Permits for the opening of Commercial Activities in Costa Rica

If you are implementing the idea of opening a commercial business, you must take into account that in addition to: identifying a business idea, validating your commercial business idea, finding a commercial name and choosing a correct business structure, the following must be considered Guidelines to consider before starting:


Companies or commercial businesses are commonly opened in the name of a legal person, so the first step consists of:

  1. Verify commercial name availability: To create a new company in Costa Rica, the name of your company must be exclusive, and indistinct from other existing companies.

The availability of the commercial name is verified in the National Registry, the consultation is free and in a simple way.


  1. Type of Legal Entity: The type of company will depend on the commercial activities that the business will develop. The most used in the country are the Public Limited Company, constituted by shareholders, and the Limited Liability Company, constituted by quotaholders.

The simple difference between them lies in the responsibility that shareholders or quotaholders have over the Company.


  1. Partners: Both the Public Limited Company and the Limited Liability Company must have partners. For the constitution of the company, a minimum of two partners is required, however, once constituted, a single person may be the owner of all the shares.

In the case of Public Limited Companies, they must establish a Board of Directors , made up of three people: President, Secretary, and Treasurer.


  1. Incorporation Act: The incorporation of the Company is carried out by a professional lawyer and whoever is a public notary. The incorporation of the company is done by a Public Notary.

The public notary is in charge of presenting the constitution of the Company through the public faith that corresponds to him through the Crear Empresa platform, through Process Now, and his registration time is a maximum of 3 days.


  1. Registration with the Ministry of Finance

As a duty of companies, they must have a Single Taxpayer Registry.

So this can be done on the ATV portal of the Ministry of Finance.


Which are the next steps?

All the previous steps are of vital importance since they are requirements that government institutions request as a requirement for the opening of their commercial business.

Once the company is established, they proceed with the permits that must be requested from government institutions.


1. Physical space:

The physical space will be the place where your new company will carry out commercial activities, so it can be your own place or it can be rented .

To do this, we need to identify the number of the subsidiary to which the place belongs.


2. Land Use:

What does Land Use mean? The municipalities of each canton are in charge of determining the activities allowed inside a property.

It is important to take into account the canton of the farm where the activity will be carried out since the canton depends on which municipality that place corresponds to, once the canton is determined, the formal request is made to the corresponding Municipality


The ways to submit the application will depend on each Municipality, either virtually or physically, and the time of each response.

So it is one of the important steps, since in this step we will realize if the physical space is suitable for the activity to be carried out.

Usually, all the municipalities have a general criteria, to identify the permitted activities.

Once approved, the corresponding Municipality will issue a Resolution number, the document must be kept and taken care of for future procedures.


3. Health Operation Permit:

The next step is the Health Operation Permit, this is done before the Ministry of Health of the corresponding canton.

All the necessary guidelines and requirements to request the Health Operation Permit can be found on the following attached page:

https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/tramites/empresas/30-tramites/permisos-a-establecimientos/115-tramite-para-autorizaciones-y-permisos-sanitarios-de-funcionamiento-para- industrial-commercial-and-service-establishments


"In accordance with the General Health Law and the General Regulations for sanitary operating permits, authorization permits and authorizations for temporary events of massive concentration of people, granted by the Ministry of Health, all industrial, commercial and service establishments must have the authorization or Sanitary Operating Permit to operate in the national territory, depending on the activity.”

Ministry of Health of Costa Rica


As the excerpt above indicates, depending on the activity to be developed, it will depend on the category subdivision indicated by the Ministry of Health,

In this step it is very important to determine certain guidelines that are requested in the form:


Depending on the activity to be carried out, additional requirements and an Affidavit will depend, which must be signed by the All the requirements will depend on the activity to be carried out, which are found on the page:

https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/biblioteca-de-archivos-left/documentos-ministerio-de-salud/tramites/permisos-a-establecimientos/permisos-de-funcionamiento/5763-decreto- 43432-s/file


The term of approval of the Health Operation Permit will depend on the corresponding Ministry.


4. Costa Rican Social Security Fund:

Once the Health Operation Permit is approved, the next step is for the company to appear as Employer of the company. To do this, you must have at least one worker.

The person in charge of inspection of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund will carry out an inspection to verify the commercial business and that the person or persons who are going to work are in the place and have knowledge of who is the employer of the company.


5. Work Risk Policy

For the next step, which is to request the Commercial License, the government institution requests that there be a Work Risk Policy , this can be requested from the National Insurance Institute:

Work Risk Policy:

It is the insurance that the INS offers to employers to protect their workers from the work risks that they may suffer as a result of the work carried out.

National Insurance Institute (INS)


6. Business License

The next and last step is to request the Commercial License of the company, it is requested before the corresponding Municipality that will depend on the canton to which the farm belongs.

Among the general requirements requested by the Municipality for the management of the new Commercial License, are: Land Use, Health Operation Permit, Registration with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, Work Risk Policy, among other requirements, depending on of the commercial activity to develop.

All these requirements must be consistent, that is, they must be on the same line as regards the applicant and the permit holder of all the permits to be managed.


Last but not least, depending on the activity to be carried out, it is important to mention the Sanitary Registry:

The sanitary registry is the authorization and control exercised by the Ministry

of Health on the products that are manufactured, imported, packaged or

commercialized in the country, that are of sanitary interest, previous verification of the

compliance with the requirements established in the corresponding legal framework.



What are products of sanitary interest?

Products of sanitary interest are those that, due to their composition,

use or function, may affect people's health. They include, among

Others, food, medicines, diet supplements, cosmetics, equipment

and biomedical materials, pesticides for domestic and industrial use, products

natural medicines, hygiene products, inks for tattoos and chemicals



At RJM Legal Consulting, we can help you with all the procedures, permits and business licenses, seeking due diligence before government institutions.


Author:Sianny Chacón Salazar