What is the change? Costa Rica has begun implementing new mandatory procedures for family members of expatriate employees seeking to obtain a social security card, which is required as part of the documentation process to receive a residence permit.

What does the change mean? Foreign workers applying for dependent family members should prepare for the additional procedures and factor in additional time to apply for and obtain the social security card at the Equipo Basico de Atención Integral en Salud (EBAIS), which is the agency in charge of administering and issuing the cards.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The change took effect Sept. 9.  
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Family members of foreign employees (spouses and children ages 18 and older).
  • Impact on processing times: The additional procedures may lengthen overall processing times for dependent visas.
  • Business impact: Dependents will have an additional administrative burden and may need to wait longer to obtain their residence permits.
  • Next steps: Dependents will need to apply for a social security card at the appropriate EBAIS where the foreign employee will reside. The social security card is also required for family members seeking to renew their residence ID.

BAL Analysis: Each EBAIS may have different requirements for social security card applications. To avoid delays, expatriate employees with family members should leave ample time to apply for the social security cards.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Costa Rica. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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