I am wanting to move to CR to retire in the next year. I have a limited income and would like to know if it is necessary to use an agency or attorney to apply for residency? I checked into one agency and the cost was $2800.00 per person. Is the application process to difficult to do for ones self? or is there any less expensive options?
I could not disagree more---the protocol has gotten so easy today that anyone can go get the NEWEST regulations and rules and if you have any bilingual help--certainly no lawyers needed--you can JUST DO WHAT IS WRITTEN JUST AS WRITTEN. Without exception most problems encountered with residency is traceable right back to crappy lawyers. Of course their are good ones but the process has gotten so easy I find it ridiculous that people anticipating a move to Costa Rica are being seen as not being able to follow very explicit directions. People on this forum really like to complicate the most simple matters.
Try Mexico where cost of living is cheaper. I resided in CR many years ago,( for 3 1/2 yrs) and never felt comfortable and would not even visit that place. Been to MX 12 times and loved it. Felt very comfortable and no problems.
Thank you for your response. I would like to avoid using an attorney if possible. I can definitely follow instructions, but I have had trouble finding the step by step process. Any suggestions on where to find it?
GilPhelan........keep watching TV and reading newspapers in the states. State Dept figures are roughly 1 million people from States live there both full time and snowbirds. Over 9 million tourists from States per year Enjoy your life in CR (remember to check 6 every hour)
Funny thing about FACTS---your opinion doesn't effect them. So the FACT that the cartels chop off heads at an ever increasing rate and now are nice enough to include high traffic tourist destinations make the comment about it being a safer/better place than Costa Rica ridiculous. My trips to Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum and Del Carmen stopped years ago and I am not going back. I may however go back to Isle Mujeres. Glad your optics keep the truth foggy but my own experience and the FACTS of how dangerous Mexico is now will not be swayed by your opinion. Costa Rica and my lovely Tico family is my choice any day of the week.
Well if walking into migration and getting handed the latest and greatest rules and regs (which I have personally done on several occasions) is too hard for some people the logistics of moving to CR would surely be impossible.
I've just gone through the process on my own behalf because my lawyer wanted to charge too much and he kept making mistakes. I did everything myself for a lot less money. The big expenditure is paying the initial fee which if you're applying outside of Costa Rica is only about $50 but if you're applying inside Costa Rica it's $200, I think is what I paid. It's time consuming either way. There's no fast way. But it's just a question of submitting some documents i.e. birth certificate properly certified, background check properly certified (apostille), proof that your income is at $1000/month, etc. You'll have to resign yourself to making a few trips to the immigration offices and wait in line for an hour or two. There are seats to sit in and since you are 65 or over you have a legal right to go to the head of the line without waiting. It's exactly what your lawyer would have to do but you'd have to pay him at least $1000. If you do it yourself it's a lot cheaper. If you don't speak Spanish you'd probably need a translator to go with you however. Just paying a Tico 10,000colones ($20) would be a reasonable rate. Or you could pay someone $40 and just have them do it for you for the day. You don't need a lawyer. Here's the rundown at this link: https://costaricalaw.com/costa-rica-legal-topics/immigration-and-residency/residency-general-information-and-summary/ Here's the Spanish version for your translator: http://www.tramites.go.cr/catalogotramites/MantCatalogo.aspx?id=1511&t=4&i=300&d=129
TexCRbound, how is your Spanish? I got my residency without a lawyer and had no problem. Spanish language skills would definitely help you understand and work through the bureaucracy. The CR Migracion website has instructions to get you started. Be patient and good luck.
My husband and I have now lived her 3 years and still speak poor to little Spanish. Locals tell us all the time... "dia y dia ... day by day. Aprendo mi dia y dia I learn day by day. And I probably spelle Learn (aprendo) wrong as I is E and E is A.... ha ha ha. And x is S and Green roof is Verdi (what ever the word for roof is)...or cold water is aqua Friea which to me is water cold not cold water...
I've been reading the responses on this topic and finding them very helpful. Just have one question. If someone starts the application process from the U.S., and say it gets approved in a year (or whenever), does anyone know the requirements at that point of having to move to CR? Is there a time limit there?
Not, to actually move, but you will have to be here to finalize the process. This means signing up for CAJA, the healthcare system and apply for your cedula, for which you will have to have so set an appointment.
