- Latin America
- Middle East
- TEFL Certification
- Job Search Guidance
- Teach English Online
- Diversity Abroad
- Video Library
What Type of Visa Do I Need for Teaching English in Costa Rica?
Written by: John Bentley
Last Updated: January 14, 2021
Looking to teach English in Costa Rica?
Why not?! This beautiful nation in Central America offers a tropical climate, beautiful beaches, lush rain forests and historic cities. It is also one of the strongest job markets for teaching English in Latin America.
One critical matter to learn about no matter where you decide to teach English abroad are visas and/or work permits that you might need to acquire to teach English. Visa requirements and practices vary from country to country so it's important that you learn what the exact policies and practices are in each country that you are researching.
So, What Type of Visa do I Need to Teach English in Costa Rica?
Tourist visas are the most common for English teachers to work on in Costa Rica, however, they have to be renewed every 90 days. To renew a tourist visa in Costa Rica an English teacher will need to leave the country before his/her tourist visa expires by visiting a neighboring country. Upon entry back into Costa Rica the teacher’s passport will be stamped with a new tourist visa. Working on a tourist visa in Costa Rica is different than most countries as it is technically legal to do so because teachers are allowed to “sell their professional services” without getting a work visa.
For Americans, Canadians and most citizens of Western European nations, you can obtain your tourist visa upon arrival in Costa Rica. To check if citizens of your country can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival, please contact the Costa Rican consulate in your country of residence.
Upon Arrival in Costa Rica - Get a Tax I.D. Number at the Tributación
The Tributación is a government office that oversees income taxes in Costa Rica. Each city in Costa Rica has a branch and it is important that you register here in order to receive a tax identification number. This enables you to work legally in Costa Rica though you will still need to leave the country every 90 days to renew your tourist visa.
Teachers in Costa Rica only have to pay taxes if they make more than $8,000 per year so many do not end up having to pay taxes, but you still must be registered in order to work legally. NOTE: many teachers and schools find creative ways to report just enough income to avoid paying taxes.
Follow the steps below to receive your tax number:
- You do not need to wait until you have a job to register however, you do need to have a local address. You must visit and register at the Tributación in the same city as listed in your local address.
- Bring your passport, a copy of your passport, and your local address in order to register.
- Once you receive your tax number, take it to a print shop and have a book of receipts made. This is how you will log your hours. Each time you receive payment from your school, you will give them a receipt from this book.
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article is correct as of the time of writing, however visa policies and practices are subject to change at any time. We recommend that you speak to an International TEFL Academy Advisor about visas and teaching English abroad and bear in mind that the final authority regarding visas, work permits and labor laws will be the government of each individual country. You can speak with an expert TEFL advisor by calling 773-634-9900.
John Bentley is Co-Founder & Senior Writer for International TEFL Academy (ITA), the world leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad. A graduate of Harvard University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, John is a recognized expert in the field of TEFL. His articles have appeared across the field's top websites, including GoAbroad.com, StudyAbroad.com, InterExchange, GoOverseas.com, Adventure Teaching, & many others. He has also spoken as an expert on Teaching English Abroad & TEFL certification at major conferences like MeetPlanGo and Lessons from Abroad (LFA) in Portland & San Diego.
Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad?
Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad or online, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.
- How Can Americans Get a Work Visa to Teach English in Germany?
- Top 5 Spanish Speaking Countries for Teaching English Abroad
- 8 Reasons Why ITA Offers the Best TEFL Course in Costa Rica
- Teaching English in Peru - Preparing for the Worst, It's Not What I Thought
- The Requirements for Teaching English in Korea
- What You Need to Know Before Moving to Spain to Teach English (The Ultimate Super Cheat Sheet)
- Teaching English in Jaco, Costa Rica: Alumni Q&A with Paige Gavrelos
- How Long Are Contracts For Teaching English Abroad?
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Teach English Abroad in Mexico in 2021
- What Is Teaching English Abroad "Under the Table" Without a Work Visa?
- 10 Companies That Let You Teach English Online Without a Degree
- What is TEFL and What is TEFL Certification?
- 10 Things They Don't Tell You About Living in South Korea
- 10 Companies Where You Can Teach English Online to Adults
- 7 Companies That Hire Non-Native English Speakers to Teach English Online
- Teaching English Online from the USA - Q&A with Joelle Mulzac
- Top 10 Reasons to Teach English in Seoul, South Korea
- What I Learned About Myself From Living & Teaching English in Germany
- Volunteer Teaching in Guinea-Bissau: Q&A with Marit Snow Sawyer
- What It's Like Traveling to Thailand During COVID-19 to Teach English