Costa Rica

Starting a Business in

Costa Rica

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Costa Rica. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with up to 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2013.

Compare Costa Rica to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal Form: Sociedad Anónima (S.A.) - Corporation
  • Paid in Minimum Capital Requirement: None
  • City: San José
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Check the availability of the proposed company name

Companies can also be registered by number, in which case the name would not have to be verified. However, companies that plan to commercialize their name must first verify the availability of the company name. The company name can be verified online ( free of cost. In addition, the company can request a name certificate for a cost of CRC 250 at the registry.
Less than one day (online procedure) no charge
2 A notary public drafts and notarizes public deeds of the incorporation charter for registration before the Mercantile Section of the Public Registry online

According to the fee structure established by Executive Order No. 36562-JP January 31, 2011, Section 95 a, though the notary public can negotiate fees, the fee for notarizing the articles of association is CRC 150,000 for any corporation.
Since March 2012, the notary can submit the public deeds of incorporation charter for registration for publication before the Mercantile Section of the Public Register online (
Less than one day (online procedure) 150000
3 Deposit capital in the bank account, pay registration fees and stamp duties

As a prerequisite for registering the company, 25% of the capital stock indicated in the incorporation charter (if paid in cash) must be deposited in a national bank. The amount deposited may be withdrawn once the company has been duly recorded. The founders may also opt to sign a promissory note at the notary public and deposit the capital into the bank account later. In addition, registration fees must be paid at the bank before business registration.
The registration fees are as follows:
- Stamp duties: Archivo Nacional, CRC 20; Colegio de Abogados, CRC 10,000; Educación y Cultura, CRC 750; Timbre Fiscal, CRC 625
- Registration fees: Registro Nacional, CRC 37,940
- Municipal 0.2% of capital
- Agrary stamp (timbre agrario): CRC 64,500
- Legalization of books: CRC 15,000
Since December 28, 2012, the company books can now be registered at the National Registry at the time of incorporation . Furthermore, the company's accounting books registration is no longer necessary.

1 day see comments
4 Register the incorporation charter in the mercantile section of the public registry and obtain authorization to legalize the company books; send the notice of constitution of the company (edicto)

In February 2012, Costa Rica launched Crear Empresa, an online platform for business registration, which has reduced significantly the time to register a business. This online platform has been used by an increasing number of users over the past year. Now all incorporation documents can be submitted electronically.

2 days CRC 5,000 (digital registration fees) + CRC 6,580 (edicto)
5 File Form D-140 with the before the Tax Department to register the firm as a taxpayer

Costa Rican citizens or corporations with a Costa Rican legal representative can register electronically as taxpayer (
2 days see comment
6 Register for labor risk insurance with the National Insurance Institute (Instituto Nacional de Seguros)

The National Insurance Institute is the only insurance at the moment that only offers labor insurance. The annual premium for this type of insurance is about 2.17% of reported payroll.
1 day no charge
7 Apply for sanitary permit

Fees depend of the company risk classification and vary from USD 30 to USD 100.
1 day USD 30
8 Register the company as an employer with Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS, Social Security Institution)

After submitting the documents required, the CCSS issues a registration form (inscripción ante CCSS de persona jurídica) that allows the company to start operations. Within 15 days after registration with the CNSS, the company will receive an ex-post inspection from an officer, which consists on a simple verification of the information provided by the company about the business activity and the employees.
1 day no charge
9 Apply for the business license (patente municipale) from the municipality

15 days Cost varies between CRC 10,000 and CRC 100,000 depending on the type of activity, number of employees and location.

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