To be Tico, many expats still told to reject homeland

The Registro Civil has formalized with a publication in the La Gaceta official newspaper the rules for obtaining Costa Rican citizenship. For foreigners who seek citizenship based on their time in the country the requirement to promise to surrender the current nationality continues.

The Sala IV constitutional court already has upheld this requirement.  Most North American expats are reluctant to give up their citizenship there.

There are two categories for foreigners who have lived in Costa Rica. One is for individuals who obtained legal residency. They can apply for citizenship after seven years here unless they are Spanish or from Central America.

In these cases the wait is five years.

A second category is for anyone who has lived in the country for 20 years and can prove it. This would seem to include persons who lived here in irregular conditions.

Applicants in both these categories must promise to surrender their current citizenship upon obtaining Costa Rican naturalization.

Dual nationality still is possible for those foreigners who marry a Costa Rican citizen. For them, the wait is two years during which they must live in the country, according to the rules. They assume no obligation to surrender their current nationality.

Many foreigners promise to surrender their current nationality as part of the naturalization process, but most do not follow through. The formal statement of the rules in the official newspaper might suggest that Registro officials will begin to see that this pledge is fulfilled. There does not seem to be anything new in the decree that was approved Sept.5.

The rules linked to the decree spell out in detail the requirements.

These include police checks, testimony by witnesses of the good character of applicants and proof that the individual has a job or a way to support him or herself. A pension is one of the methods listed in the rules.

The regulations and a link to the decree is HERE!

A Playas del Coco woman with U.S. nationality challenged the requirement to promise to surrender her current citizenship. She argued that the difference between rules for persons living here for a time period and for those married to Costa Ricans was unconstitutional. The Sala IV disagreed. Those stories are HERE! and HERE!

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