What Are the Main Requirements to Become a Costa Rican Resident?

mapa banderaThere is some paperwork to get ready before applying for your residency in Costa Rica. To avoid last minute issues it is better to be prepared ahead of time. At Today in Costa Rica, along with our friends from Immigration Experts, we want to simplify things for you, so we present this guide to help you prepare you residency documents.

As a first step you need an Application Letter. This letter must have the following information: full name of the applicant, nationality, marital status, occupation, passport number and the city and date where and when the passport was issued. In case that the spouse and/or children of the applicant are also applying for residency, their names must be included in this application letter. The letter should also include the date when you entered Costa Rica, a formal request expressing your desire to become a Costa Rican resident. You must also specify the type of residency you are applying for (for more information you can read What Residency Category Can I Apply for In Costa Rica?). Finally, the letter must indicate the temporary address where you are living in Costa Rica, if so; or your permanent address in your country of origin. You have to also include either a fax number or a physical address where to receive notifications (this could also be your lawyers´ contact information since they are the ones most likely dealing with your immigration process).

The second document will be your Birth Certificate. It must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate corresponding to the country or region where the Birth Certificate was issued, or through the “Apostille” Process. It is important to note that for the residency process, the Birth Certificate will expire after 6 months of being issued.

In case the applicant is married, you must submit a Marriage Certificate. It must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate corresponding to the country or region where the document was issued, or through the “Apostille” Process, as well. Just as Birth Certificate, the Marriage Certificate will also expire after 6 months of being issued.

Another necessary document is a Police Record from the country of origin of the applicant. The same process applies to this document as mentioned in the previous paragraphs for authentication and expiring date.

It is true that you do not need to be present in Costa Rica to complete your application process, but luckily for you, you must have to take at least one trip to Costa Rica for your finger prints. Sounds like a good excuse for a good Costa Rican get away! As an applicant you must go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (Public Security Ministry) in San José to get your finger prints taken. Make sure you bring your passport – the original document, not a photocopy of it – and three passport size recent photographs.

You need to submit a certified copy of all the pages on your passport including any blank pages. Your lawyer will need you to sign a Special Power of Attorney, granting whoever is representing you through your application process, all the rights to fully represent you with any necessary dealings. Do you like photographs? Lucky you, besides the three already mentioned, you need five more to go along with your application, same size as the ones mentioned before.

Along with all the paper work you need to pay up some cash in advance. You must pay a $250 application fee deposited to the Immigration Department´s bank account number 242280-0 at Banco de Costa Rica.

Finally, you must do a consular registration with the embassy of your country of origin located in Costa Rica.

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