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  • Writer's pictureJill Reed

New Law Makes Moving to Costa Rica Easier

Did you know that Costa Rica is making it even easier and more affordable for citizens of other countries to move here? We are so excited and wish this new policy had been in place when we decided to move two years ago. By sharing it here with you, we hope it will give you good incentive to come on down and discover Pura Vida for yourself.

The idea is to kickstart the economy with foreign investment. With that in mind, a few key things are in this new law. The amount of investment dollars necessary to be considered for temporary residency has been lowered, import taxes on household goods and cars has been removed (for one time only), and you will even get a discount on government fees when you purchase property.

Our good friends over at International Relocation Partners kindly translated the official document.

One of the most forbidding aspects of moving all your things here is the import taxes. Costa Rica charges an extremely high tax rate on all imported goods, including household goods and cars. Especially cars!

Importing Goods and Vehicles

Removing the import tax on up to two vehicles for investors. This will save you so much money. Our brand new Toyota 4Runner was going to cost over $18,000 in taxes. Since cars in Costa Rica cost twice as much as in the states, we seriously considered it. Had there been no import tax, we would have done it in a heartbeat. A brand new 4Runner here costs $60,000.

You can find the current value of your own vehicles here on this Costa Rican government website. Import taxes are 45-85% of the stated value. This will depend on the year and the make/model. Imagine NOT paying that fee.

The new law allows for a one-time shipment of household goods tax free. Get ready to fill that container and bring your favorite things. We paid over $4000 in taxes on a 40ft container full of our household goods.

Without that tax, we would have been able to ship a whole 4 bedroom house of stuff from door to door, including packing, for around $10,000. That’s from Virginia to Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and included set-up on this end. See above mentioned movers.

Residency Possible with Less Investment

Probably the best part of this new law will be the opportunity to apply for residency at a reduced rate. Normally, you would have to spend at least $200,000 on property in order to qualify. That amount has been reduced to $150,000.

So, this means that when this bill is made law, if you purchase property valued at $150,000 as an investor in Costa Rica, you will be eligible to apply for residency. This is true for lots or homes or condos or whatever you decide is perfect for you and your family.

To recap quickly, there are four critical pieces to this exciting new law in Costa Rica that will benefit those wishing to relocate here.

  1. You can now apply for residency as an investor at a lower level ($150,000);

  2. You will be able to import household goods tax free (whoo hoo!);

  3. You will be able to import vehicles tax free (up to two), and

  4. You will receive a discount on the government transfer taxes when you purchase property. (small, but we’ll take it)

What are you waiting for? If you have been considering buying a home in Costa Rica and spending time here, either permanently or for some part of the year, now is the time to start looking at options.

Shipping Tips

We have tips on what to include on your shipping checklist. That will take up an entire separate piece, but here we can say with certainty, you will want to take advantage of the vehicle shipment tax break. If you have newer cars, it’s a great time to consider importing them.

The brands that do well here and are generally easier to service are Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, NIssan and Hyundai. We see these most often and parts aren’t as difficult to find. Range Rover, Mercedes and Volvo are a little harder to service, but if you are settling nearer the central valley, you should be fine.

If you are thinking about shipping a container, we advise including electronics (if new ones, include the receipts). Computers, televisions, internet routers and extenders, whole home electronics, etc., are all super expensive here and this is your chance to bring in high grade products tax free. Take it.

Household goods to bring along include kid’s items. We brought their bookshelves, kid size chairs, bedding, dressers, and their rocking chair and ottoman. If you have really little ones, bring all the baby gear. You can sell it once your kids grow out of it.

Lastly, we LOVE books and this is one thing we have truly missed having easy access to while living in Costa Rica. We had a massive library on our farm in Virginia and downsized significantly when we moved. It was heartbreaking, but people told us that bringing books down with us wasn’t smart because they mold in the humidity and are susceptible to bugs. This will depend on your lifestyle. It’s possible to have books.

Needless to say, we have lugged down books every chance we have had to travel back stateside. And, when friends and family visit, we have them bring an amazon haul with them. Our last trip to California included a MAGICAL afternoon at the Grove mostly in the Barnes and Noble. My advice: bring your books, especially ones you like to reread and kid friendly series that will keep your littles engaged in reading.

Move to Costa Rica, Bring Your Stuff

This new incentivizing law makes it the perfect time for you to pack it up and embark on your adventure. It’s not as difficult as you imagine and it’s easier than ever. Look for more tips and suggestions from us in the coming weeks on the most efficient ways to make the move.

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