Laws are constantly changing in the country, especially when it comes to immigration. The new one they have now is about the stupidest one I have seen yet. This one even effects those of us who already have our residency.
When you are a temporary resident, like we are for the next year, you have to renew your residency every two years. You also must pay into the medical system here for your medical insurance. You may still purchase private health insurance if you want, but you are required to pay into the public system. The amount you pay will vary based on your income. My husband is a pensioner and I am his dependent, so for the both of us we pay around $100 a month. Those of us here refer to the system as the CAJA, pronounced Ca-ha. It can take a little while to get used to using the public system and it can be frustrating at times. But when you have no co-pays or deductibles, I don’t complain.
OK, back to the law. When your residency expires so does your CAJA, you have to renew your residency and then go to your local office to renew your CAJA, which is basically just getting a new insurance card. The law that they have passed here states that you must produce a new marriage certificate for every time you renew your CAJA. The marriage certificate must be notarized, apostled, and not more than 30 days old. For many of us this is impossible. My husband and I got married in Las Vegas, we eloped. For us to get a new marriage certificate we must order it from Nevada, then have it mailed to a friend of ours in another state. She would then have to fill out a form and send it to the state of Nevada to be apostled with a self addressed stamped envelope to be mailed to us here. This can easily take more than 30 days considering how slow the mail is here.
Who ever wrote this law only had locals in mind. Because there are people from over 100 different countries living here and for many of them this is impossible. This law is going to be contested at the Supreme Court here in Costa Rica. But in the meantime…what do we do? We get re-married here in Costa Rica! I spoke with my attorney here where I live, he did some digging for me to find out how he can do this legally. Because it is technically illegal to marry someone who is already married. But he finally found out how to get around that since we are already married to each other. So, I finally get to have a wedding! My husband and I got married in April and that is when we are getting married again. I bought a simple and cute dress today, nothing very fancy. We have a small list of friends that we want there. And we are going to fire up the BBQ. I am feeling young again! Our attorney is charging us $200 to preform the ceremony, he is giving us a discount, plus we are feeding him. I am really looking forward to this. I still have to pick out a cake though. Really nervous and excited at the same time. I love my husband so much that I want to marry him again.
So, a word of advice. Do your research before moving here. Remember that the laws are always changing and always try to keep up on them; especially when the new year rolls in. There is always a way around something, legally. Don’t do anything illegal. Go with the flow and roll with the punches. It will be OK. Don’t let something stress you out too much, it’s bad for your health. Until mañana, Pura Vida!