Some hitches arise in renewing cédula

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I would like to report on my experience in doing the cédula renewal.  This occurred Thursday, and was the third time for renewal.  All of the previous renewals were done using the Banco de Costa Rica service, and that is where this one began.

I arrived at the bank after using the bank’s 900 appointment call and carefully gathering the documents.  As I am the spouse of a pensionado. There are several important differences in the requirements.  Documents needed:

– Financial document by our bank showing the account dollar transactions.
This amount differs according to the date of application for residency;
– Current insurance statement (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social);
– Carne Aseguardo Directo card, the local Caja clinic card;
– Pensionado income statement , issued by the Social Security
– $123 fee.

There was an uncomfortable feeling to the appointment that developed very quickly and then another person took the place of the initial clerk and explained that there was another requirement, that we needed to have the U.S. Social Security System deposit the monthly payment in our Costa Rica bank!  It was explained that this is a new rule instituted on Jan. 1 of this year, that this bank branch had all of the forms necessary, and they could fulfill this requirement immediately.  The deposit must be to a Costa Rica national bank (I think this means Banco de Costa Rica, or Banco National, Bancrédito, Banco Popular).  It was further explained that this was offered as a convenience, and otherwise we could go directly to the local Migración office.

We know the location of the local Migración office and went there and were able to complete the application there.  There was another hitch, there is a new rule for Migración as of Jan. 1.  The new rule is that applicants are required to obtain an hoja de delincuencia issued by the local tribunal.  This document is obtained from Interpol and was obtained locally within the hour.

There is one other requirement that should be mentioned, the carnet card issued by the local Caja clinic needs to say carne asegurado familia because my cédula is related to the cédula of my husband.  The normal title is carne asegurado directo.

Diane Connaghan
Playa Potrero, Santa Cruz

Editor’s note: After a search, staffers were unable to find any requirement for the hoja de delincuencia or police report. Such a document is required by law when an expat has been absent from the country for more than a year, but not for a routine renewal of residency. And there also does not seem to be a requirement to have Social Security funds deposited in Costa Rica. Still, Costa Rican public agencies are known for their mystery requirements. Expats need to get a full list from those at the bank call center when they make appointments.

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