Posted Dec 2017
Just recently Thomas (an immigration client) asked me how he can receive his pension from the US in Costa Rica. I remember seeing brochures at the BCR branches offering the service to receive a direct deposit from the Social Security Administration into a BCR account.
He said that people had told him that Banco Nacional offers that service. I replied indicating that I was not aware of any other bank that offered that service. So, we had to look into it to figure it out.
I got into the website of the US Consulate in Costa Rica and there is an option there called “Enrollment in the Direct Deposit Program”. It turns out that it is possible to do it through any bank in Costa Rica by completing the form SSA-1199-OP-51 which you can find by clicking here. They also have some pre-filled forms which contains information to receive the direct deposit through Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Nacional and ScotiaBank.
An Immigration Side Note
People who apply under the pensionado category generally inquire whether they need to receive the pension in an account in Costa Rica for the purposes of obtaining or renewing the residency. The answer is that it depends. The Immigration Law changed in 2012 and with the new law, there were some changes related to the residency under the pensionado category. For instance, it is no longer required to have the pension deposited in bank account in Costa Rica. However, people who obtained the residency under the previous law may still be required to have the pension deposited in Costa Rica.
Thus, people who are planning on applying under the pensionado category or have obtained this type of residency under the new law, are not required by law to have the pension deposited in Costa Rica. The decision of whether to register for the direct deposit program should be on a basis of convenience.
I hope this information to be helpful. Please feel free to suggest any topic we can address in this blog, as the purpose of this blog is to support the expat community in Costa Rica.