Ok, so say I start the application process today. Fast forward 1 year and I am at the point where they are ready for me to make my appointment to finalize the application. Maybe I have some family commitments that mean I won't be able to go down for 6 months. How long will they keep it open before closing the file and requiring you to start the process all over again?
I need to jump in with my thoughts or even questions. We do have our residency, and I got the documents together that were needed, and I did all of them correctly. Takes being detailed and thorough. But we did use a lawyer, and he did a good job and stuck fully to his quote.
But without him, if I had to do it today and did not know Spanish, nor the area, I would today have a problem finding Immigration and where to get fingerprints. But there were umpteen buildings there, and trying to find the right line to get in and remembering which building. And then it was noisy, and even though at that point in time the lawyer was not with us,`they would holler the instructions and it was a miracle we could even understand our name as mis-pronounced it so much barely could recognize.
Years ago, I read that you could hire a runner that would guide you through to process there. Even though I speak Spanish well, to me, I wouldn't be able to find the fingerprint building or right line at Immigration. That is the problem I would have.
I also read once, that if you don't have a lawyer or a 'runner' or whatever he was called, they kind of play their ignoring games or head games that they can at times do, and make it take a whole lot longer and difficult.
Kohl, Just a few things: Yes, there are many "hidden" expenses that you are not told in the beginning, such as the deportation fees. Anyway, after I got all my documents notarized, authenticated by the Global Affairs (former Foreign Affairs) and authenticated by the Embassy of Costa Rica, I felt very tempted to go to San Jose myself to file it with Immigration. The reason why I didn't it was because someone told me at the time that if you do it yourself many times when you call them in order to know how things are going, that they (the Immigration) would tell you that they couldn't find your process. Not sure if this was true but that's what I heard., that they prefer to work with a lawyer. One of my neighbors took so long to gather all the documents after the lawyer opened her a file with Immigration that they froze her process. Then she had to pay much more to the lawyer. In case some of you here don't know, the interview is in Spanish. They will separate the wife from the husband (different rooms at the same time) but they are not trying to trick you. They ask simple questions. We had to go to a second interview in Liberia where they took our fingerprints again and one more photo. Actually I found the last part of the process more complicated.
That is the typical lawyer scenario and one they love---either you or they take so long to do the work you basically have to start over and of course keep paying their fees! It would be their job to make sure they keep you moving and get things in on time but why would they do that?? I go back to my initial feeling about this whole subject--you are moving to another country and handling all those things so this residency thing is all part of it and nothing to be afraid of handling yourself.
Gill - We never had a problem with our lawyer. He kept to his quote. I never called him ONE time to bug him. Had cedula in 9 months.
Have friends who are using someone now, with same price as we had 3-1/2 yrs ago. She helps with each step, and are reportedly getting in less time than we did, and received their Expedientes in 3-4 days.
She made everything as easy as possible. She specializes in getting residencies and does most on-line until the end when she goes with them personally.
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while! LOL Not that you are a blind squirrel but you did get lucky. I have been reading (and paying for) this forum for over 10 years I think---and if you look back over time just about every single problem with the paperwork always relates back to a lawyer--just one of those facts of life I guess.
There are many good lawyers out there and some not so good. In fact the Immigration lawyer we used helped to write the new Immigration laws of Costa Rica. Now something funny: I have given her email adress to so many people and mentioned her in this forum and never made a penny out of it. Suddenly I actually got an email saying that because I referred her to a certain guy in Canada who is applying for residency with her I'm entitled to a commission. No wonder a while ago someone here was "fighting" over who had suggested a certain lawyer first. It was about my lawyer. To me it's weird because I already referred her so many times. Those who live in other areas of Costa Rica have more choices but here she seems to be the best. A Canadian lady here paid 600.00 to another lawyer and she ended up hiring mine.On the other hand I know a New Yorker who hired a lawyer in Liberia and he was very happy with him.
I have property-related and corporation experience with over a dozen attorneys in CR and have found that more than half of them are sheisters or incompetent. We did not lose a great deal of money with the bad ones because we recognized real quick what they were doing and walked away before it was too late.
Good article on this topic in the paper this morning (pasted below). Interesting comments to the article at the bottom.
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