Renewal of Cedula or Residential Card Accomplished Today

This two-year one expires in May
and the new one is also good for two years.
Then I qualify for a “permanent” Cedula
good for up to 5 years.

To get my first Cedula I used a lawyer and spent a lot of money! This time was less complicated but still involved knowing where to go and what to do and all in the Spanish language which I am still not adept at conversationally. So I used a less expensive source whom I highly recommend, who charges a very fair price by the hour and speaks fluent Spanish. I used a local school teacher, Belinda Seabrook, originally from England. It was a delightful and easy half day trip to Alajuela Post Office where I was interviewed and photographed. Doing this at the Post Office is NEW this year and everyone says is easier than renewing at Immigration in San Jose. BUT . . . you must be prepared and here are the six things Belinda asked me to have for the interview:

  1. My current Cedula
  2. My CAJA or health insurance number
  3. Proof that I have paid my CAJA charge each month for the past 3 months (receipts)
  4. “Comprobante de pension” or letter from my Costa Rica bank proving that I have deposited a minimum of $1,000 a month into a bank here. (I have my SS check auto-deposited here,)
  5. Receipt from a different bank, BCR, showing I have paid $123 USD into a given Immigration bank account number in payment for this new Cedula (within 24 hrs off interview).
  6. And lastly come to the interview with ₡7,515 (=$13.23) cash which might be the fee that the post office is charging for the service, but I don’t know for sure. 
Correos de Alajuela – Alajuela Post Office

We waited less than 10 minutes for one of their 2 interviewers and in maybe another 10 minutes we were finished including the photo. It went smoothly & quickly because I had Belinda with me as a fluent Spanish speaker. Without her I would have been a nervous wreck! I highly recommend Belinda for this essential service for you expats here in the Atenas area. And she has a car which made the trip to Alajuela quicker and easier for me who depends on the buses. Call or email me for contact information on Belinda.

And I was informed that I could pick up my new Cedula at the Atenas Post Office on April 2. I then take it to the Clinic to register my new Cedula with the CAJA medical services. And I have a one month cushion since my current Cedula doesn’t expire until May 13. Until this year we had a separate medical card called a Carnet, but now we use the Cedula for everything! A national ID card of sort. Glad to have this bureaucracy requirement behind me for another two years, though I can apply for the permanent one in another one year if I wish. 
¡Pura Vida!
¡Costa Rica!

I’m an Official Resident of Costa Rica Today!

It is a longer number to memorize than my Passport,
but it will become my most important number now.
And of course the typical “bad photo” on all such cards!
But a nice hard plastic card with electronic strip on back.

Next I get a gold card for senior adults to ride on bus for free (Yay!) and other discounts. 

Then I will get a Costa Rica Driver License and I’m done for two years! 
In two years I renew this residency card, called a CEDULA here, and then three years after that I renew a second time for what will become my permanent residency card or Cedula. 
Note that my card says “Residente Pensionado” which is for retired foreigners who have a particular set of requirements. There are other categories of residency that have different requirements with people coming here to start a local business having the most complicated requirements. For me, I just had to promise to not take some Tico’s job (I cannot work for a local business) but I could earn money on the internet if I wanted to. And secondly I have to prove that I have income of at least one thousand dollars a month which is done with a Social Security form from the U. S. Embassy. Then the usual paperwork and red tape stuff and qualify for the government healthcare program which I am required to participate in whether I use it or not (called CAJA). It is all done now for me and I’m a legal resident! And fully covered for all medical expenses! Not a worry in the world!  🙂
For those considering it, I can’t imagine doing it without an attorney! And I really needed him today! I was suppose to bring the receipt where I paid for the first month of CAJA and forgot it! He managed to smooth talk the girl in inmigración and she let it slide. I couldn’t have done that! Plus my Spanish is not good enough to carry on this kind of business by myself.

Residency Approved!

Good morning Mr. Doggett,

Congratulations you got your residency approved!

I will send it to you on Monday when I get to the office.

Have a nice Sunday!
_______

That’s the email I just received from my residency attorney. I think there are separate steps to get the actual Cedula or residency card and the CAJA or medical services card. Plus a “Gold Card” for senior adults to get free bus and discounts on other things. Our next step is doing something on June 1 he said. One patient little step at a time!  🙂 The paperwork was filed in February 2015, so about 15 months for approval in my case. Friends have waited a great variety of times from 8 months to 3 years! So not bad and he asked for the resolution on Friday the 13th!  🙂

If you are wondering why I haven’t been posting as much on the blog, it is partly because of having a full schedule and partly because I’m using down time to work on a new photo gallery that will replace my PBase gallery for just Costa Rica photos, It is taking a long time to just upload/label the bird photos, not to mention all the other kinds of photos still to go! I hope to be introducing it soon. It is with SmugMug.com and will look a lot better than PBase plus you can order prints or other items with my photos on them if interested.