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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 2:42 pm 
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I found this on WeLoveCostaRica.com:

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The Costa Rican legislature approved a new Immigration Law, Law No. 8487 on November 25, 2005. This law, No. 8487 becomes effective on August 12, 2006.

This article will focus on the Pensionado and Rentista residency category as adopted to the new law.

The current Pensionado and Rentista Program was established in 1971 by Law No. 4812. It was passed in order to attract foreign retirees to Costa Rica and for many years the law provided numerous tax incentives such as the right to import household goods duty free and the right to import a vehicle duty free as well.

The tax breaks originally granted by the law are long gone and this immigration category is solely used to confer legal status to the applicant.

The Pensionado and Rentista Program was originally managed and administered by the Costa Rican Department of Tourism until administration of the program was turned over directly to the Department of Immigration.

In the past two years as immigration to Costa Rica from abroad has become popular the reactions of local officials have resulted in numerous procedural changes for processing residency petitions before the Department of Immigration.

On many occasions those internal procedural changes in immigration have resulted in the spread of rumors about the cancellation of the pensionado and rentista program, rumors about increases in the income requirements to qualify for the status. Most of that was just that; unsubstantiated rumors.

Since the existing Pensionado and Rentista Program has it's separate law (No. 4812) the law could not be changed or eliminated without modifying or repealing the existing law which only the Costa Rican Legislature can do.

Under the 1971 law, the applicant could apply for the Pensionado portion of the program if they had a permanent fixed income from a pension or similar retirement income of at least US$600 per month. The typical applicant in this category has a government, private sector pension or social security retirement benefits.

To apply under the Rentista portion of the program the applicant must demonstrate a permanent fixed income of at least US$1,000 per month. Generally, those who seek the Rentista category do not have a pension source and instead have investment income.

To apply for this category it is necessary to provide proof of the investment and that it will generate the US$1,000 per month required under this program. As such the applicant must provide a letter from the bank or financial institution where the investment funds are deposited certifying the existence of that income. It is not required that the funds be held in Costa Rica. The letter can be issued by international banks as well as Costa Rican banks.

In both cases, Pensionado and Rentista the beneficiaries must comply with the following:
    1. Prove on an annual basis that the required funds were deposited in Costa Rica and exchanged into local currency.
    2. According to Article 123 (g) of the new law they must reside in the country at least six months out of the year. This is a change from the old law which only required a minimum of four months.
The new Immigration Law, Law No. 8487 has effectively repealed the Pensionado Rentista Law, Law 4812 effective August 12, 2006. This means that all future applications must comply with the new law. Although the new law eliminates the Pensionado Rentista Law it does not eliminate the category. On the contrary, the new law creates the immigration residency sub-category of Pensionado or Rentista.

Under the new law there are only two main immigration categories, Permanent Residency and Temporary Residency. The Pensionado and Rentista becomes a sub-category to obtain Temporary Residency. Permanent Residency is only reserved for immediate relatives of citizens or those that have had a Temporary Residency category for at least three years.
    Under the new law to be eligible for the Pensionado Category under Article 77 of Law 8487 the applicant must demonstrate as in the old law a pension of at least $600 per month.
    Under the Rentista residency Category the income requirement remains the same at $1,000 per month. The only modification to the old law is that the current law imposes an additional income requirement if the applicant intends to have their spouse or Ch*ldren apply as dependents to their category.
According to Article 79 the Rentista applicant must prove an income of $2,000 per month if they apply jointly with their spouse. If they include Ch*ldren in the application then it is $500 additional in income for each dependent Ch*ld.

According to the law a dependent Ch*ld is defined as any minor Ch*ld of the applicant, any person under the age of 25 years who is a student or any person that is handicapped. The law only refers to the rentista category when it addresses the increase in income for dependents. There is no mention that the same applies for dependents, generally a spouse under the pensionado category.

The new law also modifies the application procedure. Under the old law the applicant could file their Pensionado or Rentista application directly with the Department of Immigration in Costa Rica. Article 78 of the new law eliminates that possibility and will require that all applications be filed with the Costa Rican consulate in their country of origin.

