Recognition of foreign qualifications in Costa Rica

Hello everyone,

Were your professional qualifications recognised in Costa Rica? What country did you complete your qualifications in? What profession are you in?

Did you have to go through any formalities to get your qualifications recognised, such as to have them translated?

If your qualifications weren't recognised, were there any additional tests or exams you had to complete before you were able to practice your profession in Costa Rica or continue with your studies?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


One cannot legally work here unless they have a work visa or have gained Permanent residency which can take 4-5 years.

In the medical professions, rectification must be done ... in Spanish. Other 'professionals' are required to join the various professional groups, as required.

Spanish is the language of the country, so be prepared to learn it.

When I arrived in 2000 as an IB teacher, I could work on temporary residency without having my professional qualifications authenticated. Generally, rules are now stricter although this depends on your professional field. If your employer sponsors your temporary residency, then you can work in the country, but it must be established that you are doing a job that no Costa Rican can do.

Of course, you should learn Spanish to live in Costa Rica but this may not be essential for your job. Many international companies are operating here with multicultural teams.

In order to work here legally you have to have a type of residency called "Residencia Libre de Condiciones." If you are a profesional like a doctor,for example, you will have to take some exams in Spanish and do a year of social service in order to work here.

Many foreigners work remotely over the Internet and are not subject to the rules above.

I know some expats who work under the table but it is very risky. If they get caught working here illegally, they can be deported. The government does not want foreigners taking jobs away from Costa Ricans.

Bottom line: It is best to obey the labor laws here to avoid problems.

I hope this helps.

Christopher Howard

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