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Residente por Vínculos Costarricenses – Residency for Costa Rican Links

This category is for anyone who is related or married to a Costa Rican. This is one of the easiest categories to obtain as long as all dues are paid and there are no legal issues.

For this kind of residency, one of the following relatives should be Costa Rican:
• Spouse
• Son or Daughter
• Mother or Father
• Brother or Sister (in this case, applicant must be single)
After the grant of residency, the resident then must visit the country for at least once a year in order to maintain the status.

Requirements for Residency through Marriage

Once someone marries a Costa Rica, they immediately qualify for PERMANENT RESIDENCY which grants all the rights of a Costa Rican except voting privelegies. Of course the proper paperwork must be filed with immigration and all dues must be paid. There also cannot be any outstanding legal issues to receive this specia status. The person may legally work in Costa Rica only after receiving the actual permanent residency ID card. The process takes between six months and one year from time of filing.


  1. Reason that one wishess to have residency here instead of country of origin
  2. Application filled which comes from the Immigration department.
  3. Register fingerprints with the government at the police station.
  4. Receipt of payment of residency tax to the Costa Rican government (this is less than $2)
  5. Birth certificate from country of origin translated, and then legalized by the Consulate of Costa Rica in your country of origin and by the Minister of Foreign Relations of Costa Rica.
  6. Police record from country of origin translated and then legalized by the Consulate of Costa Rica in your country of origin and by the Minister of Foreign Relations of Costa Rica.
  7. A certified photocopy of all the pages in passport.
  8. 8 photographs passport size.
  9. Marriage certificate (original or certified copy)
  10. Certified photocopy of husband or wife’s cedula or Costa Rican resident ID.
  11. Payment of all taxes and stamps.

*The filing time for this category can take up to 1 year.


Renovation of Residency Status

The great news about renovation is that it can now be done in one of the 32 branches of Banco de Costa Rica, for more detailed information click on the BCR official website. Basically,  BCR says that the process can be finished in twenty minutes but applicant's must pay the dues. About a month later the new residency card will be issued at a local Costa Rican post office.

BCR offers this service for renewals and for lost residency cards (cedulas)as well.  The Cost is about $48.00 for one year and more for additional years. This is paid at the BCR branch at the time of renewal.  To make an appointment, call toll free number 800.227.2482. Note the cedula is not given at the time of the appointment. It is promised to be sent by  the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (immigration) no more than 30 calendar days after your appointment.

They are staffed to do this at any of thirty-two offices throughout the country. Here is the list of branches that currently offers the service:

El Carmen

Villa Ligia

Oficinas Centrales

Cuidad Neilly


San Vito

San Rafael de Escazú






San Antonio de Coronado




Paseo Colon

Santa Cruz





Mall Internacional Alajuela

La Agonia

San Ramon





Cuidad Quesada

La Uruca



Naturalization and Citizenship

One can obtain naturalization by complying with the following requirements:

  • Be married for a minimum of 2 years. The Costa Rican spouse can be either through birth or even by naturalization themselves.
  • Have resided in the country for a minimum period of two years. If one has left the country,one must complete that time limit by remaining the number of days required to reach the two year minimum days.
  • Even after divorce one can still acquire naturalization, but must have met the time required for marriage and of residence in the country.
  • A valid passport
  • Residence bond in effect.
  • A birth or naturalization certificate of the Costa Rican spouse, issued by the Civil Registry is also required.
  • A certificate from the Computer Department of Immigration showing one's exits and entries into Costa Rica from the first entry into Costa Rica until the date of the request.
  • Birth certificate properly legalized by the Costa Rican consul (If one was  presented one to obtain residency it will also be valid for this.) OR one can request  a certificate form Immigration or from the ICT showing date and place of birth, parents’ names and a sworn statement of one's birth.

The naturalization process takes from three to twelve months and a formal request must be made and be approved by the Civil Registry. Then one will  be able to request your identification card and Costa Rican passport and now have the right to vote. Besides obtaining Costa Rican citizenship, in most cases one can retain the citizenship of their country of orgin, since in Costa Rica it is possible to have double citizenship.

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