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Monthly Archives: April 2010

>¿Habla usted español?

> A well known “Cervesa” in Costa Rica. “Me gustaría una cerveza bien fría!”

Learning Spanish takes a lot of work. Even after taking classes at the university, until you have to use it every day as part of your life it is hard to keep up. Even though I can read well, speaking is a whole different animal. Trying to remember all the verbs and their conjugations can drive a person crazy. Reading is easier since the words and verbs are written and you can make sense of them. But when you are in the process of trying to communicate on an intelligent level it is more difficult. It is good that most Costa Ricans are very helpful when it comes to speaking, in most cases they help out with English.

My IPod is just dedicated to Spanish and has about 10 GB of recorded lessons. I try to listen to it every day so as not to lose the ear; it’s all about hearing and listening to the words. The more you hear the more you remember. I guess that is harder for us old folks who are in their waning years of learning new things. I have always been able to get by using my “spainuguese”. That’s a combination of Spanish and Brasilian Portuguese. I do hope to improve once we move down and have reasons to use it other than repeating phases from the IPod lessons. I think learning the language is really important and there is a need to be able to communicate with your neighbors, to not learn would be a disservice.

Without knowing the language how would you ever know how people feel about different things or learn the culture? The Costa Rican culture is very unique and well worth understanding. I know it will take time, but the payoff for learning will be large.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Anticipating the Anticpation

>

Well I have had the opportunity to live in a few different places other than the good ol USA. While growing up I spent 4 years in Brasil in a small town called Sao Paulo. Graduated from high school there, enjoyed every moment there. Except for the time the Policia kidnapped me and a couple of friends and held us for ransom, thank goodness one of our parents was willing to drive to I don’t know where and pay these guys off for our freedom. The jail was somewhere out in the middle of no where, no light, dirt floor, no nothing, just four walls and a small window with bars. Even with that little mishap Brasil offered a lot of things to do for a young person.

I spent a year in Korea building roads for the next big invasion from the north that never happened. Beat going to Viet Nam for sure. This was a totally different culture I had not been exposed to, far from the more laid back climate of Brasil. We had Korean Nationals assigned to our company so we were able to live their way of life and even went to visit their families on leave together. Interesting place but I don’t think I would want to live there.

I also spent a year living in Germany. I lived in a small apartment above a farmer and his wife. His name was Hans a very nice person and with some of my broken German I learned in school I was sort of able to communicate on a basic level. The little town was really quiet, except for the October Fest time, after the harvest things turned toward celebration knowing that the cold winter would soon be here.

Even with all of the moving around I have done, I guess I still call Denver home base. When we first moved there were no interstates, just little roads through town. It was still a cow town but as the years moved on more and more people started coming to town. More houses, more highways, more cars and more pollution.

Now I embark upon the next journey of my (our) life (lives), move to Costa Rica. We aren’t moving to the populated central valley or the over crowded/over priced pacific. We are moving back in time to the little town of Puerto Viejo located at the end of the road. This area has been forgotten by most, but is unforgettable if you have been. Is it paradise? Maybe, I don’t think any one place is perfect, Costa Rica has it’s good things and bad things about it, but it’s a place we have chosen to land.

So needless to say, the anticipation is building.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Banking On It

>
There are a few important things to do once we arrive; one of those is to open a bank account. You pay for electricity, phone and CAJA from your checking account. It’s not like you can write a check and mail it to the ICE office for payment, although you can stand in line to pay your bill at the bank. At least our town has one bank, BCR so you can guess which bank we will be doing business with. It also has the only ATM so usually early in the morning is the best time to go since everyone else is still sleeping and there are no lines.
So what do you need to open an account?

Here’s some information I have been able to find that may provide some answers to this question. Whether you chose a state-run or private bank to open a savings account (checking accounts generally require a few more hoops to jump through), there are a number of requirements from documentation to the amount of money needed for this process to be successful. Here are some things banks may require:

1) Identification – All banks will require your passport if you’re not a resident, and may ask for an additional form of identification, such as a driver’s license (from country of origin is acceptable/maybe).