The Costa Rican consulate will in turn courier the file to the Department of Immigration in Costa Rica. The applicant will have to name somebody in Costa Rican with a Power of Attorney to review their application file.

As in the old law, the new law requires that the application be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:
    Birth Certificate: You must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and that of your dependents. The certified copy must be sent to the Costa Rican consulate for your jurisdiction for authentication. The consulate charges US$40 for each document to be authenticated. Be advised that the Department of Immigration will not accept any supporting documentation which has not been authenticated by a Costa Rican Consul.
    Marriage Certificate: If you have a spouse that will be applying as well then you will also have to provide a certified copy of a marriage certificate. The certificate must also be authenticated by a Costa Rican Consulate.
    Proof of Income: If your source of income is a government pension then obtain a letter from your government certifying the income. (US citizens on Social Security can obtain this letter from the United States Embassy -Consular Section in Costa Rica) If the income is from a Bank or Financial Institution then it must issue the letter. All documents should be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate.
    Police Certificate of Good Conduct: This certification is obtained from the police department where you last resided. This certification also needs to be authenticated by a Costa Rican Consulate. Note that this certificate is only valid for 6 months from the date they are issued. If this document expires while you are pulling together the rest of the documentation then you will have to obtain another one.
    Interpol Background Check: This step is done in Costa Rica at the Ministry of Public Security. The applicant first fills out an application form which is addressed to the Department of Public Security and signed by the Department of Immigration. In it is a request for the background check which requires finger printing in Costa Rica. The background check takes approximately one month.
    Photographs: The application requires photographs during the various stages of processing and we recommend that you take at least 10 photographs facing the front and 5 facing the side). You will require photographs for the background search, the Department of Immigration application so you might as well get them all at once and keep them in the file as needed.
    Translation of Documents: Once you have compiled all your documentation, all documents which are in English must be translated into Spanish. This procedure can generally be handled by the Attorney that you have retained to process your application.

Within the application process you will be required to provide the Department of Immigration with the following information:

1. Full Name, 2. Nationality, 3. Occupation, 4. Name of your Father, 5. Name of your Mother, 6. Name of your Spouse, 7. Race, 8. Color of your Eyes, 9. Color of your hair, 10. Your height (in meters), 11. Your weight (in kilos), 12. Marital Status, 13. Place of Birth, 14. Date of Birth, 15. Original Entry Date into Costa Rica, 16. Point of Entry into Costa Rica, 17. Physical Address in Costa Rica, 18. Telephone number in Costa Rica.

If your application is approved then the Department of Immigration will issue a formal resolution indicating the date on which the application was approved. You or your legal representative must appear at the Department of Immigration to officially retrieve the resolution.

Once you have the resolution then you can request an appointment with the Department of Immigration to have them issue you a picture identification residency card. To withdraw your residency card you must personally appear and sign for the card before the Immigration Officer at the Department of Immigration.

By incorporating the Pensionado and Rentista program into the new immigration law the Costa Rican government has sent a signal to foreign retirees considering Costa Rica as their future home that the door is open. Copyright by Roger A. Petersen.

Written by Attorney at Law - Roger A. Petersen. Roger has been an attorney since 1992 and is a member of both the Costa Rican and Florida Bar. He is a partner in the law firm of Alliance Law Group in San Jose and is the author of the bestselling 'The Legal Guide To Costa Rica.'


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 3:30 pm 
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This is actually LESS involved than getting a girl a K-1 Fiancee Visa.

So why do so many of you ex-patriots hesitate to get your residency?


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Because contrary to all the talk on message boards, there is no real need for residency for most. Unless you simply want to save on leaving the country every three months or getting your passport "fixed" . I've lived here almost 7 years without it and know people over a dozen years here who don't either. It's really not a big deal. Yes, I'll probably marry to get it soon for business reasons, it's not a priority.


