San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Immigration Opens Center to Speed Process

Foreigners looking to live in Costa Rica can now learn more quickly whether their applications for residency have been accepted.

Immigration authorities announced this week a new “notification center” with fax machines, scanners, computers and telephones, with a $20,000 donation from the Colombian embassy.

In the past, people have often had to visit the Immigration administration’s building in San José to learn the status of their applications. Immigration authorities would fax notices, but the system was slow and unreliable, Immigration director Mario Zamora acknowledged.

On a recent Monday morning, people stood in long lines at the Immigration administration’s building to resolve various trámites. Zamora estimates that 40% were there to check on applications – either to reside in Costa Rica or change their immigration status. He said the traffic was “bringing our services to a standstill.”

Colombian Ambassador Luis Guillermo Basante collected the money from Colombian companies in recent months.

There were about 11,650 legal Colombian residents in Costa Rica in June – the last month for which numbers are available –making them the second largest immigrant group after Nicaraguans.


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