2) Utility Bill – You’ll also need to obtain a copy of a utility bill that confirms the address where you reside. If I am not mistaken utility bills are on line and are emailed to you, so it’s kind of a catch 22. So you might want to have a friend lend you theirs.

3) Purpose in the Country – This requirement varies bank to bank, but if you’re a retired resident, you’ll want to bring your residency card or some document from immigration or your lawyer that shows you’re in the process of obtaining it. Students should provide a letter from the institution where they study stating their purpose in the country, and any foreign workers should provide their orden patronal – a small document that reports income and proves payment into social security, or La Caja.

4) Initial Deposit – This amount varies widely for checking accounts, ranging from $300-$2,000. For Savings accounts this amount ranges from $0 to $1,000.

5) Letters of Reference – Most banks will require an average of two reference letters. There is some variation in what is expected, but in general, these are letters from other banks where you have made deposits. They can also be as simple as letters from friends who have accounts in the bank where you are applying, stating your relationship and their confidence in your reliability. In fact, if you can talk this friend into it – by buying them coffee, dinner, or both – it can help facilitate the process if they can accompany you to the bank.

As long as you’re not rushed and have all your required documents, you will find most bankers and tellers to be very friendly and helpful. Finally, the Association of Residents of Costa Rica provides, among other services, banking assistance to its due-paying members. Good luck and see you in the ATM lines!

Banking Breakdown
________________________________________
BANCO BANEX

Personal Accounts Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account: $ Account ¢ Account
Transactional none* none*
Classical $1,000 ¢100,000

Savings Account: none* none*

*Must maintain a minumum balance to write checks

Requirements:
1. Must have resided at least 6 months in Costa Rica.
2. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
3. Letter of recommendation by a Costa Rican or a letter from the applicant’s respective embassy.

Banex Personal Accounts have 2 Checking Accounts: Transactional – fee pf $1 or ¢250 (respective of the currency of the check) per check written.

Classical – up to 25 checks per month free. The penalty for not maintaining the minimum balance in this account is $10 for the USD account or ¢2,000 for the colón account.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit:
(No Minimum Balance)* $1,500 ¢250,000
*To write 50 checks

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks $3 (or ¢1,500)
Limit on checks written per month: none

Debit Cards: free
Online Banking
Issues Credit Cards

________________________________________
CUSCATLÁN

Personal Accounts Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

$ Account ¢ Account
Checking Account: $300 ¢100,000

Savings Account: $100 ¢5,000

Requirements: 1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit:
(No Minimum Balance) $500 ¢150,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks ¢8,000
Limit on checks written per month: none

Per Year
Debit Cards: free
Savings Account: ¢1,200
No Web-based Online Banking. Customers may purchase PC software to view their accounts online for $30
Issues Credit Cards

________________________________________
BANCO DE SAN JOSÉ

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $250 ¢50,000
Minimum Balance $250 ¢50,000

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $250 ¢50,000
Minimum Balance: $100 ¢25,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Reference from another bank.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit & Minimum Balance: $250 ¢50,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.
5. Reference from 2 other banks.

Checkbooks: Book of 24 checks
Personal Account: ¢1,250
Corporate Account: ¢750
Limit on checks written per month: Arranged with bank

Debit Cards: free
Online Banking
Issues Credit Cards

________________________________________
BANCO NACIONAL

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $2,000 ¢300,000
Minimum Balance $2,000 ¢300,000

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $30 ¢3,000
Minimum Balance: $30 ¢3,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Original telephone or utilities bill with the applicant’s name.
3. Reference letters from 2 people who have accounts with BN.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit:
(No Minimim Balance) $2,000 ¢250,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.
5. Original telephone or utilities bill with the applicant’s name.

