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The New Costa Rica Immigration Law

August 13th, 2009

migracion de costa rica

It is hard to not say I told you so…  I cannot.   Sorry!

On January 11, 2009, in response to a large number of emails and phone calls, I blogged about the proposed immigration law. One online newspaper told concerned expats, future residents and readers that the new law would be passed immediately… before the Christmas (2008) break!  They said it would be retroactive and even those folks already here legally would be affected and have to comply. Everyone panicked.

I tried to explain that nothing happens that fast in this country and that panic sells newspapers and increases readership and thus sells advertising. I also explained that it is against Costa Rica law to have a new law be retroactive. I suggested a wait and be patient approach.

Well that was January and this is August and yes, finally, the Asamblea Legislativa (the congress) has passed the new Ley de Migración (immigration law) which should for years influence the rights and responsibilities of foreigners coming to live in Costa Rica.  Note I use the word foreigner and not the words American, Gringo, US Citizen or other such word as despite our often enormous sense of self importance, this law is designed to affect anyone from any nation who seeks to reside in Costa Rica on a legal and permanent basis. It covers a lot more as well.  I held off a few days trying to get a more complete picture of this new law, but sadly, reliable details are not forthcoming so for those of you who are interested in this topic, read on!

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Costa Rica Residency Renewal – Revisited

July 2nd, 2009

Residency CedulaLast 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:

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Bad News for Drivers in San José

July 2nd, 2009

jamupLast year, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (MOPT or as North Americans might call it, the Transportation Department)  made a rule that drivers could not enter San Jose on certain days of the week, dependent upon the last digit of their license plate.  For numbers 1-2 it was Monday,  2-3 Tuesday, etc.  I immediately hated this rule as it restricted my freedom. Well, I did not Blog about it… just as well because about 3 hours later, I changed my mind!  Suddenly, the traffic in San Jose dropped and while I had to be inventive on Mondays, the other 4 days were wonderful!

Crow tasted just fine. Besides, I knew that some offended person would file an appeal with Sala IV, the Costa Rica Constitutional Court.They did, and just days ago, the court  deemed  this restriction unconstitutional and thus declared it null and void.

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Email from Readers

May 4th, 2009

Good day faithful readers. Here is another addition of “My Readers Write” Here you will find a few emails asking questions not covered in The REAL Costa Rica or this Blog…. or maybe they are but there is some other twist that I think might be of interest.

As some of these were sent more than 5 weeks ago, I do appreciate your patience. I am just bombarded with email, especially now that readership in The REAL Costa Rica and this Blog is exceeding 60,000 visits per month.

If this interests you, please read on.

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Swine Flu Arrives in Costa Rica

April 29th, 2009

maskCosta Rica has confirmed two cases of Swine Flu. The infected parties are a 21 year old woman and a 29 year old man, both returned recently from trips to Mexico.  Costa Rica receives daily flights from Mexico. The woman traveled with 92 others on her flight home.  Both persons were treated at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Incredibly, the infected woman decided to ignore health officials and broke quarantine so she could attend classes at her university.

Thirty-five others are under watch.

A third person, a youngster, has flu symptoms (not yet confirmed as Swine Flu) possible infected by her father who recently returned to Costa Rica from Mexico. If confirmed, that would be the first case of swine flu caught within the borders.

The Ministry of Health this morning asked the passengers of two other flights, TACA LR 631 and Mexicana  387, to call 911 emergency so they may be tested.

Employees at the San Jose airport are wearing surgical masks, and many incoming passengers are having their temperatures taken upon arrival.

I am not going to go into this swine flu deal because unless my readers are living on another planet, you have been deluged with probably more information that you want to know.

I am more concerned though as my wife works at Calderon Guardia Hospital.

Dodged a Bullet Thanks to a Kind Transit Official

April 28th, 2009

whewFrom Tim May, 2014. 

Some things in this blog post have changed but some of the post still may be of interest… so after reading it, you should visit the the main web site where current info can be found.   Click here to read the latest.

Car owners every year must have their cars inspected. This is done by a private company, Reteve.  Information here.  There are locations all over Costa Rica and you must call first to make an appointment. The month of expiration is equal to the last digit on your license plate. Mine expired two months ago but when I went for the exam, I had a minor issue that needed to be fixed. Sadly, I let this go.  Dumb.

So I was at the airport last week and sure enough, I get flagged down by a transit cop. I am thinking that a ticket is a forgone conclusion but, as I have made a new appointment for another inspection, I thought I had a slim chance of getting by.  I DID, but the really important thing is that when handing me back my documents, he pointed out that my drivers license would expire tomorrow. He saved me just a world of hurt. While you do have some leeway in renewing it, if you let it go too far, you must start with driving school and then re-take the written and practical exams (in Spanish). While I do speak the language, the time lost would have been a disaster. So off I went yesterday to get my license renewed. If this topic interests you, read on!

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Le Grand Cirque Comes to Costa Rica

February 25th, 2009

cirqueI am always a bit suspicious of publicity that compares its product to some world renowned version of that same product.  In this case, Le Grand Cirque has been billed as “The Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil”, the world famous circus from Montreal Canada.  To be fair, the actual phrase came from some magazine or newspaper, Southern Times, and it appears that Le Grand Cirque is not trying at all to feed off the fame of their Canadian counterpart.

If this topic interests you, read on and be sure to see the videos at the end of the Post.

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This is Really Irritating!

February 23rd, 2009

podI get a lot of email as you might imagine.  The vast majority (well over 99%) of the comments are positive and pleasant.

On occasion though, I get a comment that really frosts my Twinkie.  This happened last night and I responded… but then I stewed about it all night!  The comment and my reply appear below.  I guess what really bothers me is that I spent a huge amount of time writing The REAL Costa Rica and then more time keeping things current both there and here on this Blog. I then get an email from someone who implies that I whitewash Costa Rica.  I know, of course that there are people who do not agree either with my opinion or my rather blunt style of writing.  Others love it as they really want to KNOW about this country, and they are concerned (rightfully) that they are not getting the facts from other sites that really do nothing but promote Costa Rica. I love living here but as I have written about 20 zillon times, this country is not for everyone. It is right for ME, but only you can decide if it is right for YOU.  Anyway, if you wanna listen to me rant a bit, read on. Her quote is exact.  No corrections or changes.

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The New Driving Laws in Costa Rica

February 13th, 2009

jerkA lot of people are surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to drink and drive in Costa Rica.  It’s true! However, the law also states that you cannot drive while drunk. That means that means that you as a driver are depending on the guy who is drinking to know when he is drunk. File that under things that make you go… “Hmmmmm”.

The government, getting fed up with the huge number of alcohol related traffic accidents and the resultant deaths, passed last December La Ley de Tránsito or simply new driving laws.

Although signed into law and effective last December 2008, I did not blog about it because there were sure to be a ton of appeals to the Costa Rica Supreme Courts, called Salas, regarding the legality of the new laws and the associated punishments which are truly severe. Sala IV has upheld some and is still considering others, but it is time to talk about these new laws. In this post, I will provide my thoughts and more important, a shortened list of the new laws and the associated fines and/or imprisonment.  If this topic is of interest, read on! Continue reading »

The Costa Rica Blues Fest

February 8th, 2009

Harp PlayerWhen I left Chicago almost a decade ago, I knew the stuff that I would not miss (snow, cold, weeks with no sunshine, snow, cold, snow, etc.) and the things I would miss (grand kids, children, friends, Fall, Chicago Fest, Spring, the Blues and the Chicago Blues Fest, etc.).  Well strike the Blues off the list as of last night for that was evening of the Second Annual Costa Rica Blues Fest.

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