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Immediate Relative Petition

This category of residency is available to foreigners who are immediate relatives of a Costa Rica citizen.

1. Who is an Immediate Relative for Purposes of the Law

Those who are related in the First Degree with a Costa Rican citizen.

The law recognizes the following to qualify:

i. Parents of Costa Rican citizens,

ii. The minor children of a Costa Rican citizen.

iii. The children of a Costa Rican citizen that has a disability regardless of age.

iv. Minors which are siblings of a Costa Rican citizen or siblings that have a disability of any age.

2. The Spouse of a Costa Rican Citizen

The procedure by which a Spouse of a Costa Rican citizen may process residency is one of the significant changes in the new immigration law. Under Article 73 and 79 (1) of the new immigration law the Spouse of a Costa Rican citizen is no longer allowed to apply for Permanent residency status. A Spouse must first apply under the Temporary residency category. This is a response to massive marriage fraud cases that have been uncovered whereby foreigners would pay Costa Rican citizens to marry them in order to obtain permanent residency. Under the new law the spouse of a Costa Rica citizen will be given Temporary immigration status for one year and renewable for additional one year periods so long as the immigration authorities do not determine that the marriage is a sham. After 3 years of marriage and with Temporary Residency status then the spouse may apply for Permanent Residency

The applicant must provide the following supporting documentation:

1. Birth Certificate: You must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and that of your dependents. The certified copy must be sent to the Costa Rican consulate for your jurisdiction for authentication. The consulate charges US$40 for each document to be authenticated. Be advised that the Department of Immigration will not accept any supporting documentation which has not been authenticated by a Costa Rican Consul.

2. Proof of Relationship to Costa Rican Citizen: If you are basing your petition on marriage then you must have a Cetified copy of the marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry. If you are a parent or sibling to a Costa Rica citizen then provide the Certified birth certifcate of the relative. You must also provide a certified copy of the identification document of the Costa Rican relative.

3. Police Certificate of Good Conduct: This certification is obtained from the police department where you last resided. This certification also needs to be authenticated by a Costa Rican Consulate. Note that this certificates is only valid for 6 months from the date they are issued. If this document expires while you are pulling together the rest of the documentation then you will have to obtain another one.

4. Fingerprints for Interpol Background Check: This step is done in Costa Rica at the Ministry of Public Security. The applicant is finger printed and the fingerprints are run through the Interpol computer index.

5. Photographs: The application must provide 4 photographs facing towards the front.

6. Translation of Documents: Once you have compiled all your documentation, all documents which are not in Spanish must be translated to the Spanish language.

7. Register with the Embassy of your Country of origin. You must register with your Embassy and provide proof to the Department of Immigration.