Checkbooks: Book of 40 checks $5
Limit on checks written per month: none

Debit Cards: $7.50 ¢2,500
Online Banking
Credit Cards: No annual fees

________________________________________
SCOTIABANK

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $500 ¢50,000
Minimum Balance none none

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $100 ¢5,000
Minimum Balance: none none

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Reference from 2 other banks.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit:
(No Minimim Balance) $500 ¢100,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.
5. Reference from 2 other banks.

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks ¢1,000
Limit on checks written per month*: 8 in conjunction with bank card use

Bank Cards: 8 transactions a month:
(in conjunction with checks written)* ¢600
Additional 20 transactions a month: ¢500

*To avoid additional charges, bank card transactions and number of checks written per month combined cannot exceed 8.

________________________________________
INTERFIN

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $1,000 ¢75,000
Minimum Balance none none

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $100 ¢10,000
Minimum Balance: none none

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Reference letters from 2 other banks.
3. Proof of income.
4. Passport-size photograph of applicant.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit:
(No Minimim Balance) $2,000 ¢100,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.
5. Reference from 2 other banks.
6. Company has been in business for at least 1 year.
7. Must be registered in the Public Registry (Registro Público).

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks $3
Limit on checks written per month: 25
Fee after the limit: $1 per check

Debit Cards: free
Lost or stolen cards: ¢1,000
Damaged cards: ¢500

Online Banking
Issues Credit Cards

________________________________________
BICSA

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $1,000 ¢200,000
Minimum Balance $1,000 ¢250,000

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $1,000 none
Minimum Balance: $5,000 none

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Reference from another 2 banks.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit: $1,500 ¢500,000
Minimim Balance: $1,500 ¢500,000

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks $5
Limit on checks written per month: none

No Debit Cards
Online Banking
Issues Credit Cards

________________________________________
BANCO DE COSTA RICA

Personal Accounts: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Checking Account $ Account ¢ Account
Initial Deposit: $500 ¢50,000
Minimum Balance none none

Savings Account
Initial Deposit: $100 ¢10,000
Minimum Balance: none none

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Reference from another bank.
________________________________________
Corporate Account: Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance

Initial Deposit: $500 ¢50,000
Minimim Balance: none none

Requirements:
1. Passport or Resident Visa or Costa Rican ID (cédula).
2. Carta de Constitución de la empressa.
3. Personeria Juridica (no más de tres meses de emitida.
4. Cédula Juridica.

Checkbooks: Book of 25 checks $3
Limit on checks written per month: none

Free Debit Cards
Online Banking
Issues Credit Cards

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Residency the quick and easy way

>Applying for Residency

As part of our move we fully intend to seek residency to be able to live full time in country. There is no way I would want to live as a perpetual tourist. Besides the new laws are making that harder and harder for individuals to do.

Just to Recap the steps needed before presenting the documents to immigration: Get copies of your papers, make sure they are notarized, and then Authenticated (Certified) by the Secretary of your State and then Authenticated again by the Costa Rican Embassy either in DC or in your region.

All foreign nationals applying for temporary or permanent residency must complete the following steps. Your lawyer and power of attorney may also complete these steps

1. You must write a letter to the Director of Immigration that contains details:
• Why you are requesting residency and what you will be doing in Costa Rica
• Your complete name,
• Nationality,
• Date of birth,
• Profession or office,
• Intended address in Costa Rica,
• The full names and nationalities of your parents
• An address within the San Jose city limits or a fax number
• The date and your signature
• You must sign the letter in front of an Immigration officer, who will authenticate your signature. If you are filing for residency before moving to Costa Rica, your local Costa Rican Consulate will authenticate your signature.

2. You must present your Birth certificate/s:
• Issued and date stamped no more than six months from the date you submit your application and showing the last names of your parents. Your birth certificate must be authenticated by the local Costa Rican Consulate with jurisdiction over your state or province; contact the Costa Rican Consulate in your home country for more details.
• In Costa Rica, the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Relations) must stamp your consularized birth certificate.

