seeking to legitimize their current immigration status may
want to take the opportunity the Costa Rican Government is
For a limited time only, Migración
(Costa Rica’s Immigration Department), will grant a special
type of residency provided the individual is unable to
qualify for any of the currently existing classifications of
residency. The program, motivated by humanitarian reasons,
will impact about four thousand expats living in Costa
Rica. These people are commonly referred to as “perpetual
tourists” and are required to exit our borders, on average,
every ninety days.
But not everybody will
benefit from this limited “amnesty program.” It includes only those who
over sixty five years of age
minors or adults with disabilities
adults (25 years old or less) who entered the Country while they were
minors and were not able to become legal immigrants under any of the
existing conditions as stated by Costa Rican Immigration law.
applicants seeking amnesty will need to substantiate the fact that they
have been living permanently in the Country for at least the last five
In addition, legal
residents (permanent or temporary) who have not renewed their resident
cards (Cedula) since the year 2003, will be able to do so, provided they
comply with the renewal requirements and make good on all past due
payments, including fines.
This is a tremendous
break for those senior expats living under social security, that for
whatever reason, do not meet the necessary income levels to become
“Pensionados”, or “Rentistas”. Also for youngsters that are currently
working here illegally or for the disabled expats (regardless of age)
that have not applied for the same or any other reason.
This amnesty period
will expire on November the 17th, 2012.
SUMMARY OF SCENARIOS AND REQUIREMENTS
Example #1: A
gringo, age 68 (needs to be over 65) who receives $880 a month in
Spocial Security benefits (less than what current law requires of $1000
income for pensionado). He has lived in CR for 10 years, leaving every
90 days. Never had a cedula. (Residency card)
Step 1 - Obtain
the birth certificate and police statement in good standing, duly
apostilled by the Secretary of State of the State of origin.
Step 2 - Ask for
an appointment at US Consulate in San Jose, in order to record
yourself as an American citizen living in Costa Rica and applying
for residency. ($50,00)
Step 3 - Record
your fingerprints before the Security Minister office.
Step 4 - Pay $250
Application fee, and submit all previous requirements, along with
two passport size pictures, and a complete copy of your passport
(includes copies of all blank pages). Affiliation form and query
along with documents stated in steps 1 through 3.
Same situation as Example #1, except it is a disabled person, no matter
Young child expat that has lived in Costa Rica for over 5 years, and is
currently 25 years of age or less.
Need to fulfill
Steps 1 through 4 of case number 1, and
Submit proof of
original entrance to the Country.
Example #4: It
is a Gringo, has an expired cedula since 2005 and has not left the
country since receiving cedula in 2003, or later.
Adrian Fernandez-Madrigal is a partner in
Consultoría Jurídica Empresarial CA/ ABOGADOS.
You can reach him at phones (506) 2280-9692 /
2225-9322 Or email him.