Renewing Residency

Oh the wonderful process of renewing your residency here.  We are under the pensionado status, so this is the only status I can tell you about.

A few weeks ago we went and made our appointment at immigration to renew.  We asked them what all we needed to have.  They gave us a short list and I even asked if we needed copies of anything, of course they told us no.  (We determined later that this was a lie.)

Earlier this week we went and made our deposits at Banco de Costa Rica, you have to make them at this bank.  We also got a print out of our transactions for the past six months.  They were unable to just print out the deposits that are made into the account so we have to print everything.  Of course they charged us for this.  I made sure that we had our passports, our receipt where we pay our insurance, our insurance cards, and of course our current residency cards.

So today we go to immigration in Ciudad Quesada.  We have always used this office since we first applied and have been using it ever since even though there is one closer to us.  It’s nice to go there and see the same people who originally helped us and they continue to help us with a smile.  Wonderful people there.  We got there early and waited in line for them to open, the line was pretty long by the time they opened the doors.  I don’t know for sure if they do generic appointment times or if they actually try to stick to the appointment times they give you, this is why we got there early.  We were one of the first people called up.

Everything for my husband went through perfect!  Not one little problem.  We had everything we needed for him.  Then we get to me.  Well, they needed a copy of my husbands residency card for my file.  He ran across the street and got one; while he was gone I found a copy in my folder.  Oh well.  Then they tell me that they need a copy of my entire passport.  So, the husband must go across the street again and pay for more copies.  I did tell the lady that I had asked when we made the appointment if we needed copies of anything and I was told no.  She seemed to sympathize with me.  Now, I have four entry stamps in my passport from where I went to the States and came back.  Every time you leave your passport is SUPPOSED to be scanned showing that you are exiting the country.  Then it is scanned and stamped for when you come back in.  I have four entry stamps, but it only shows that I left Costa Rica twice.  I was never scanned out when I left this past November.  This caused a hiccup in the process.  The lady even printed out the document showing me every time my passport was scanned.  Someone at the airport here in Costa Rica didn’t do their job.  After several minutes of patiently waiting she returned with my passport and told me that everything was fine.  There were a couple of people there who knew us from before and probably put in a good word for us.  So here is my word of advice for you all.  When you leave Costa Rica and go back to your home country; ask them when you enter to stamp your passport and date it.  It is not something that they normally do, but it can be done.  This way, if you have the same problem that I had you will be covered.

But we got it all done, got our pictures taken, got our paperwork, and went on our way.  Our next stop was the post office.  The last time we renewed our residency it took us 8 days to get our new cards back, now they are telling us it is going to take 22 days!  I am hoping that this is not going to be a problem for us.  Our current cards expire at the beginning of March and we won’t have the new ones until the middle of March.  We will have our paperwork showing that we are approved and waiting on new cards, but it also means that we cannot renew our insurance cards.  I guess we play the waiting game and hope for the best.

Step by step on how to renew your pensionado residency:

  1. Make appointment with immigration, or you can do it at a Banco de Costa Rica (But not all BCR’s offer this service)
  2. Make your deposits, $98 and $25 at BCR per person and take those receipts with you.
  3. Bring your current residency card (Cedula), your current insurance card (carnet), your passport, and your receipt showing that you are paying the insurance (CAJA).
  4. Make sure you have proof of your income being deposited into a Costa Rica bank.
For the dependent you must also have:
      1. A copy of your spouses residency card (Cedula)
      2. Copy of your entire passport.
Also, don’t forget to smile and be friendly.  That goes a very long way here.  Even if things are looking bad, keep a smile on your face and remain calm; seriously.  You want these people on your side!  Until mañana, Pura Vida!
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