3. You must provide your Criminal record/s:
• Issued and date stamped no more than six months from the date you submit your application and showing that you have not been found guilty of any crimes in the last three years.
• You will need to obtain fingerprints at your local Sheriff’s office and then send them to us along with a letter of request and a $20.00 check or money order. The individual cost is $10.00. Also, please explain the reason for request in your letter and ask for notarization, as well as you return address. Once we receive the request, it will take us approximately 5-7 days to process.
• Your criminal record must be authenticated by the local Costa Rican Consulate with jurisdiction over your state or province; the consulate in DC has jurisdiction over all states.
• In Costa Rica, the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Casa Amarilla) must stamp your consularized criminal record.

4. You must provide your marriage certificate:
• Issued and date stamped no more than six months from the date you submit your application. Your marriage certificate must be authenticated by the local Costa Rican Consulate with jurisdiction over your state or province; contact the Costa Rican Consulate in your home country for more details.
• In Costa Rica, the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Relations) must stamp your consularized marriage certificate.

5. You must present a Certified Copy of Passport/s: The immigration official who accepts your application can certify a photo copy; however you will need a copy of each page including the cover.
• Legalized by your immigration lawyer OR
• A copy of your passport and the original, presented to the Immigration officer who receives your documents.

6. All applicants over the age of 12 must provide a current set of fingerprints:
• Taken by the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica. (Ministry of Public Safety)
Phone Number: 2227-1383
Schedule: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
To apply for temporary or permanent residency, you must submit to Immigration a comprobante de huellas, official proof that your fingerprints are on file with the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica. This is a free service. It also takes 6 to 8 weeks to get your Interpol report into your file!!!

7. You must provide three recent passport-sized photos.

8. You must show proof of payment of $250 (application fee) or its equivalent in Costa Rican colones paid to the government’s Banco de Costa Rica account. Contact Immigration. Si la solicitud de residencia se realiza desde Costa Rica, deberá presentar comprobante de entero bancario a favor del Gobierno por la suma de US$250 (doscientos cenquinta dólares, su equivalente en colones) en la cuenta 242480-0 del Banco de Costa Rica, por concepto de cambio de categoría migratoria.

9. You must obtain especies fiscales, a type of government stamp, issued by Immigration: ¢125 Costa Rica colones per document and ¢2.50 colones per page. Your total cost for stamps should be less than $10, and you can buy them at Immigration.

10. All documents not written in Spanish must be accompanied by a Spanish translation:
• All translations must be done by an official translator. Your lawyer, local Costa Rican Consulate, or country’s embassy in Costa Rica can recommend an official translator.

11. You must complete the formulario de filiacion, or affiliation form.
• This may be downloaded from Immigration’s website or requested at Immigration.

12. You must provide proof of inscripcion consular, a form of registration at your country’s embassy in Costa Rica.
• Immigrants from countries with no local embassy are exempt from this requirement, the U.S. Embassy only registers its citizens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

13. As of June 14, 2010, you must also have a police clearance letter from the Costa Rican Police which will take about a half day to get.

Additional requirements based on your desired residency type:
Pensionado (Retiree) Temporary Residency

To file for Pensionado residency, you must present:
• An official document, legalized by the Direccion General, that shows you will receive a lifetime monthly pension, generated outside of Costa Rica, for an amount of at least USD$1,000 or its equivalent in Costa Rican colones or other currencies accepted by the Costa Rican Central Bank. If you are using Social Security for this purpose, please remember that you must have received your first check from SS before the US Embassy will issue this letter.

See, now that was easy. And you wonder why more people don’t take the time to apply for residency. This is the easy part, next comes the waiting to actually get your application accepted and residency documents issued.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>One down, many to go

>Well we are officially free of our house as the money finally hit the bank yesterday. That’s one big step down and yet so many more to go, but it’s like a marathon, one foot in front of the other until you cross the finish line. Just knowing that a new Mercedes Benz is waiting with the keys in it is enough to forge on.

