Legal Advice and jumping through administrative procedures/formalities

The appropriate deployment of an entire business in Costa Rica also involves a series of legal requirements and administrative procedures/formalities, which are principally related to areas of commercial law, intellectual property/copyrights, and labor and notarial law. Our lawyers will help a society conform to and carry the corresponding legal books/paperwork, undergo the analysis and registration of the brand and other distinctive processes such as the certification of land use, solicitation of commercial patents, liquor licenses and sanitary registries, carry out employment contracts of professional service providers, under confidentiality or any other way among others.


At allaboutbusiness we perform all the necessary domestic administrative procedures/formalities, from the compliance agreement all the way to the Costa Rican legislation:


Registration at the costa rican department of social security (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social -CCSS)


The first step is to register as an employer and insure your employee at the central or regional offices of the CCSS department within 8 days following the date your employee obtained his/her first income. Subsequently the employer must pay the social security quotas in monthly installments which compromise 35.34% of the salary (9.17% for the employee and 26.17% for the employer).


Registration in the national insurnace institute (Instituto Nacional de Seguros -INS)


As an employer one should insure the company’s partners and employees on all the occupational risks that may ensue from the beginning of the company’s operations and during the whole period of operation thereof. For such purpose one should sign up to/sign a worker’s insurance policy at the national insurance institute.


After the subscription to such a policy, it is then necessary to send monthly information to (INS) concerning the status of the spreadsheets indicating the name and last name of the employees, hours worked and salaries paid out. To conduct this specific bureaucratic hurdle/formality one can log in at the webpage of (INS) If this duty is not fulfilled, a series of sanctions may be applied. At allaboutbusiness we will be attentive by keeping things up to date by sending monthly employee spreadsheets to INS in order to avoid problems for you and the company. 


Municipal patent


Every commercial entity requires a patent from a responsible and corresponding municipality which is paid through a tax during the period in which it finds itself active.


In light of municipal autonomy, one must expect that the administrative procedures/formalities and requirements for the obtainal of a patent can vary from one municipality to another according to its legislation and administrative provisions. An up-to-date list of patent laws for the 81 municipalities can be found in the annex of this section.


Usually all the municipalities require the following requisites, always in accordance with/to the type of activity pursued:


  • Identity documents: If the applicant is a physical person, he/she must present a copy of his or her Costa Rican identity card (scan/copy of both sides is required). If the applicant is a judicial entity, a copy of the legal representatives of the society, the judicial identity card and a copy of the identity card of the legal attorney/representative is required. If the applicant is a foreigner, he/she must present identification of his/her country of residence.
  • Classification of the type of industry for the ministry of health
  • A sanitary operating permit granted by the ministry of health (photocopy). For industrial activities, a permit must be presented which is extended/granted by the central offices. Nevertheless, permits concerning commercial activities can be obtained from the local/domestic offices.
  • Demonstrate by constant means to the municipality that the applicant, being the owner of the property, is up to date with all municipal taxes.
  • Use of land or certification for use of land, which is granted by the responsible municipality of the respective canton.


Operating permit/license of the ministry of health (Ministerio de Salud)


Commercial, industrial, farming or service sector activities and/or establishments are required by law to have a sanitary operation permit to be able to operate. These permits can be classified into three categories depending on their level of environmental and sanitary risk, specifically: high, medium, or low risk.


Registration as a contributor before the general – direct tax administration (Dirección General de tributación Directa - DGTD)


This registration is required for all persons looking to conduct one or more economic activities. This step is an essential requisite to be able to emit receipts/invoices for services provided in Costa Rica.


To be able to continue issuing receipts, either for sold products or services provided, it is necessary to be registered as a contributor before the (DGTD), for which it is required to fill out the “D-140 Declaración de Inscripción, Modificación de Datos y Desinscripción, Registro Único de Contribuyentes,” form in a clear, clean, and legible manner. The requirements for such a registration vary depending on the type of economic activity one is pursuing.  


If the administrative procedure/formality requires physical presence, one’s Costa Rican national identity card must be presented both in original and as a copy – if this is not possible then a copy certified by a public notary should suffice. Nevertheless, if the formality is requested/needed by a judicial entity, a larger quantity of documents and requirements must be presented, namely: Ones judicial identity card both in original and copy, or in its place a copy certified by a public notary, a valid certification of its legal representatives, namely one issued no more than 3 months ago and in which it is important to accredit the validity/legal force of the representatives as well as state the type of actions pursued – joint or separated – and the POA’s held – full POA with or without any restrictions, a general POA, or other forms - special. Furthermore, a CR proof of identity card of the legal representative is required as a copy and original form, or in its place a copy certified by a public notary. However, if the applicant is a foreigner, he/she must present the relevant country’s national identity card, his/her passport, diplomatic I.D. if applicable and other up to date identification documents, or in the originals place, copies certified by a public notary. Finally, if the “tramite,” is to be conducted by a third party, he/she must additionally present their respective CR national identity card, both in original and as a copy, or instead as a copy certified by a public notary. Additionally, certification of the POA on which he/she is acting, or a note issued by the contributor and authenticated by a lawyer, indicating the name of the authorized person and the name of the entity authorizing the administrative procedure, both numbers of the respective/relevant CR identity cards, and the formality for which the authorization is issued.


Opening of bank accounts


At allaboutbusiness we facilitate the opening of bank accounts, overseeing the process and making sure to conform to all current specifications that both state and private banks in the country require in the opening process. 

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Legal Advice and jumping through administrative procedures/formalities