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July 2nd, 2009
Last year, I blogged about the process of renewing my residency. Those interested can read the posts here and here. For no good (logical) reason that I can see, renewals are for one year only and even though I did not GET my residency card until 4 months after the process began, it is now time to again renew the *%*(&$** thing.
This year, though, things have changed! OK… I know better than to say such a thing. Let us just say that the process has changed, and we shall see if “things have changed”.
What are the big changes? Well the biggie is that this year, it seems, that I will not need to make the trek to immigration. The other stuff will be gravy. So here is the new process:
Making that trip to immigration has always been a pain. While the vast majority of dealing with any branch of the Costa Rica government is a lesson in inefficiency, any sojourn to migracion is the premier example on how NOT to deal with the public.
The changes? For starters, renewal can now be done at any of thirty-two branches of the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR). In fact, they have even devoted a web page to those who will be renewing residency at that bank. It is, of course, in Spanish as bank web sites in English are still not common. I will, however, be happy to do some translating of the more important goodies!
Before I do… one alert reader commented that there is a link ti the English version. Either I missed it or they have added it. I am getting olde… I probably missed it… Either way, you now can click the link above for GringoSpeak!
- BCR promises that the process can be finished in twenty minutes. The operative words here are “can be”. I will, of course, report on the accuracy of that semi-commitment.
- BCR offers this service for renewals and for lost residency cards (cedulas)
- They are staffed to do this at any of thirty-two offices throughout the country (see list below). I am guessing that they may add more in the future, but these seem to cover just about the whole country so nobody need travel a great distance.
- Cost is $48.00 and is paid at the BCR branch at the time of renewal (but see below!)
- They provide a number for making appointments. It is toll free, 800.227.2482. It is answered in Spanish, and when I called, the person was not multilingual. English speakers may be available though, I did not ask.
- You will not get your cedula at the time of your appointment. It is promised to be sent to you by la Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (immigration) no more than 25 calendar days after your appointment. No mention of how it is delivered.
That’s it! Seems simple enough. So here is how it worked for me.
I called the toll free number, was placed on auto-hold for maybe 3 minutes until a nice lady answered. I was given an afternoon appointment in mid August at the BCR branch in the Mall Internacional not far from the San Jose airport. I was told to bring my cedula and my passport. That’s it! Now you will all have to just wait to find out if the above promises bear any semblance to reality.
Oh… and I saved the best for last! If my Spanish did not fail me, this renewal will be for TWO YEARS!!
Here is a list of the 32 branches set up for renewing or replacing cedulas.
BCR Offices Offering Services