The news of our leaving didn’t hit everyone well, but I find that a lot of people can’t live out of their comfort zone and think we are crazy. I have never been one for that since the time my Dad had a chance to move from Illinois to Colorado we all said “YES” and haven’t looked back since. I always told myself that I could never move back to Illinois since it was so hot and humid and cold and damp, but here I am about to move to a place that is always hot and humid. The big difference is it’s in Costa Rica and short walk to the Caribbean.

One thing we have been worried about is how our dogs are going to survive in this climate being that they are Siberian Huskies and used to the cold. During one of our trips we had that question answered:

Now the only big worry is getting them on the plane and down there in one piece. Since we are taking a direct flight we are hoping to minimize the impact on them. Just another one of those steps that need to be taken.

I always get asked the question about; “What are you going to do?” And I guess besides keeping myself busy around the house and maybe building a little casita on the lot behind us all you have to do is look at this:

There are miles of beach with no one on them and lots of things to photograph.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

>Moving to a Completely New Place

>Moving to a completely new place (or part of the world for that matter) will always be full of surprises, otherwise what’s the point of moving? Apprehension usually sets in as the time draws near to make that change, am I doing the right thing? Will I like it there (hope so it’s too late now)? Basically I guess all I want to do is survive (sobrevivir) but survive in a place that has life to it, people, plants, animals, things! The main thing I guess when you reach this age is health, if you have that life is good. By not working and lowering the stress level health should be easier to maintain, that’s my theorem anyway. It is probably completely unfounded but at this point in the game I can live with it. The other big thing is the change in diet; you are what you eat after all!!! I expect to lose a lot of weight once we make this change, it is hotter, more humid and I plan on walking a great deal, to the beach, to the store, to town and will probably even get bicycles to motor around on.

Other people who have made the leap seem to like it ok. There are some who never adjust get frustrated and move somewhere else, usually back to a comfort zone. I am not sure if there are people who just tolerate it I am sure there are but I don’t know of any right now. I read an article in La Nacion or some guide book one time talking about two expats having a shoot out on main street back around 2000 and I thought that was a kind of place I would not want to visit, it painted a lawless frontier kind of place. I think once you go there and see the nature and beauty of the country all that goes away.

I remember the first time I had my interest peak with Costa Rica, a co-worker said one day that he had just returned from Costa Rica and found it absolutely incredible. He talked about the monkeys, the rain forests, and the beaches and the people. He said he liked it so much he was planning on going back. I guess that was a testament I could use and so when I met Jana and she asked me where I wanted to go I said “Costa Rica!” loud and clear. Not ever having been there we made our plans to go and the rest as they say “is history”.

So our next trip down we will be picking up our new Costa Rican car (coche) and then heading out to spend time in our new house. From the email reports we have heard that the landscaping has grown considerable since we were there last June. The former owners/builders are living there and taking care of the house while we are (still) here so that arrangement is working well, especially since they love living there. They will have to teach us about how the house works; water system, what to do with any garbage, composting, critters and any strange creatures that might come around. We won’t be in Kansas anymore and things just work differently here.

We hope to be able to meet some of the neighbors living around us. You never know when you will need the assistance of others and it is best to know as many people as possible when it comes to questions on how things work. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone who knows someone, that’s just how things work. Basically no different than the living here in the states, the only difference is nothing gets done unless you know who to talk to. With this being such a small community it really is important to have connections. A couple of guys we meet on our last trip (and have left since) knew everyone and really knew who to talk to and get things done. They even had a bed and appliances delivered to them from the store in BriBri all without knowing that much Spanish. Since there are no addresses having something delivered can be challenging to say the least. Also, if you have any work done on your phone you need to mark the trail from the main road for them to find you otherwise they won’t show up.


