Married to or Relationship to Costa Rican Citizen - "Vínculo" Program
The non-Costa Rican applicant must prove that he/she is in a relationship in the first degree, either by marriage or by birth, with a Costa Rican citizen, and the Costa Rican citizen must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s residency. The Vínculo Program includes applications for a spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, and unmarried siblings (brothers or sisters), but the program does not include grandparents, uncles or aunts.
• Vínculo by Marriage:
In-Country Requirement: Once approved, the resident agrees to live in Costa Rica for at least 1 day (one day) per year. The marriage must be officially recorded with the Registro Civíl in Costa Rica and the Registro must be able to issue a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
Issue to consider: Early in 2010 Migración issued an internal memorandum announced that the applicant needs to prove that the marriage is not a sham when the couple has been married for less than 2 years on the date the application is filed. The announced did not indicate the method required to prove that the marriage is, indeed, legit.
Type of residency: Temporary if the couple has been married for less than two years. However, the residency is likely to be granted as a permanent residency if the couple has been married longer than 2 years. The temporary resident can apply for permanent residency after being a temporary resident for three (3) years.
Work permit: Undetermined - Pending issuance of Guidelines by Migracíon. Until recently all vínculo applications were granted permanent residencies with a work permit. However, Migración is now issuing temporary residencies when the couple has been married for less than 2 years. It is not clear at this time if those less than two-year old marriages are granted a work permit. There is a presumption that if the couple has been married longer than 2 years that the marriage is not a sham and those residencies would have a work permit.
• Vínculo by having a child born in Costa Rica
Vínculo applications based upon having a child born in Costa Rica, and therefore a Costa Rican citizen, are approved as permanent residents. The parent(s) and siblings (brothers and sisters) of the Costa Rican citizen receive unrestricted residencies with built-in work permits.
Work permit: Yes, built-in as a permanent resident.