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Costa Rica Real Estate - FAQ

Q: Can foreigners own land in Costa Rica?

A: Costa Rica's laws and Constitution protect private ownership of land. Foreigners enjoy the same rights as citizens, with reasonable exceptions. There are almost no restrictions to foreign ownership of private land (land with registered title already created and registered in individual or corporate names). A major restriction is that land given or sold to Costa Rican citizens as part of a government land distribution program is not initially transferable to foreigners, although such land may be freely traded and acquired by foreigners after the original owner has held it for a certain period of time. Neither citizenship nor residence, or even presence in the country, is required for land ownership.

Most coastal land 200 meters inland from the mean high tide line is government owned. Port areas, some old Spanish land grants, and titles prior to 1973 are the principal exceptions. The first 50 meters inland are considered public and inalienable, and the next 150 meters are obtainable for private use under lease to citizens, foreigners with five-years┤ residence, or nominative share corporations with at least 50 percent of the original stock held by Costa Rican citizens.


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