Costa Rica

Doing Business In Costa Rica

  1. In Doing Business 2013, Costa Rica is ranked 110th out of 185 economies, recording an increase of 12 points compared to last year. This increase reflects a 14 point improvement in the Getting Credit indicator and 11 point increases in the Trading Across Borders and Dealing with Construction Permits indicators.
  2. According to the latest Enterprise Surveys (2010), the top 3 obstacles to running a business in Costa Rica include Access to Finance, Practices of the Informal Sector, and an Inadequately Educated Workforce. A large majority of firms (70.4%) report competing with unregistered or informal firms, compared with the regional average of 62.3%.
  3. Costa Rican legislation provides for equal treatment of domestic and foreign investors with respect to ownership of local companies. As a result, most of the industry sectors covered by the Investing Across Sectors indicators are fully open to foreign equity ownership. As a notable exception, foreign capital participation in the electricity sector is restricted.
  4. Costa Rica’s economic freedom score is 68.0, making its economy the 44th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score is 0.7 point higher than last year, reflecting small increases in four of the 10 economic freedoms including monetary freedom and labor freedom. Costa Rica is ranked 7th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is higher than the global and regional averages.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Passport-carrying nationals of the following countries are allowed 90 days’ stay with no visa: most western European countries, Argentina, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama and the USA.
Citizens of Australia, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela are allowed to stay for 30 days with no visa. Others require a visa from a Costa Rican embassy or consulate. These lists are subject to continual change. For the latest info, check the websites of the ICT ( or the Costa Rican embassy ( in Washington, DC.
Extending your stay beyond the authorized 30 or 90 days is a time-consuming hassle. It is far easier to leave the country for 72 hours and then re-enter. Otherwise, go to the office of migración (immigration; tel: 2220 0355; 8am-4pm) in San José, opposite Channel 6, about 4km north of Parque La Sabana. Requirements for extensions change, so allow several working days.
Onward Tickets
Travelers officially need onward tickets before they are allowed to enter Costa Rica. This requirement is not often checked at the airport, but travelers arriving by land should anticipate a need to show an onward ticket.
If you’re heading to Panama, Nicaragua or another Central or South American country from Costa Rica, you may need an onward or roundtrip ticket before you will be allowed entry into that country or even allowed to board the plane if you’re flying. A quick check with the appropriate embassy – easy to do via the internet – will tell you whether the country that you’re heading to has an onward-ticket requirement.

Business Etiquette

General Business Hours