San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Foreigners to Get New Residency Cards

Foreign residents in Costa Rica who need to renew their residency permits can look forward to replacing the inconvenient, oversized booklet used for years as a residency document with a residency card that looks much like Costa Ricans’ cédulas, or identification cards, Immigration spokeswoman Heidy Bonilla told The Tico Times.

Immigration recently introduced the new residency I.D. card to replace the six different documents formerly given to refugees, retirees and other foreign residents, Bonilla explained.

The new system will make the residency renewal process take about two minutes, she said. Instead of the stamping and signing previously required, Immigration officials need only swipe the card through a machine to update the information contained in a metallic band along the side.

Because residents cannot replace booklets with cards until they renew their residency, the complete switch-over process could take up to five years, the maximum amount of time given to long-term residents.

To obtain the document for the first time, foreigners must pay $14 for the plastic card and ¢2,500 ($5) in taxes. Renewals will cost ¢1,250 ($2.50).


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