The Who, What, When & How of the Immigration Process
We have always advised those who have expressed an interest in obtaining legal status here in Costa Rica that Immigration will certainly accept an application from them. . .for them alone or on behalf of their entire family. Not saying that it is easy task to perform, but the technical answer is that "Immigration will accept the application directly from the applicant". Therein lies the rub. . .
That application must be presented in proper Spanish and letter-perfect, just as it must be presented to Immigration from those entities who specialize in the process. Do we recommend people submitting their own applications? Best way to answer that question is to say that typically we never feel we lost a client when they decide to “go it alone”, but rather we feel that the client has just postponed using our services. In fact, over 90 percent of those individuals who attempt to work with Immigration to get their legal status by themselves eventually return to us for assistance and ultimately ask us to take over their application. Most often, some portion of their original application’s paperwork is salvageable. Time might have been lost, but in only rare instances does the required paperwork/documents become outdated.
We strongly suggest that you compare the actual cost of using a specialist versus using your own skills and knowledge. After a few hundred applications processed, the “maze” is certainly better understood by the specialist versus the one-timer.
What type of legal status should one apply for?
The three most popular types of legal status available are:
1.) PENSIONADO: Applicant has a guaranteed minimum of US$1,000 available for the balance of the applicant's life. Social Security is considered a valid source.
2.) RENTISA: Applicant is typically a former self-employed individual and thus does not have a suitable amount of income coming from a guaranteed source. Applicant would deposit $60,000 in a local bank and then the bank would issue a letter to Immigration stating that such deposit has been made. Applicant would have available an amount of no more than $2,500 per month to use for whatever purpose. . .rent, insurance, car costs, schools, etc. After 2 years ($2,500 X 24 months = $60,000), the applicant would simply deposit an additional $60,000 to same account which proves one's financial credibility for an additional
There are three other important considerations:
One: If the applicant did not use all or any of the $60,000 on deposit, then the unused portion could be applied towards the second $60,000 requirement.
Two: The applicant can, and should, apply to Immigration to change their status from "Temporary" to "Permanent" after they have had their legal status for 36 months.
Three: Upon receipt of their Permanent status, they can actually work here, draw a salary and compete with a Costa Rican or Expat who also has permanent legal status.
3.) RESIDENT INVESTOR: Applicant has available a minimum amount of US$200,000 for investment in a recognized or approved investment here in Costa Rica. This investment could be in stocks, bonds, real estate or the purchase of a home if the total investment or combined investments total in excess of US$200,000.
Applicant and any family member who is applying with applicant can arrange to start the Immigration process while here (something my wife & I did while on vacation 32 years ago). Upon consultation with us & when you have decided which type of status you desire, it is a simple matter of:
a.) Copies made of all passports (information & most recent entry-stamp pages only) of individuals who will be on the application. These copies will be notarized by our lawyer.
b.) Limited power-of-attorney created, allowing our representative to act upon your interests at Immigration.
c.) Letter of application to Immigration created requesting preferred status (created and signed by our representative, as he now has the authority to act on your behalf at Immigration).
d.) We make payment of application fees at designated local national bank and include copies of payment to Immigration on your behalf. With this documentation, we receive official receipt from Immigration indicating that your file has been opened.
e.) Additional paperwork, when received from client and is translated, is added to file until such time as all required paperwork has been submitted. It is at that time Immigration starts the processing.
From time Immigration starts process, expect a 12 to 18-month time frame.
From the time Immigration completes the process and approves the resolution allowing the Dimex or residency, you and any family members have 3 months to come to Costa Rica and complete the process by providing digital thumbprints & digital photos, joining the CAJA and picking up your card (called, "Dimex" or "cedula"). You can move here anytime from time the application process has started or you can wait until Immigration has completed its process. After that time frame, you are required to be in Costa Rica only one time in the next 24 months for as little as one day to renew your DIMEX or cedula. After you have your status, which incidentally is designated as a "temporary status", for 3 years, you can apply for and expect to receive "permanent" status. With permanent status, you no longer have to prove financial ability. You are also able to work legally here in Costa Rica. This means that you can compete with a Costa Rican or a fellow expat who has a permanent status. By starting the process earlier, you shorten the time you wait here for either approval of your application for residency or to obtain your permanent status.
HOW to start the process? CONTACT US for an immediate reply!