After working so hard to woo American and European retirees, Costa Rica seemed to change its mind. The Costa Ricans didn’t drop their famous pensionado program.
They simply eliminated most of the tax breaks it had promised, as part of a deficit-reduction austerity package. And they didn’t grandfather existing pensionados.
Those then who chose Costa Rica for the retiree benefits it offered felt surprised and disappointed to find that those benefits existed no more.
Up until 1992, Costa Rica offered two major benefits for those who attained the pensionado status.
Firstly, the right to import a vehicle every five years free of import duties, which can cost up to 89% of the total of the vehicle.
Secondly, a one-time pardoning of import tariffs up to a thousand dollars in household goods.
Also, the average application only took a few months to complete, in stark comparison to the 12 to 18 month period it averages in these moments.
The process is far from convenient, but still, what keeps drawing retirees here is mostly a lower cost of living, that lets pensioners rely on their monthly payments in order to live comfortably.
Now the Costa Rican government is considering a further pensionado program adjustment.
They’re talking about increasing, even substantially, the minimummonthly income requirement to qualify, which currently sits at a thousand dollars. And, again, if the change goes, existing pensionados won’t get grandfathered. To renew your status, you’d have to qualify under the new requirements.