Sure there are going to be things that piss you off (especially Americans who are used to having things resolved immediately), but so what, who cares, just do it tomorrow. One thing you have to remember is that Ticos cannot say no, even though they know they can’t do it on such a day they will lie to you to avoid any confrontation.

It is interesting reading what other people think of this little town, some really enjoy it and others are really turned off. I guess it depends if you are showing up with 5 bucks in your pocket expecting a real good time. There are many places that are cheap to stay no frills kind of stuff and when you are 18 or so that probably really works. You look at it as an adventure. I know when I was growing up in Brazil we would spend many nights just sleeping on the beach, basically we had no other choice, but it was an adventure none the less.

With any big move like this comes baggage and we definitely have that. Our biggest albatross is our house. We need to sell it before we can make the move. Of course the in thing now a day is just walking away and letting the bank take it. Always an option although we would much rather leave on a high note instead of a low note. When we first started looking into putting it on the market we were going to wait until after we came back from out trip. Then we started to wonder “How many days does it take to sell a house in MOSCOW (pronounced Mossco)?” Panic started to sink in after we talked with a local realtor and found out that houses usually are on the market for about 180 to 260 days. What if we wanted to leave before that? So like any rational kind of folks we decided to throw it out there and see what sort of bites we might get. In less than a week we had an offer, contingent upon their house selling. OK not good but an offer none the less. Now we have another (lowball) offer without the contingency. So if we sell then we will have to move and rent, better that than still having a house to sell.

Jumping off into retirement hopefully will not be full of too many potholes.

After returning from our trip to escape the rigors of work and the friggin cold, we could only reconfirm to ourselves that we are doing the right thing and on the right track. The whole time we were there we just could not believe that this was ours and how lucky we were to be there. Even though the house has a few quirks all are easily fixable. Sure, we have lots of huddlers ahead of us but most of that is like no other, shoot even if you moved to a new place here in the states it would take time to get used to the new surrounds and figure out where everything was located, after all you are out of your comfort zone regardless.

But making new friends and overcoming all of the challenges ahead make for an interesting trail. Just think how boring it would be having nothing to look forward to?

I have been reading up on the main things we need to get out of the way besides filing our application for residency. Getting a drivers license may be a bit of a challenge from the readings, which reminds me I need to get my own renewed so it does expire while we are down there. That would be a big no-no . I don’t think I could take a written test in Spanish yet or a driver test in Spanish. Maybe one of these days but not yet. The other big deal is opening a banking account and get that up and running so we can pay bills on line. There is no mail delivery in CR so it’s not like you get a bill every month in the mail and you send back a check. If you don’t pay within 7 days of having the bill posted they will turn off your power, so it’s not like you have a lot of time to get things done. Before the internet, you stood in long lines to pay your bills, you would show up to the bank, stand in line and pay your bill. Now with the wonders of technology some of those pains have been eased a bit (maybe).
As a new requirement for having the privilege to live in CR, one must sign up for CAJA which is the costarricense de seguro social, medical insurance, and show proof of payment before the application will be accepted. This is kind of confusing since only residents of CR can sign up for CAJA, have to love the system.

Given enough time most of these things will be like every day types of things to do.

Since we are starting our moving process in the middle of new enacted laws, there is much debate about how these laws really work. A prime example is the Ley de Transito which passed many new driving regulations that involve anywhere from small fines to jail time (4 years in the making). The Legislature is in the process of re-writing this new law and has caused lots of confusion amongst everyone including the police officers.

The other more important law is the Migration and Alien law that changed some of the requirements for obtaining residency, since we are going to retire it basically ups the ante into the game from $600 to $1000 a month required income. That is the least of the problems when it comes to actually migrating thru this maze of words. Obviously what this law was intended to do was to limit the time the perpetual tourist could spend in country without applying for residency.

