Updated 3 years ago

Looking forward to work in Costa Rica? Find, in this article, all you need to know about its labor market and some tips to help you land a job.

Costa Rica's population, to date, includes a large number of foreigners, particular US nationals who moved there for professional reasons. Indeed, most of them have been transferred to Costa Rica by their international company. But if you are not as lucky as they were, you can still find a job in the country with appropriate information and planning. Indeed, you are advised to inquire on the local labor market's requirements beforehand, and make sure to have updated your resume and cover letter according to Costa Rican norms so as to demonstrate your motivation to work there.

 Good to know:

You are very likely to be hired as a consultant at start. Indeed, this is a common practice in Costa Rica, although it involved the fact that you will have to leave the country every 30 or 90 days, and that you have to register to the Social Security system. But keep in mind that, in terms of employment, Costa Ricans have the priority over foreigners.


While applying for a job in Costa Rica, make sure to have all necessary documents within reach and that these are valid. A good level of English, and why not Spanish which is the country's official language, will definitely be an asset.

Promising fields

Expatriates having a degree in English and who are fluent on the phone are likely to be hired as private teachers or call center operators. However, do not expect a whopping salary. But you can still earn a bit more than the average, that is less than US$ 1,000 per month. Note that many foreign and international companies operating in Costa Rica tend to prefer qualified and skilled locals to foreigners.

Besides English teaching and call centers, tourism, information and communication technology, self-entrepreneurship, advertising and real estate also provide career prospects for foreigners.

Work legally

In all cases, to be allowed to work legally in Costa Rica, you must have a work permit and a temporary or permanent resident visa.

Work permit

The work permit is issued to foreigners when employers are able to prove that the required expertise is not available locally. It is then considered as a specific immigration. The work permit can be issued both to employees and entrepreneurs who are able to justify, to the Immigration Department, the fact that their qualifications and skills are required in Costa Rica. It will allow you to live in Costa Rica as long as your employment contract is valid.

To apply for a work permit, the following documents have to be produced:

  • a letter from your employer, justifying the recruitment of a foreigner due to the fact that the required expertise is not available locally (this letter should contain details regarding the field of activity, your employer's full name, nationality, occupation, the company's address as well as your name, date of birth, your future address and the duration of your employment contract, etc.)
  • proof that your employer will be able to remunerate you (the company's certified financial statements)
  • a certified copy of your passport, birth certificate (authenticated at the Costa Rican consulate or embassy in your home country)
  • your fingerprints.

Permanent resident visa

Managers, technical employees, representatives, leaders, etc., are allowed to work in Costa Rica with a temporary resident visa. But you will not be allowed to work with a temporary resident visa if you do not belong to either of these categories of workers. Note, moreover, that it is mandatory to have a temporary resident visa to be eligible to a permanent resident visa.

Once you have obtained your permanent resident permit, you are not required to report with the Immigration Department. Indeed, you will be considered at the same level as locals.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Job offers in Costa Rica
Expat.com – Work in Costa Rica Forum
Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social www.mtss.go.cr
Busco Empleo – Public Employment Service www.buscoempleocr.com
El Empleo www.elempleo.com
Linked In www.linkedin.com
Craiglist costarica.en.craigslist.org

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.