Most cédulas for foreigners comply with new regs

The immigration agency provided this cédula for illustration. The nun pictured is on a religious visa and would be issued a DIMEX card identified as such on the lower right.

Legal pensionado, rentista and permanent residents are included automatically in the new banking identification system if they have renewed their cédula within the last five years.

That is when the so-called DIMEX system went online at the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

report published Dec. 1 in A.M. Costa Rica has caused concern among some English-speaking expats because they fear they will have to obtain a new type of identification card.

Foreigners will be required to present their personal identification beginning in January while making bank money transfers. The card will also link the person to the country’s electronic immigration network which tracks the movements and status of foreigners. That network is run by Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. The DIMEX system is the same one that currently issues cédulas for permanent residents, rentistas and pensionados, among others. The acronym means  Documento de Identificación Migratorio para Extranjeros.

The implementation of the new regulations is a cooperative effort between Costa Rican immigration officials and the nation’s banking establishments, officials said at the time. Kathya Rodríguez, the director general of Migración y Extranjería, said then that permanent residents, temporary workers, students, refugees, the stateless, among others, will be subjected to the new guidelines, but it should not have an effect on tourists. There also is a regulation to issue numbers for persons who do not fall into these categories based on the identification in their passports.

There are many categories of temporary and permanent residencies that generally do not involve North American expats. Some categories, like students, have been identified by stamps in the passport instead of by a plastic cédula card. After January, if a student here on that type of visa wishes to make a transfer of funds through the Costa Rican banking system, he or she will have to obtain a DIMEX card for about $100. Of course, most students do not have the need to transfer funds out of their account or out of the country.

The measure is mainly designed to protect against money laundering. Costa Ricans already have cédulas that are linked to a data base in the Registro Civil.

The DIMEX card contains identifying information in a magnetic strip. The new measures were mandated by the Banco Central, and all banks must comply.

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