Legal foreign workers, students and volunteers will be getting a cédula instead of just an imprint in their passport.
They will have a document very similar to those carried by permanent residents, pensionados and rentistas, said the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.
The agency said it wanted to deliver a secure document and one with a unique number identifying the holder.
The plastic cédulas will be produced by the highly secure Dimex system that is now in use at the immigration offices. The current cédulas carry a photo of the individual and personal data encoded into a strip that can be read by computer.
Certain categories of persons can obtain a work permit in Costa Rica. These include domestic employees, construction workers and those with special skills. In addition, students, researchers, volunteers, teachers and even victims of human trafficking have the right to stay in Costa Rica.
The documents will be issued each year, said the agency. There are about 20,000 persons now in the country legally in these so-called special categories.
The estimated annual cost for the cédula will be $98, the agency said.