>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,
• 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.