Mar 16 2012

DIMEX, What is it? And Why Should It Matter To Me?

After our recent articles about our bank, Coopenae, & their 11.75% 12 month CD, more inquiries came in regarding investing here in Costa Rica. In the articles, we tried to address investors fears by answering questions about Coopenae , but in the process left out the fact that, in addition to being a legal resident, you must have DIMEX on your resident’s card. But what is DIMEX?

DIMEX is a tracking number the allows Immigration & the banking industry to keep tabs on the flow of money, on who is investing in Costa Rica, how much, & from what sources. The acronym means Documento de Identificación Migratorio para Extranjeros. The DIMEX tracking # is embedded on every resident’s Cedula (identification card), be they Pensianados, Rentistas or Investors. It was designed to insure that every person at the teller window could be readily identified as a legal resident of Costa Rica.

For his part, Mauricio Boraschi, Vice-ministro de la Presidencia y Comisionado Nacional Antidrogas (anti-drug-trafficking czar) stated that the use of the card in banking will help fight international drug trafficking in the country, while  protecting  foreigners from getting ripped off by someone posing as them, withdrawing money at the teller’s window, & being cleaned out or scammed.

“What we are doing is strengthening the banking system to prevent and control money laundering and terrorist financing, we are also creating regulated economic activities, which may be poorly exploited by criminal organizations to launder money, such as in real estate, purchase and sale of jewelry, gems, art, new and used vehicles, and criminal organizations looking for any lawful business to get into,” said Boraschi.

All Cedulas for the last five years have had the DIMEX identifier, but it’s been only since January 2012 that it was made operational. In compliance with US requests, it also allows the US to track its citizens’ overseas financial activities in Costa Rica.

Mario Zamora, ministro de Seguridad Publica (Security Minister) stressed that this electronic system will protect the foreigner while simultaneously controlling illegal activities in bank accounts.

The DIMEX identity card holds “reliable” data on the identity of the person and the immigration status of the foreigner, all contained in the card’s magnetic strip.

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