Costa Rica Expat Forum - applying for social security

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bluewind
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3/13/2011 18:09    
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I am currently putting everything together to apply for a pensionado visa.
I will be 61 soon and am working on moving to CR before I turn 62.
Is it difficult applying for social security benefits if you are living in CR?
thanks

costaricalawyer
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3/14/2011 08:51    
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Hello Sir
My name is Lic Giovanna Barrantes. I'm an Attorney with Barrantes & Associates in San Jose Costa Rica.
I would recommend starting the process if possible before coming to Costa Rica.
You can follow up with the process once you arrive in Costa Rica.
Many expats receive SS leaving here in Costa Rica. They can do a direct deposit into any bank.
Regarding residency in Costa Rica I will be more than glad to answer any questions that you might have.
I have a toll free number that can be reached from anywhere in the US.
1-800-979-4174

Best Wishes
Lic Giovanna Barrantes
Barrantes & Associates
US/Canada 1-800-979-4174
Office 011 506 2 256 3807
Direct 011 506 8 398 1203
Edificio Casa Canada Paseo Colon Subway
Anexo Uno 100 metros sur/50 metros oeste
Skype CostaRicaLaw1
http://www.lawyerofcostarica.com
http://www.twitter.com/lawyerofcr

autumngloryfriend
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3/14/2011 14:10    
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I am (happily) planning on an extensive trip/moving to Costa Rica by the end of the year at the latest. I will have applied (3 months in advance of January) for Social Security but payment will not be starting till February. I will turn 62 in January.
I have read about the needed paperwork for the pensionada application, would a ripped birth certificate be a problem? I understand that I will need a police report from where I currently live. Is there a particular form needed? Is it better to set up a bank account in Costa Rica prior to getting there? Can I start the Pensionada application prior to the February receipt of my first Social Security pay out? It looks like attorney fees are about $40-50 an hour. About how much would it cost to get the pensionada set up? Do the lawyer fees work on per hour or per pensionada service? At some point in the process I understand that one can start to pay monthly for the national health service, when in the application process could I do that as I would not have health insurance initially?
Can I arrive on a one way ticket to Costa Rica and then when the 90 days comes, I could just go to Panama for a few days and return to CR? I have read that it is best to hire a lawyer who is a graduate of the University of CR, yes?
Any thoughts on Montana Linda Spanish school? I am taking this move (happily) and seriously and I want to do this right, I want to learn Spanish. I am studying some on my own, but I need a lot more. Many thanks.

bluewind
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3/14/2011 16:45    
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First, I need to say that I am still pretty new to putting things together for my move to CR, but I will tell you what I have done/found out so far. As far as the paperwork for the pensionado visa goes, I know that the CR Embassy is very particular about the paperwork, so I don't know if they would accept a torn birth certificate. I have decided to mail away for a new copy just to make sure. I am waiting for my birth certificate before having a criminal background check done so it is very current. Both a form is needed from the police department and I must have a notary republic present. Go figure. You might also want to check to see if a local background check is enough or you need a more comprehensive check from the FBI. You can begin the pensionado process any time you want but you must be able to prove at the time of the application that you have at least $1000 coming in each month. One reason why I am taking care of the pensionado visa while still living in the USA is to try to cut down on attorney expenses., although you will need a contact in CR (attorney?) to be able to complete the process. Haven't got that far yet, but will know much more in a month or so. I will be going to Miami to the CR Consulate in April to turn in my paperwork. As far as the one way ticket, I read that you need to have a round trip ticket, but I am hoping flying to CR with a pensionado visa will take care of that. Be careful with the visa runs to Panama. CR is getting a little upset over people living in CR for many years without going through the process to stay there, so they are cracking down on people that keep doing it. A good reason to have that pensionado visa before moving there. As far as banking goes, I've been told to make sure and keep an open account in the USA including your debit card. I've heard all kinds of opening an account in CR

bluewind
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3/14/2011 16:45    
00abuse reply to this message reply 

First, I need to say that I am still pretty new to putting things together for my move to CR, but I will tell you what I have done/found out so far. As far as the paperwork for the pensionado visa goes, I know that the CR Embassy is very particular about the paperwork, so I don't know if they would accept a torn birth certificate. I have decided to mail away for a new copy just to make sure. I am waiting for my birth certificate before having a criminal background check done so it is very current. Both a form is needed from the police department and I must have a notary republic present. Go figure. You might also want to check to see if a local background check is enough or you need a more comprehensive check from the FBI. You can begin the pensionado process any time you want but you must be able to prove at the time of the application that you have at least $1000 coming in each month. One reason why I am taking care of the pensionado visa while still living in the USA is to try to cut down on attorney expenses., although you will need a contact in CR (attorney?) to be able to complete the process. Haven't got that far yet, but will know much more in a month or so. I will be going to Miami to the CR Consulate in April to turn in my paperwork. As far as the one way ticket, I read that you need to have a round trip ticket, but I am hoping flying to CR with a pensionado visa will take care of that. Be careful with the visa runs to Panama. CR is getting a little upset over people living in CR for many years without going through the process to stay there, so they are cracking down on people that keep doing it. A good reason to have that pensionado visa before moving there. As far as banking goes, I've been told to make sure and keep an open account in the USA including your debit card. I've heard all kinds of opening an account in CR

bluewind
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3/14/2011 17:06    
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First of all, I am still living in the US and am still figuring out how to make a good move.
Here's what I have learned/done so far.
Pensionado Visa-I heard the CR Consulate is very picky about the paperwork, so I have sent away to where I was born to get a new copy.
Criminal background check-haven't done that but will soon since I plan on applying to the Consulate in Miami next month. I was told by the police department here that the embassy will require a notary republic to go with me and complete the paperwork there. I am not sure if a local check is enough, so I am considering a background check with the FBI just to make sure.
I do know that you must show proof at the time of applying for the visa that you are earning $1000 a month. I have a pension, so I don't have to wait until I'm 62.
Visa runs-I read from a CR newspaper that CR is getting a little upset over people constantly making those visa runs to renew their visa instead of going through the process for a different visa, so I would look more into that if you are considering it. Another reason to move there with a pensionado visa already in hand. So far, I don't see a reason to hire an attorney for this process but you are required to have a connection in CR to complete the process (attorney?).
Banking-I have talked to many people about this. Some people just open a savings account for backup money and use their debit card to withdraw money from the US account. Not sure about this, but everyone says to keep your US account open no matter what, because you will need references, paperwork from them to open an account in CR. I am considering Scotia Bank. It's one of the top international banks and has branches in CR. They are not directly connected to CR money should something happen. It's hard finding a local bank in CR where people speak English, but no problem at Scotia. Plus they have a good website to check your funds. I'll be taking care of that along with my visa in Miami next month. Will no more then.
Health insurance-all I know so far is that if you apply for a long term visa like the pensionado visa YOU HAVE TO also join their CAJA health insurance program, even if you end up paying for private medical insurance.
This is what I know so far, but I would suggest contacting others to get their opinions. A good website is called THEREALCOSTA RICA. Lots of info.
Hope that helps some.
good luck!

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