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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 3:49 pm 
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Witling wrote:
This is actually LESS involved than getting a girl a K-1 Fiancee Visa.

So why do so many of you ex-patriots hesitate to get your residency?


Good question Wit, wish I had a good answer.

I applied for residency in mid November 2003. It was approved on February 2, 2004. Remember that time span included Christmas when the government closes down for a few weeks.

Others on this board continually post that they know people who have been trying for a year or more to get residency without success. Maybe I was just lucky.

Thats the good side now the downside.

I had to renew my residency in February 2006. My attorney collected all the necessary documents in early January. He was issued an appoint on June 13, 2006. Is this appointment to pick up my renewed ID card :?: No :!: It is the date he can submit my documents. He says it will be 3 or 4 months after that before I will get my renewal :( .

Things do not always go smoothly in CR :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 6:47 pm 
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Wouldn't leaving the country every 3 months get old after a while?


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:13 am 
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D2864;
Actually no. I have family in GA and NV, so right there, I have 2 obligletory trips a year. As to the other 2? Well, I enjoy travel to Panama and Nicaragua. After my next trip to Vegas, I am thinking about Equador and then Columbia. It might sound like a pain but it isn't.
LVSteve

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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:11 am 
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Great LVSteve - looks like a way to promote travel and exploration instead of just staying put in the same ol' same ol'.... one more thing to keep the body and mind thinking and working.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:13 am 
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D2864 wrote:
Wouldn't leaving the country every 3 months get old after a while?

That's the problem. Many of us like the existing system whereby you leave the Country for at least 3 days each 3 months without the need for Residency and all it's procedural problems. However the change that has caused most of us "Perpetual Tourists" (name given to us by authorities) is that our MAXIMUM stay/year in CR has been cut to 6 months if we use this classification.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 1:44 pm 
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VB, can you explain when and how the MAXIMUM 6 months is applied and calculated?

I've searched the internet and I can't find anything to explain this to me. I find the 72 hour/3 day exit routine all over the place as well the term "Perpetual Tourist," but I can't manage to find anyone talking about a MAXIMUM 6 months.

*


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 1:52 pm 
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ID is usually more up to date on these issues than I am.However I am told by attorneys that the important change in the Perpetual tourist classification is the max. of 6 months provision. This,I am told, is in affect at any time during any 12 month period. Violation "could" be punishable by up to a 10 year banishment from entering CR.


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 3:10 pm 
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Vegas Bob wrote:
ID is usually more up to date on these issues than I am.However I am told by attorneys that the important change in the Perpetual tourist classification is the max. of 6 months provision. This,I am told, is in affect at any time during any 12 month period. Violation "could" be punishable by up to a 10 year banishment from entering CR.


The only thing I have heard concerning a maximum of six months is what I posted here a few days ago.


Quote:
One trial balloon I hear being floated is that they will abolish the necessity of leaving every 90 days for a 72 hour period. However they would also institute a policy that anyone who spends more that 186 days a year in CR would have to acquire residency.

As I said this is only an idea being floated and may never come to pass but it points out how unsettled the immigration issue is at this time.

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 6:37 pm 
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I read this thread in conjunction with ID's "Thinking of Moving to Costa Rica?" I am also in the process of reading Roger Petersen's "The Legal Guide to Costa Rica." One question continues to linger in my mind: Other than not having to routinely leave CR, what other benefits are currently afforded individuals with Pensionado or Rentista status?

Any feedback on this topic is appreciated.

Muchos gracias, amigos!

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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 7:10 pm 
PHD From Del Rey University!
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BlueDevil wrote:

Quote:
Other than not having to routinely leave CR, what other benefits are currently afforded individuals with Pensionado or Rentista status?


Biggest advantage for me is the ability to join the CAJA (CR Social Security) which provides me with 100% medical, surgical, prescription drugs for a $37.00 a month payment.

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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:28 am 
Not a Newbie I just don't post much!

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My wife is Costa Rican, all I have to do is show up. hahahaha
My wife says I only married her for the green card of CR. :lol:


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