The problem, as I see it, is that it really affects the people who are trying to get legal residency by applying the same rules and hoops to them which can be very confusing depending upon who you talk to. Please be reminded that a Costa Ricans will tell you anything, even if they don’t know because that is their nature, which is OK, you just have to know this going in. So say you leave the country the day you visa expires and you want to return the next day. Even though you have followed the rules and regulations it is all up to the person at the border crossing whether or not to grant you another 90 day visa and may only give you 30 days or worse refuse you entry into the country.

I am afraid we will be face with the same issue before we can get all of our paperwork accepted. Once the paperwork has been accepted and has issued you a file number then you’re in and the 90 day rule does not apply. Also this 90 day rule only applies to certain countries (one of which is the USA), others will be granted 30 day visas.

GROUP ONE. Those countries designated as Group One may enter Costa Rica without an entry Visa and may remain in Costa Rica for up to 90 days.
Example: United States Canada, European Union, Australia, Brasil,

GROUP TWO: Citizens of Group Two countries may enter Costa Rica without an entry Visa and may remain in Costa Rica for up to 30 days.
Example: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela

GROUP THREE: If you are a citizen of a Group Three country you need to obtain an entry VISA from a Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate abroad before you enter Costa Rica. If granted it is for a period of 30 days.
Example: Colombia, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Peru

GROUP FOUR: This is the most restrictive category. This means that citizens of Category Three Countries must have an entry visa BEFORE they are allowed to enter Costa Rica. The visa must be reviewed by the Director of Immigration before it can be granted. If granted the visa is for a period of 30 days.
Example: Cuba, Jamaica, China, Iran, Iraq.

Since they are trying to encourage migration of Boomers to come and retire, they sure do have a strange way of doing it, they want to make them a priority. For Baby Boomers interested in Costa Rica this means that you will be offered tax breaks and incentives for settling in Costa Rica. Another benefit which is surely welcome is that Retirees will have a special processing window at the Department of Immigration to handle their immigration applications. We won’t know the extent of those incentives until the Executive Decree is signed and published.

As we move down this twisting trail we always seem to be running into some new things. We have now moved all of our stuff out of the old house and into the new smaller house. Even though we sold most of our stuff I have still taken numerous trips to the dump and goodwill. To that end we still have BOXES of crap that I don’t know what to do with. We have one whole room filled with boxes. I am sure that by the time we are ready to leave, we will have gotten the number of boxes down to a manageable number.

The funny thing about this move is that it will prepare us for what’s ahead, no dishwasher and no garbage disposal. The bad thing is that there is no cell phone service in this town, go figure VERIZON!!! Even in the rainforest of Costa Rica we have 3G coverage and DSL, what’s up with America????

For the last couple of days I have been trying to find out as much information as possible on the document processing process, redundant yes, but necessary none the less. I feel much better about our chances to get all of our requirements done and have everything ready to immigration before everything expires. The only wild card is the SS letter and whether or not they can provide that to me on my 62nd birthday or will I have to wait until I am 62 and one month. If it is the later then we might have to leave the country and renew our visas.

Our local CAJA office is right in Hone Creek which is just 4 Km up the road so that will hopefully make that not quite as horrible as driving back and forth to SJ. Once we get an account number then we might have to go to SJ in order to get our very own card.

I am going to start ordering our documents the first week of June so they should issue then the second week of June which puts us into December as far as expiration of the documents which should provide us with enough time to get everything submitted to immigration for approval.

We are closing on our house today which means we will be mostly out of debt, any little bit of money we make from the sale will pay off some other debt and provide for a down payment on the lot next to us in Playa Negra, so eventually our lot will be 1800 sq meters and allow for maybe building a little casita for guests; if anyone comes down to visit. I am thinking almost no one came here to visit us so why would they want to come down here to Costa Rica, it’s so far away in a whole different country. The weather here is supposed to be crappy for the next 2 or 3 weeks. Cold ,rainy/snowy and windy, got to love it. So tomorrow we tell them at work when we plan on leaving at the end of July, that should be fun.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Uncategorized