Moving To Costa Rica… “pura vida” — the pure life

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Moving To Costa Rica… “pura vida” — the pure life

Moving To Costa Rica Shipping

With all of the political turmoil going on and many people saying they are going to move overseas if either he or she becomes the next president, I thought it might be a good time to discuss how you can actually do this and where are the best places to go to…… My vote would be Costa Rica.

Here are a few tips and tricks if you are thinking about moving overseas to Costa Rica.

If you are a citizen of the United States of America you can leave for a few years and come back or move permanently without affecting your USA citizen status. If you are on a green card however you cannot leave for more than 12 months. While you are enjoying yourself overseas bear in mind Uncle Sam will still want you to complete a tax return and you will have to declare all overseas earnings.

Here are a few facts to consider:

If you are North American, you can stay up to 90 days on a tourist visa in Costa Rica. You can rent property and a car on a tourist visa. Many people will hop over to Panama or Nicaragua and stay a day or two before coming back into Costa Rica. You could also fly back to the USA and get your fix of a good steak and replenish your wardrobe etc. while you are back and of course visit friends and family.

You can apply for residency as soon as you get there but it will take a while (12-24 months) it can be quite costly and obviously you will need an immigration lawyer to help you. Try and get a recommendation of a good immigration lawyer from another expat who has already completed the process. You can still get a driver’s license and function just fine without residency, while keeping your options open. Take your time and make sure it’s where you want to move overseas to before establishing residency.

Moving Doctor In Costa Rica

Of course the moving doctor had to go to Costa Rica and do some research!

I recommend visiting for prolonged periods of time, first, to get to know the country, the different towns, the people, and the culture, before you commit to it. Start out with a month or two and go from there. If you really want to see what it’s like, go during their rainy season/low to see what the area is like when there are no tourists.

If you’re not a legal resident but you are either working online or still earning wages outside of the country you are fine and you don’t need to worry about paying taxes in Costa Rica.

Moving my stuff to Costa Rica

If you want to move all your household items to Costa Rica: Please note the customs rules.

The importer must have entered the country within 90 days prior to clearing Customs.

The items must be for personal use and cannot be intended for resale.

The items must be used. (Used means more than 6 months old)

The importer has to be an adult.

If the shipment meets these criteria, the following items are exempt of duties:

Personal effects such as clothes, shoes, purses.

Personal pictures, videos and CD.

Hand tools for household use.

Portable gym equipment.

All other items pay the same percentage of duties as new items.  This does not mean you pay the same amount in duties though.

Helpful Info:

1. Books are exempt of duties no matter how they are shipped.

2. As long as the items are used and you meet the criteria above you can declare the value of the items without having to provide proof of the value. (Used household items are not worth much)

3. Duties will be based on the CIF value of the goods. CIF=Cost+Insurance+Freight.  Because of this, the amount you pay in freight will affect the duties. Most of the times it’s better to ship more because the more you ship the lower the shipping costs per item so therefore the lower proportional duties you are going to pay.

A self-load 20 foot shipping container is a great way to ship all your personal and household items to Costa Rica or anywhere else when contemplating an International Move. You can see more information on this 20 foot container service provided by UPakWeShip by clicking here.

For more information about International Moving please call 1 866 868 6386 or visit Email

We have fluent Spanish and Portuguese speaking staff to help you liaise with our local partners, translate documentation and advise more on customs information for anyone moving overseas to Central or South America.

Don’t consider an International move without consulting with UPakWeShip first. We know how to save you money on International Shipping!

The Moving Doctor
The Moving Doctor
"The Moving Doctor", Mark Nash has been in the moving business for over 33 years and currently sits on the board of the International Shippers Association and the Commercial Affairs committee at the International Association of Movers (IAM).

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