Jan 20 2015

In the Mailbag: Residency, Caja Payments, and a Question about Diabetes Care in CR – January 18, 2015

Our newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here’s a glimpse into our mailbag.


After reading Norman Seigal’s article, Alajuela to San Ramón, Another Adventure, in our January 8th newsletter, Merry had this question:

How were Norman & Frankie able to STAY in CR after their first visit past the 90 day-limit? We thought temp residency takes a year to secure.”

We went straight to Norman and he provided the following explanation:

Hi Gloria,

To answer the question of staying in the country past the 90 day visa is a simple process. We arrived on Jan 28th. In the beginning of February, we contacted our immigration attorney, who met with us and gathered all the papers we had brought with us from the US. Our long form birth certificates, marriage license, letter from Social Security showing that we were in permanent retirement status, and police report showing that we were not wanted for any crimes. He then took all the papers and had them translated into Spanish, then filed the proper paperwork with the immigration courts on March 3rd.  We received a copy of the filing papers for legal residency. With that paper and our passport, were legally allowed to stay in the country without leaving every 90days. Fortunately our attorney used to work for the immigration service, so he knew the in and outs of the process; we got our residency within 6 months and never had to leave the country.

Norman & Frankie”

Caja Payments

Laurie H. wrote:

Hello I would appreciate your help if you can. My understanding of CAJA is that it is a percentage of the money you come in with. For my husband and myself it is an annunity. When figuring the percentage of money for the CAJA do I have to double it for him to be insured or is it a percentage and it covers us both?

Your website has answered so many questions for us that we feel like its sped up what we needed to know by a couple of years. Due to this we are now planning when to send my husband there to start exploring different areas.  Making it two years sooner than we thought.

Thank you so much for all that you do,

Laurie H.”

We replied with the following:

Hi Laurie,

We’re happy to help. We know how many questions folks have, especially at this stage of the journey!

ccss-logoThere was some confusion recently about expats having to pay for Caja separately after a memo that was incorrectly interpreted. (See article mentioned below.) The resolution is that expats, just like nationals, can join the Caja as a family, not as individuals. This means that you and your husband should be able to join the Caja with one monthly payment, not two. And yes, it is based on a percentage of your declared monthly guaranteed income. It is usually between 6% and 13%. I believe that they also take age into account and it seems that the younger you are, the more expensive your Caja payment.

Most younger folks come as rentistas and their Caja payments are figured differently. Those under 55 can pay about double what pensionados pay. We have friends that were paying about $400/month but it went down somewhat when they turned 55. So much of this info “just depends” on lots of things, like the law at that moment, what town you join the Caja in, and who signs you up at the Seguro Social office. It’s really hard to give absolutes on any of this. But with pensionados, it would be, say, 6%-13% of the $1,000 for both of you, not $60-$130 each. At least that’s the way the law is being interpreted today. It is accurate I think because immigrants are to be treated the same way as nationals when it comes to this.

Hope this helps.

Paul & Gloria”

Diabetes Care Question

Since we have no experience with care for diabetes in Costa Rica, we’re passing the question on to our readers in hopes that someone can help. One of our readers had the following question:

What has been the experience of anyone with type 2 diabetes treatment with CAJA? And also, without CAJA?

I need to add that I am an insulin dependent type 2.  Although, with better diet and living habits – I work in front of a computer 8 hours a day – I might get off insulin.”


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