Setting Up a Costa Rican Bank Account

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Information you need to know about how to set up a Costa Rican bank account including documents you must provide.

1. Costa Rica has Government Owned Banks and Private Banks, government banks are bonded by the Government and more cumbersome to work with, private banks are not insured and more versatile/user friendly. Government banks are: Banco Nacional ( www.bncr.fi.cr ), Banco de Costa Rica or BCR (www.bancobcr.com ) and Bancredito. Private banks are: Interfin (owned and merged with Scotia Bank), Cuscatlan/Banco Uno (now owned by Citibank), Banex (affiliated with Stewart Title) and BAC San José (50% owned by GE Finance).

2. Most banks have checking/savings accounts, international ATMs cards, Certificate Deposits, international wiring services, functional websites and lending operations: both residential, commercial and personal loans. Loan application procedures are similar and more cumbersome/slow than in the US banks.

3. Bank accounts set up generally require:

a) Account Holder’s personal attendance to sign documents.

b) one or two letters of introduction from bank’s account holders.

c) utility receipt with local address as proof of domicile.

d) some banks may require foreign individuals to have legal residency.

e) alternatively it’s possible for a foreign-non resident to set up the account under a juridical entity like an LLC.

f) LLC: a certificate of incorporation (Personeria Jurídica), copies of the entity’s juridical identity card, articles of incorporation, Controlling Directors´ passport and one or two letters of introduction.

4. A lawyer will generate the documents for the LLC to set up the bank account for USD150 dollars.

Lic. Jose Juan Sanchez
LL.M. International Law
costaricalaw@yahoo.com