Dec 26 2017

Change Your Name Before Moving To Costa Rica, by Rob Evans

One thing no one tells you before you move to Costa Rica is that your name is important: all your IDs and documents must have the same name (no abbreviations or nicknames), spelled the same way to make things easier. Costa Rica is a little bureaucratic and still uses paper documentation, so any anomaly can cause concern and delay.

A CR bank or the CR government will require you to present several documents and IDs.  They will carefully examine and compare your name and signature on each form. I was surprised since so much in the US is electronic and no one studies your ID or signature, but in Costa Rica they do look and do study. If they don’t get a 100% match, they may turn you away. Best case, they get their supervisor who studies everything causing consternation and delay. With careful attention to detail before you leave the US, you can avoid problems.

My full name is Vaughn Robert Evans, but over my life I have had bank accounts, credit cards and IDs with:

  • V.R. Evans
  • Vaughn Evans
  • Vaughn R. Evans
  • Rob Evans
  • Robert Evans

In the US, we don’t think too much about these small variations, but before I left for Costa Rica, I tried to make everything match my passport with my full name. Over time, I renewed my credit cards, US driver’s license, bank accounts and bank checks.

Now, all of these documents have my full name, making it easier for me to do business at the bank or government office:

  • Passport
  • Credit cards
  • US driver’s license
  • Bank accounts and bank checks
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Cedula (Dimex/CR residency card)
  • CR driver’s license
  • CAJA card

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