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Renewing My Costa Rica Residency

January 26th, 2009

pain1Oh the pain.  Caught again! Obviously a regular reader… and one with a good memory… Miguel is one of my Blog watchers.  This is good really as I get busy and fail to followup on things when months pass between the writing and the actual activity. The pain is for making me remember what I sort of wanted to forget!

In this case, Miguel (who I suspect is really a Michael as he writes from the USA), reminded me that I had never followed up on my post from last July 4 regarding my residency renewal. I really meant to do this, but as I did not go until September… OK October… I lost track. So for anyone interested in what happened… read on!

My appointment was scheduled for September 1st.  About a week before, I made the $58.00 deposit to  Banco de Costa Rica as instructed.  As I had an “appointment” for 11:15 AM, I showed up at about 10:30 AM on the very off-chance that this might actually mean I had an appointment at 11:15 AM. When will I ever learn… but hope springs eternal!

When I arrived, I got in the line to enter the building after checking in with the gatekeeper.  “Not a bad line”, thinks I!  Maybe 15 people in front of me.  Cool! So at almost exactly 11:15 AM, I am waived into the building a told to take a seat.  I see perhaps 50 people waiting in the seats.  I immediately take a seat and am immediately told… “No, over there!”.  Hmmm.  Make that about 80 people. So I wait.  Like an idiot, I did not bring my Ipod so I could listen to a book or to music… the time flies… not.

About 90 minutes pass and I am at the front of the line! “Not bad”, thinks I… ever the optimist!.

The guard motions for me to enter the next room which I presume is the actual location for my residency interview.  How many years will it take.  Naw… THIS room has another 70 people waiting in chairs to enter still another room. Oh-oh. Have I mentioned that 1. these building are not air conditioned and 2 it is hot as hell? Thought not.  Really, San Jose is generally very tolerable heat-wise and I seldom suffer even though I am calorically challenged.  However, fourscore people in a small room tends to make it kinda toasty! I thank God that those waiting are generally very clean people who take their relationship with  a bar of soap quite seriously.  So I sweat a bit… and wait.

At about 2:30, I have made it to the head of the line and wait for my name to be called. Shortly, it IS and I am told to walk back to desk number (I can’t remember) and have a seat.

A very nice young lady who after all these hours most certainly received her patience training at Job’s School of Boils,  reviews my file. This is already on her desk, so there was some preparation.  She asks a few questions and then takes my picture.  It is just horrible.. though given the subject matter…. Anyway, I ask for a re-take which she gladly does (after looking at result #1).  #2 is perhaps 5% better, but I am thinking of the 200 + people waiting and I just do not have the heart to ask for #3. The photo ages me about 50 years and I look like some guy released on parole after spending 66 years in stir.

Now when I got my first cedula, they took the picture, had me wait about ten minutes, then gave the new cedula to me and I was gone! Ahhh… Costa Rica! Only here is it possible to double the amount of work for such a simple task!  She smiles brightly and tells me to come back on October 1st to pickup my cedula. Oh… neat. I leave.  Time?  3 PM.

Fast forward to October 1!

Now as there is no appointment to pickup the cedula… just an open line somewhere, I go early! LOL!  Not early enough as it turns out. I get into a line (outside in the sun) with maybe 60 people in front.  OK… not bad.  I mean we are all just picking up and signing for our cedulas… right?

Two hours later, I am at the window. The process takes less than one minute.  Clearly the one minute process did not apply to those who went before. I get my cedula and as we all do.. check my photo.  It was atrocious in September, and now that it is encased in plastic. it has gotten much worse. If I really thought I looked that bad…

So that is it… well it is until July when I will again make a reservation, again go to immigration, again wait in line….

I am eligible for citizenship, and I may well just go on down and pick up the document list.  Permanent residents must renew every year.  Citizens every ten years (I think).  On the other hand.. maybe this is like child birth and the pain will fade… until next time.


4 Responses to “Renewing My Costa Rica Residency”

  1. miguel on January 26, 2009 8:51 pm

    Hola mi amigo…I’m glad you didn’t mind my lighting a fire under you. Sorry for your painful memories…what a fiasco! En Los Estados Unidos mi nombre es Michael pero a veces Miguel…Soy un gringo…

    When you get your citizenship in Costa Rica will that give you dual citizenship in CR and the US or do you have to give up your US citizenship? Hope we don’t have to wait till July to find out…ha ha 🙂

  2. Tim on January 27, 2009 8:19 am

    The US permits dual citizenship with Costa Rica

  3. Tony on January 27, 2009 6:42 pm

    Can’t wait, God willing. …Tony

  4. jorge caceres on March 24, 2009 5:34 pm

    costa rica, en san jose no es seguro mucha delincuensia,yo vivi muchos anos atras en costa rica 1960 y de uno las ventanas abiertas y puertas. yo vivi 19 anos en san juan de tibas serca de san jose,las cosas han cambido mucho, por peor. yo leo todos los dia la nacion de costa rica,y me enteo de lo que pasa alla. hace anos muchos que no voy po alla, yo tengo familia hermanos y hermanas,espero pronto ir .I hope you get your citizenship in costa rica.Mr jorge caceres PA. estados unidos

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