San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Immigration

Costa Rica's post office now processing residence applications

Good news for all those seeking residency in Costa Rica: Correos de Costa Rica, the company that manages the country’s postal service, has opened 35 counters at its branches throughout the country to process residence applications and deliver DIMEX Cards (Immigration Identification Cards for Foreign Persons).

Correos offers this services through an agreement with the Immigration Administration and RACSA, a state-owned telecommunications company.

The agency started offering services for the Immigration Administration four years ago, but it only handled residency renewals. As of Wednesday, foreign citizens can now apply for a residence permit for the first time at post office branches as well.

Immigration spokeswoman Seidy Muñoz told The Tico Times that the agreement is part of a strategy to increase their coverage in the country, and offer more options for both foreigners and nationals. Ticos can request and receive their passports by mail from Correos as well.

Process

Those interested in applying for residency should first request an appointment by calling Correos’ call center at 1311. The call has a flat rate of ₡330 ($0.60) per minute. The call center works all week long from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Bilingual staff is available and operators will explain the full list of requirements for the application.

They also will ask for personal information, including a personal address, in order to arrange the appointment at the nearest Correos branch. Then they will set the date and time for the appointment.

On the assigned day applicants should bring all necessary documents including payment receipts — depending on the type of residence requested — as well as proof of Social Security affiliation and other requirements that operators will explain. The full requirement list is also available (in Spanish only) at the Immigration Administration’s website.

If Immigration approves the residency, Correos will deliver the DIMEX to the person’s home, “usually within two weeks after filing the request,” Muñoz said.

This is the complete list of post offices, by province, currently authorized for processing residence and other immigration procedures:

  • Heredia: Central.
  • Guanacaste: Cañas, La Cruz.
  • Cartago: Central, Paraíso, Tres Ríos.
  • Alajuela: Central, Ciudad Quesada, Guatuso.
  • Puntarenas: Cóbano, Ciudad Neilly, Golfito.
  • Limón: Central, Guápiles, Puerto Viejo, Talamanca.
  • San José: Central, Curridabat, Escazú, Guadalupe, Pavas, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Tibás, Zapote and at RACSA’s headquarters downtown.

Correos spokesman Eduardo Valverde told The Tico Times that Correos is working with RACSA to expand the number of branches with Immigration processing counters. He said that they are planning to add at least 13 more branches in the coming months, including Alajuela, Esparza, Grecia, Hatillo, Liberia, Nicoya, Pérez Zeledón, Puntarenas Central and San Marcos de Tarrazú.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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Peter Wendell

Ken, it’s really simple to know what phones can be used. There are two requirement: 1 it must be an ICE/Kolbi phone and 2 the phone line must allow 900 numbers. That’s all. Phone lines are not provisioned to make 900 calls by default, for reasons that should be obvious. Simply go to an ICE office to request it, or do it yourself with the online Tienda Virtual or the Kolbi app. No conspiracy. No “passive aggressiveness”. Just poor information.

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Ken Morris

The first, and possibly insurmountable challenge will be to make the 1311 phone call. If it’s anything like BCR’s number, you can spend days hunting for a phone capable of making the call. Many landlines and cell phones simply won’t allow you to make the call, as neither can it be made from a pay phone. Neither is there any explanation for why a few phones work while most don’t. People spend days borrowing phones to try to make the required call, and it’s very frustrating. Then, if you find a phone that gets through, don’t risk asking for English. That’s asking for the call to be dropped.

Unless is passive aggression, I have no idea why simply renewing residency should require these difficult-to-make paid calls. If they want the money (which they clearly do), fine, charge us. It’s only a buck or two, and I have spent way more than that finding a phone capable of making the call. It’s just ridiculous and cruel to make people endure this phone frustration.

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Guanacasteco

JA JA JA–Our post office in Coco cannot even process a letter…

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