
Development (CINDE) with offices in Miami, California, Chicago, New York, Holland and Hong Kong. The services offered by CINDE to the investor include an extension program, feasibility studies, transfer of technology, the search for new markets and the commercialization of products.

The government is very interested in promoting investment. A special interest in activities that lead to exportation, tourism or that help raise the technological and environmental level of the country is evident in governmental legislation. Incentives offered include the possibility of certain lines of financing and exoneration of some taxes and of import duties on some equipment and raw materials.


Local and international services are available at both state and private banking institutions. Banking hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (without a break).

Evening banking services are also available from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The official currency is the "colón" and the exchange rate against the dollar varies every day. Dollars can be changed at any of the Banks.


Costa Rica offers a variety of means to acquire legal residency. As a legal resident, one enjoys the freedoms and most of the important rights of native Costa Ricans. Regulations concerning retirees and residency are covered under Costa Rican Law Number 4812,
passed in July, 1971. The "Resident Annuitants and Resident Pensioners Law" allows for people with guaranteed incomes to become legal residents. You also retain your original citizenship in your home country. The law's two parts, the "Rentista" and the "Pensionado," differ only in the amount of money required.

For the "Rentista" (someone living in Costa Rica but not "retired"), the dollar amount which must be available for conversion to the local currency each month is US $1,000.00. Any person over the age of 18 may apply for the status of "Rentista." The "Pensionado" (someone actually retired), must have a guaranteed US $600.00 monthly generated through a verifiable pension fund such as Social Security, private company retirement plan, IRA, or other retirement fund, and available to the retiree for life. If you cannot provide such documented income, LFC can provide you with an Annuity Trust Fund which will qualify.

Application for residency under this law requires a number of ancillary documents--ancillary, that is, to the primary documentation of funds available from an appropriate source. These are:

1. Birth certificate of the applicant, spouse, and any children who may be part of the family.
2. Marriage certificate, if applicable.
3. Certification from a law enforcement agency verifying no police record.
4. Certified photocopies of all pages of the applicant's passport.
5. Twelve passport-size photos (six front and six profile) of each person involved.
 Residency applications under this law are processed by the Costa Rican Tourist Board and usually take no more than six months. While one is waiting for residency he may reside in the country as a tourist providing he exits the country for at least 72 hours every three months. Also, a Rentista or Pensionado should plan on living in Costa Rica a minimum of four months a year although this provision may be waived under special circumstances.

Neither Rentistas nor Pensionados can work for a Costa Rican company as paid employees.
However, work is permitted if the resident is a share-holder in a Costa Rican company and/or is a company's legal representative. Naturally, if one is employed by a company outside of Costa Rica, (providing that the company does not do business inside the country) income from such employment is not taxable.

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