Trees and foliage frame a volcano in the distance in Costa Rica

Work and travel in
Costa Rica

Choose another destination

A person zip lines through bright green trees in Costa Rica

How to

Who can apply?

To work in Costa Rica through the Youth Mobility program, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen
  • be 18-35 years old (inclusive), and
  • have a valid Canadian passport

Other requirements may apply. Check Costa Rica’s website for more details.

What type of work visa do I need?

You need to apply for a Provisional Visa Special Category. This visa has three categories:

Young Professionals

Post-secondary graduates who want to gain work experience, training and career development in Costa Rica under a pre-arranged contract of employment.


Registered students at a post-secondary institution in Canada who want to complete part of their academic curriculum through a pre-arranged internship or work placement. This includes inter-institutional arrangements between post-secondary institutions.

Working Holiday

Young Canadians who want to travel to Costa Rica and work temporarily to help finance their trip.

Do I need a formal job or internship offer?

Yes, you need a job offer (pre-arranged contract of employment) or a formal internship.

If you don’t have a work or internship contract yet:

You can travel to Costa Rica as a tourist. You can stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa but you must get a work/internship contract in order to stay longer than 90 days.

After getting a work/internship contract, apply to the Immigration Authority in Costa Rica for one of the three temporary residence permits. You will need to:

  • pay US$200 to change your status from a tourist to a provisional visa special category holder
  • bring a legalized birth certificate
  • bring a criminal record certificate that was issued within the last six months

How long can I stay and work?

You can stay and work in Costa Rica for up to 12 months.

You can participate in Costa Rica’s Youth Mobility program twice. Your second participation must be in a different category and there must be a break of at least three months before submitting a new application.

A person snorkels in turquoise blue water in Costa Rica

Start your

About Costa Rica

The people of Costa Rica live by the motto “pura vida” which translates to “simple (pure) life”. Costa Rican culture is warm, relaxed and friendly making tourists feel at home. People of Costa Rica are happy and sociable people due to a culture of developing solid social networks of friends, families and neighbours. During your stay, expect to be invited to dinner with a Costa Rican family or to play soccer with locals. Spanish is the official language of the country, but several native dialects are spoken, as are English and Chinese.

Costa Rica is beautiful; full of mountains, valleys, grasslands, beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and more. Made up of multiple microclimates, it is home to almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity. This truly speaks to the diverse landscapes Costa Rica offers. Take an excursion to the jungle and hike, bird watch, mountain bike or horseback ride. Enjoy water activities like diving, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing or paddle boarding. For the more adventurous type try zip-lining, rafting, surfing or try a waterfall rappelling tour!

Costa Rica has a diversified economy, not only with great agricultural products but also a vibrant knowledge-based economy.

Recognized Organizations

Need help planning? One of IEC’s recognized organizations might be able to help you find a job, transportation, and provide travel advice.

Most recognized organizations charge a fee for their services.

Plan your trip

The best way to make sure your trip is the experience of a lifetime is to plan. Review our travel checklist to find out what you should know or do before travelling to and working in a foreign country.

Before you leave, remember to register as a Canadian abroad to receive notifications in case of an emergency while you are abroad or of a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

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