U.S. expats can get embassy benefit letter by email

There is good news for expats who might have to prove their income to acquire residency or even a mortgage.

The Federal Benefit Unit at the U.S. Embassy said it has simplified the process for verifying Social Security and other government benefits for Costa Rican immigration purposes.

The government will accept email requests and make a follow-up telephone call to confirm the requestor’s identity.

The embassy said that the document commonly is called a proof of income letter,  a budget letter, a benefits letter or a proof of award letter.

The letter is an official report on money an expat might be getting from the U.S. Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, the Railroad Retirement Boardor the Office of Personnel Management/Civil Service Retirement. Until now, a personal embassy visit was required.

The email document is being accepted by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjeria, according to Javier Zavaleta of Residency in Costa Rica, who gave the first notice of the new procedure.

The embassy said that an expat had to follow these steps:

1.Request a benefit verification letter–free of charge–by filling out a form using this link:  http://costarica.usembassy.gov/fbu-inquiry-form.html

2.Within five working days, a representative from the Federal Benefit Unit will contact you to verify your identity and get your permission to email the letter verifying the benefit amount.

3. Requestors should print the letter and provide it to the Costa Rican immigration office. This letter does not require an apostille (or notarization).

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