Who is eligible under this category?
- Marriage Certificate. A marriage certificate from the Civil Registry must be provided.
- Background Check. This document should be issued by a national authority. For instance, in case of US Nationals, it should be from the FBI. In the case of Canadian Nationals, it should be issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In the case of UK Nationals, it should be issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers. So on and so forth.
- Birth Certificate. It is required to obtain a new copy of your birth certificate.
- Application Form. We complete the application with your information.
- Cover Letter. The cover letter contains some information about you. We will complete the cover letter for you.
- Fingerprints. The fingerprints are obtained at a Police Department in San José. Unfortunately, there are no other locations available in the country. We will coordinate with you in order to complete the fingerprints.
- Certified Copy of the passport. We need to obtain copy of your passport, all pages including front and back cover. The copy must be notarized by a notary public in Costa Rica.
- Consular Registration. It is required to register with the Consulate from your country. We will provide instructions for completing the registration.
- Six passport size photographs. We will obtain the passport size pictures on the same day we do the fingerprints.
- Government Fees. Initially, it is required to pay $250 USD in application fees. Please review all of the government fees here.
Important notes about the requirements.
- An interview with the couple must be completed at the Immigration Department in order to confirm the legitimacy of the marriage.
- All documents in a foreign language must be translated into Spanish. The costs for the translations will vary depending on the original language.
- All documents from abroad must be authenticated for its use in Costa Rica. Documents from certain countries require an apostille. Documents from other countries require a legalization. To learn more about apostilles please click here.
- The birth certificates and the background checks (and any other documents from abroad) must be issued withing six months prior to filing the application. Therefore, your original birth certificate will not be valid for immigration purposes in Costa Rica. You will need to obtain a new copy of your birth certificate and background check shortly prior to filing.
The application process for the temporary residence has three stages. Namely, document procurement, Government Analysis and Decision, and Registration. Please review below the description of these three stages as well as the corresponding timeline applicable to each stage.
|Document Procurement||8 weeks||We will obtain the required documents during this period of time. Generally, it takes about two months to obtain all of the required documents.|
|Analysis and Decision by the DGME||9 – 12 months||Once the required documents have been obtained, we will file the application with the Immigration Department (DGME) By law, the DGME should process the application within 90 days. However, based on recent processing times, the DGME is currently taking about nine months for processing an application.|
|Registration||4 weeks||Once the application has been approved, We will proceed with the registration with the CCSS for the Social Security system (aka Caja). In addition, we will obtain the ID for foreigners (DIMEX aka cédula). This last step completes the process.|
Important notes about the processing times.
- Once the application is filed, the DGME will issue a Receipt Notice, which demonstrates that there is an application pending. This document in conjunction with your passport will function as valid ID.
- As noted, the DGME takes about 8 months for reviewing the application. The law allows the applicant to remain in the country while your application is pending. Thus, the applicant is not required to leave the country to renew the 90 day visa.
- A Costa Rican driver license cannot be obtained until your residency is fully approved and your DIMEX is on hand. Applicants who want to use a foreign driver license during the waiting period are required to leave the country every three months to obtain a renewed 90 day visa stamp in their passport. This seems to conflict with the note above but it is the result of different government departments having different rules.
- If you leave the country during the application waiting period, you may be required to produce a return ticket when trying to reenter the country at a border or airport. Whether a bus ticket or a plane ticket is require will depend on whether you area arriving at an airport or through a border crossing.
This is a description of the fees and expenses related to the entire application process under this category. Please note that we provide a comprehensive list of expenses. Our goal is for you to have a clear understanding of the real costs of the entire process from beginning to end.
Legal Fees Start at $500
- Preparation of application package
- Cover Letter
- Application Form
- Coordination for the Translations
- Procurement of Fingerprints
- Assistance with the consular registration
- Assistance with the registration with the CCSS
- Procurement of the DIMEX
- Filing the Application with the DGME
- Following up with the DGME to determine the status of the application.
Notes about the Legal Fees
- These fees are per person.
- The legal fees do not include government fees and expenses.