Just yesterday, September 25, 2014, we applied for permanent residency status in Costa Rica. It turned out to be easier than we thought, though speaking Spanish was a great help.
The first thing we did was to visit the Migración office in Puntarenas, which is about an hour’s drive from our house. We live about the same distance away from the main office in San Jose, but chose to go to Puntarenas because it is much smaller and less crowded. When we asked what we needed to do to apply for permanent residency, they gave us a small piece of paper with the following printed on it:
Cambio de Categoria (Change of Category)
- Tener Cédula de Residencia Temporal x mas de 3 años. (Have a temporary residency card for at least 3 years.)
- Carta de Solicitud de cambio categoria. (A letter requesting a change of residency category.)
- Copia y original de Cédula residencia. (Your actual residency card and a copy of both the front and back.)
- Depósito Bancario por $200 CTA #242480-0 del BCR. (A bank deposit slip showing you have deposited $200 into the specified account at Banco Costa Rica. Note: this is actually a colones account; you give them $200 USD and the bank converts it into colones and deposits it into the account.)
In addition, though the note didn’t say to bring it, we completed a form that our friend Tom told us we would need. We downloaded it from this link, filled it out, and brought it along with everything else. It saved us time once we went back to Migración yesterday to file our paperwork. One important thing to note: All of the above needs to be done for each person, so if you are applying as a couple, you EACH need to bring everything, including the $200 deposit.
Here’s a quick video about the process which we made as we were leaving the Migración offices in Puntarenas: