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Today we’re talking about the Moving to Costa Rica YouTube Series. We’re going to give you guys a monthly update on where we are on our big move to Costa Rica. We want to keep you up to date on everything we’ve done. Starting from our decision to move abroad right up until we are now on our move to Costa Rica.
In May 2020, we started thinking about what it would look like to move abroad and what it would take. As they passed by, that conversation started getting a little more serious. Finally, we began making steps toward that direction of moving outside of the United States.
One of the first pieces of stock we did was put together a list of what we wanted our life to look like outside the United States. Wherever we move, wherever our new home is, what that new has offered us.
1. What does that state’s government look like?
We don’t want to give up any rights that we already have as United States citizens, so we’re looking for some sort of democracy.
2. That state needs to be US Expat community friendly
We don’t want to go anywhere where we would not be welcomed.
3. We want an economic system that is friendly to entrepreneurs
We’re both business owners, so we’re looking for a country that likes business owners and allows us to start businesses, run businesses, and profit from those businesses.
4. Race friendly
They have to be accepting of interracial relationships. We need a place where we can feel safe as individuals and as a couple and a safe place to start a family.
5. Universal healthcare system
This is a big-ticket item on our list. We believe all citizens should have access to quality medical services and health insurance.
6. Environmentally conscious
Weekly environmentally conscious people, and we’re looking for a community that is also that way. We rely on mother nature to take care of us, so we have to take care in turn. That’s just how it works.
7. Great weather, a warm climate, and a beautiful coastline
I know there’s an argument that we can find that in the United States on the west coast, but unfortunately, California is super expensive. Moving to the west coast and living on the beach is not in our budget. We’re looking for that package in a country where we can live affordably in the beach towns.
As of now, we both speak one language. It’s English. We want to move to a country with English as the top two spoken language. It doesn’t have to be the number one spoken language but a second language.
That’s also a pretty apparent reason. We only speak English right now. We plan to learn other languages, but we need a sound footing and a place to start, right? So, English is a requirement for us.
Choosing the right country
After we put that list together, we narrowed it down to two countries, beautiful New Zealand and Costa Rica. Costa Rica ended up winning out for three specific reasons. And just like that, we were moving to Costa Rica!
Proximity to the United States
You can get there in as little as three hours or 300 bucks flying from the United States. So that makes it easy for us to travel back and forth to the States.
Affordability/Cost of living
The dollar stretches further in Costa Rica, especially New Zealand, where the dollar is not as strong. So our money will go further in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is in the central time zone, which is fantastic because it will make it easy for us to keep up with our family and friends and work digitally through the United States. That’s huge.
Once we had that long list of things we wanted in moving to Costa Rica, it was time to start planning to get there. Unfortunately, at this point, I think we’re a little overwhelmed.
Making a plan
With this in mind, we know we need to get help. So that’s pretty much one of the first things we did. We reached out to a Costa Rica ex-pat consultant named Sarah Elena.
We’ve been working with her ever since. Sarah Elena makes that transition from moving from her home country to Costa Rica as smoothly as possible. She has already helped us in several ways in just a short window since we’ve worked with her in just a few months.
A few things Sarah Elena has done that have been incredibly helpful is just being a good source of information, number one. She has a course she gives to everyone she works with that shows you how to move from your country to Costa Rica. She has everything from getting your pets there, paperwork you need to get together, how to move, and figuring out a budget.
Several different resources are just beneficial. She helps us decide where we want to start living because we think Costa Rica is beautiful. We researched several cities and places and couldn’t determine which one we liked more. But after talking to her, we finally decided onsite ace where we would start Playa Hermosa, a minor key town outside Jaco.
She helped us with that. She also helped with the development budget so we knew what lifestyle we could have. And also, come with one that’s reasonable for what we’re trying to do in Costa Rica. One of the most important things she’s probably done up to this point is to connect us to our residency lawyer, Andreas.
Doing the paperwork
Our lawyer, Andreas, has been accommodating because he helped us on our home side. He helped with what you need to do to get your paperwork to become a permanent resident in Costa Rica. The first thing we had to do was get our birth certificate, our marriage certificate, and federal background checks apostille.
We’ve never heard that term before. I know we didn’t get it before this conversation with Andreas. It pretty much means getting it authenticated or notarized, but it’s just a specific way you must do it for Costa Rica.
It took us three months to get this paperwork apostille because the federal background check takes quite a long time to complete just because it had to be sent to DC. In contrast, our marriage certificate only took a couple of weeks.
Everything was backed up by COVID. So COVID played a significant role in why it was slower. Typically, you can walk into many of these places to complete this paperwork, but that is no longer an option for most of these places because of COVID.
So, yes, snail mail for that whole process. The good news is that we have received all of our apostilles back in the mail, which means we can move on to the next step with our paperwork.
How to become a permanent resident
There are five ways that people can become permanent residents of Costa Rica. Two of those ways actually apply to us. One of those ways to become a permanent resident is to be an investor in Costa Rica.
You must invest $200,000 into a business or a piece of property. The next one that applied to us is called Rentista Residency. The condition is to guarantee $2500 worth of itself for the next two years. During these two years, you are a temporary resident.
The income from a job that you are currently working is not applicable. Instead, we guarantee that income by putting $60,000 into a certificate of deposit in the United States that is deposited into a Costa Rican bank.
It pays up to $2500 monthly for two years. Andreas is helping us get all that set up. He’s talking to our banks. He’s helping us put the paperwork together,e is putting it all in one package, and submit that with our residency packet.
Off to a good start
After meeting with Sarah and Andreas last time, we could take a step back and look at everything we accomplished. Then, we looked at what there still is to do and set a timeline for ourselves when we’ll actually be heading to Costa Rica. The day we came up with is June 2021, which is less than four months.
Just under four months from now. There’s a lot of work to be done in a little bit of time. Some of those things that we’ll be doing are selling our investment propend parties, selling everything we have in our 1500 square foot home because we want to travel light.
It’s a lot less expensive to travel light. So we’re getting rid of everything. That includes our personal homes, our cars, etc. We plan to cancel subscriptions and close accounts that we don’t use.
We can knock off our to-do list outside of the significant work that we completed because we’ve sold one of our real estate investment properties. We did that a couple of weeks ago. So we’re super excited about it: one down, two more good go.
We’re off to a good start, but more is coming. So that’s our update for this month. We will have another update for you all next month regarding where we are with moving to Costa Rica.