Are we residents of Costa Rica yet? Are we, are we??

Look at this lovely couple holding their cedula (residency) cards!

cedula irina

Unfortunately this couple is NOT us, but our pals Irina & Jim.  They applied for their residency in December, 2012 and it took 18 months for them to get their cards.  I’m very happy for them.

You’re probably wondering where we are in our residency process?  Well,  it pains me to tell you – that we just aren’t quite there yet. Actually it’s fine. Some people get residency really quickly, others not so… It is what it is, right? Pura vida.

A little recap for you:

* July 25, 2013 (23 months ago, if you’re keeping track) – we started this whole process just a month after we moved here, with our first trip to San Jose.

* September 6, 2013 – we went back to San Jose and got fingerprinted among a few other things. But still no bank account was opened.

* January 22, 2014 – after FIVE total trips to try to open a bank account, we finally got a bank account opened.  But still no cedula/residency card.

Since then we have been waiting to hear from our attorney, which we finally did in April of this year (he’s not very responsive). At this point he needed a letter from our bank stating we had the required amount of money set up in an rentista-residency-appropriate USD CD. We went to our Scottia Bank in San Jose, had this done, and the appropriate letter written. We notified our attorney that the letter was ready, and for him to send someone to pick it up (the bank was just down the street from him).

Since then, we had been emailing our attorney just wanting to hear confirmation that he had the letter, and what was the next step? No response for a long time… then finally he responded to one of my emails just the other day, stating he had received the bank letter (yay!) and it was submitted to immigration.  But it would probably be another 3-4 more months(!) before we heard from them. Sigh.

So – that’s it! That’s where we are – in limbo-land. In a few months, I hope to present you with a picture of Greg and I, holding our brand-spanking-new cedula cards…  Maybe.  We’ll see.

That’s all for now! — Jen
PS – Don’t forget to check out my book “Costa Rica Chica”!
PPS – Don’t forget to check out my Arm Candy!



I quit my job in my early 40’s, sold everything and retired early to live a simple life in Costa Rica!

Check out my book: "Costa Rica Chica" - the book.

Check out my Arm Candy: Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy.

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19 Responses to Are we residents of Costa Rica yet? Are we, are we??

  1. Interesting, we also initiated our Rentista Residency application in July 2013. But one thing we did differently was that we set up our bank account and monthly transfers just before submitting the application. So the transfers started long before our residency was approved. We also had all of the required personal documents ready to go with the application. But we didn’t get fingerprinted until the end of the process, when the final meeting with Migracion was set up. We also used an attorney – sorry to hear that yours has been so non-responsive. We were approved after 8 months. During the last couple of months of our application process, out attorney said that he had to meet with Migracion a couple of times to correct some errors that Migracion had made in the process; and he periodically checked with them on the status of our application. Perhaps your attorney is not doing enough follow-up with Migracion?

    • Interesting, everyone’s story and process is different I think! And yes, I’m SURE our attorney is not doing enough follow-up!! 🙁

  2. Jen, I SO feel your pain!!! I got my cedula on May 20th (opened TWO boxed
    wines to celebrate), after a 3-year struggle to get all my paperwork in
    order and apply. I stupidly began the process on my own (don’t recommend
    that!), but finished off with good help from ARCR. I found that phone
    calls were more effective than emails to nudge action from lawyer. I also
    resorted to dropping off boxes of mangoes and bananas as a bribe. When
    you are done, you will feel like a million colones, I promise. Suerte!
    Carol Vaughn

  3. It seems (and I’m glad you know) that each individual process differs, I hope yours comes to fruition soon. The good news is because you know, you aren’t sweating it. Congrats to Irina and Jim too!

  4. Thanks, Jen, for our mugshots. I know people who got theirs in 6 months – no one understands why – or when – or how. However, having a RESPONSIVE attorney is definitely a good thing. Ours guided,replied, explained and followed up every step of our way to residency.

  5. Hi Jen and Greg, I have moved to Puerta Vargas, so I haven”t talked with you in some time. I have had my cedula for two years, and have to renew each year. In July will be my actual third year as ” temporal residente” and I am hoping this renewal will go to permanent status.

  6. I obtained my permanent resident as pensionado back in 01, and once I presented the docs it only took about 3 months.

    My happiest day though was crossing into Panama in 2011 and letting the cedular expire.

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