changing residency status

Today was a day filled with getting things done.  For starters, we finally got all of our stickers for our car.  We got the inspection sticker and the INS sticker; the INS is like a government mandatory insurance.  For our car it’s about $130 a year.  It doesn’t really cover much, I don’t even know what it actually covers.  To me it is the equivalent of just getting your plates renewed every year.  You can purchase real coverage for very cheap here.   The inspection you have to have done once a year also.  They are very thorough with it too.  It’s not just an emissions check.  If you are old enough you may remember something from some states called the safety lane inspection.  It is very similar to those.  They check everything on your car.

So, about immigration today.  When we first got our residency we were told that we needed to pay separately for the medical insurance coverage.  This is not the case.  I am my husbands dependent and should be covered under him.  So, for three years I have been paying when I shouldn’t have been.  I am not going to complain about it though.  I had emergency surgery done and so did my daughter and we didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket for it.  I was in the hospital for 6 days and my daughter just overnight.  I am sure that if we would have been in the States it would have cost more just for my daughter than what I have paid over the past three years.  So I am not going to complain.  Turns out years ago there was a mis-communication about how immigrants were suppose to pay their insurance.  It is finally getting straightened out.  But for us to get this changed I had to get a copy of our marriage certificate from immigration with all the stamps and translations.

I had originally contacted an attorney about this.  He said he could do it for $50 with no problem.  I was thinking why not.  But for us $50 is a lot of money.  So today while we were in San Carlos we stopped by immigration.  This is the office we used to get our residency and they have always been super nice.  Just always be nice to them first.  I asked the gentlemen at the counter if I could get a copy of our marriage certificate and why.  He understood and knew what was going on and got it for me right away.  It is officially stamped from the office so all I have to do is take it to my local clinic and get a new card from them stating that I am a dependent and then take it to my local CAJA office and they change it in the system and we are all set.  Nothing is ever done in the same office, it is a lot of back and forth, but that is just the way it is done here.  If you want to live here and enjoy it, you either must be patient or learn patients.

My second question I asked at immigration was about changing our residency from temporary to permanent.  I had again asked an attorney about doing this for us, he was going to charge us over $1000 to do the paperwork.  There are only three things you need to change it over.

1) A letter stating why you want to be a permanent resident

2) Make a deposit in the bank for $200 per person

3) Submit copies of your cedula card that you already have (residency card)

That is it.  We still have to pay for our new cards which is about $125 per person.  With temporary residency we pay for a new card every two years.  With permanent we will have to get new cards every 5 years.  We are definitely going this route. So, that is all there is to it.  Saving us $1,000 and doing it myself.  I did our original paperwork for residency without an attorney too.  I figure why not try it again.


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