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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Insight on Work Visas & General School Info

By: DJlera

Work Visas

The majority of institutions and schools will not help you with a work visa and confusion abounds. It is impossible to get a work visa without the sponsorship of a company. If you do get sponsorship the process can take anywhere from 8 to 16 months. If for some reason your visa application is rejected you will be ¨invited¨ to leave the country within 10 days. Now like many things in Costa Rica, these laws are not carefully enforced. Many places openly encourage foreigners to make ¨visa runs¨ to the border every 90 days. Some even pay up to $50 to help out renewing your tourist visa. This basically means leaving Costa Rica for 72 hours or 3 days. Note that the border police do not stamp time. While border runs appear to be almost commonplace, do be warned that at the very worst, I mean in your nightmares, you could be subject to 30 days imprisonment awaiting deportation should something go totally wrong. I have no idea if this has actually ever happened, but it is apparently part of the immigration law here. Double standards clearly exist in Costa Rica. Because getting a work visa is a lengthy and expensive process (schools can spend up to $800 making you a legal worker) they will usually ask for at least a year commitment from their teachers.


There are hundreds of places to teach English in Costa Rica ranging from universities to cultural institutes to mom-and-pop schools. Some have excellent reputations and some have terrible reputations. This is a good resource to start with: Transitions Abroad - Teaching English In Costa Rica.

Some of the better higher education institutions are the North American Cultural Institute, the British Institute, Univerisidad Interamericana and Universidad Latina. Some other decent organizations are Intensa and Conversa. At places like these you can expect to make at least $500 per month working around 24 hours per week. (That´s 24 hours in the class). For those seeking more money, look for work at the elementary and high school level. Because there are more students at this level, pay is higher. Also for some reason it is apparently easier to obtain a work visa. Some good places to work that I´ve heard of are: Blue Valley, Lincon, Country Day, American International, European School and for those who are down with praying at work, International Christian School. These are all international schools and you should expect to earn no less than $750 per month.

Well that´s all I´ve got for now. Everything mentioned above is heresy, so any updates or corrections are greatly welcomed. Pura vida!

Please feel free to comment on or make any additions to what DJlera as just said. Simply click "comments" below and speak your mind.