Work Permits

In order to work in Costa Rica, a foreigner has two options:

  • Obtain a work permit via a Costa Rican employer
  • Apply for residency

If you are getting your work permit through your employer, there’s not much to worry about. A few papers to fill out and sign, and your employer takes care of the rest.




If you try to get a work permit by applying for residency, there is a lot more red tape. It is suggested that you work with a local lawyer to help you gain permanent residence. Once you get resident status, you can apply for a work permit. This process can take 30 -60 days. A temporary residence permit may take 3 to 6 months to process.

Jobs in Costa Rica

Typical jobs for foreigners include teaching English, tour guides, and working at hotels and hostels. If you are looking for a more corporate job, there are plenty of larger companies near San Jose. You can check out the local newspapers, The Tico Times, for these jobs, or even search for them before you leave. Self employment is also an option to consider.

Many budget travelers who plan on staying in Costa Rica for an extended time get jobs at hostels. These are prefect because they usually offer you a free place to stay, as well as a small paycheck. Don’t count on a paycheck as your only form of income though. Some hostels only offer free room and board in exchange for work. Jobs in Costa Rica hostels can vary, but may include front desk, maintenance, janitorial, bar tender, and other random jobs.