Opening a Bank Account in Costa Rica
Opening a bank account in Costa Rica can be a straightforward process once you have all the paperwork in order. Costa Rica has strong banking regulations to prevent it from becoming a haven for tax evasion and money laundering. Costa Rica banks require more paperwork than a US bank. Here’s a guide to opening an account in Costa Rica.
- There are state-owned and private banks in Costa Rica. While state-owned banks guarantee deposits, they tend to have long lines, especially on paydays. Private banks usually have a bilingual staff, shorter lines, better service, and established relationships in the U.S.
- Foreigners must have a DIMEX card (residency card), which is issued by immigration to open an account. Tourists may also be able to open an account using just their passport at certain institutions.
- Most banks require a minimum deposit of $25 or 5,000 Costa Rica colonies.
- To open a bank account you must provide proof of residency through a utility bill or lease.
- Proof of income is required to open an account. Independent contractors need to produce a letter or “certification of income” from an accountant and a salaried employee can provide proof of income through their local employer.
- A local policy “Conoza a Su Cliente (know your client) requires US citizens with a Costa Rica bank account to verify and update personal information every year. The IRS also requires forms to be filled out every year to remain compliant with US tax codes.
- Costa Rica’s income tax rules must be observed by Americans while residing in the country and must report living and working abroad worldwide income to the IRS.
These steps apply to both personal and business accounts. Most of the paperwork revolves around reporting income to comply with Costa Rica as well as international banking laws. Foreigners should consult with an accountant knowledgeable about US tax codes as well as Costa Rica’s requirements for foreign nationals to make sure they comply with the necessary regulations and rules. Before opening an account, carefully weigh the pros and cons of whether to go with a private or public institution based on your preferences and banking needs.
Exclusive Homes Costa Rica is a full-service real estate company that helps buyers and sellers acquire and retail property. Exclusive Homes is locally owned and operated by Shawn Ferguson and Dennis Lara and offers experience and expertise at development and management of residential vacation properties, as well as commercial, office, and mixed-use developments in Costa Rica.
The owners and brokers of Exclusive Homes Costa Rica have worked years to put together a network of professionals both in Costa Rica and Internationally. Highlighted by the fact they are connected both nationally and internationally with realtor.org, and are members of the real estate associations who act as Costa Rica’s governing bodies for real estate professionals.
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