What is the change? Expatriate employees are reminded that they must complete a number of steps after their residency is approved in order to finalize their ID cards and residence permits.

What does the change mean? Employees must provide their most recent pay stubs and family dependents must register with the Social Security authorities with appropriate documentation of familial relationships. Additionally, children under 18 who are approved for residency must apply for exit permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Residence cards (DIMEX).
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals and their family members applying for residency in Costa Rica.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing of DIMEX cards takes 2-3 weeks; Social Security affiliation for children under 18 years old is immediate, but for spouses it will take 10 working days to be approved.
  • Business impact: The procedures do not affect work start dates, as applicants may work as soon as the residence is approved, but employers should factor in the additional document preparation. Also, family members should be reminded to leave ample time to complete Social Security procedures, which are prerequisites for obtaining DIMEXs.
  • Next steps: Human resources staff should prepare to furnish pay slips to expatriate employees for their appointments to obtain their residence cards. To register with Social Security authorities, dependents are required to have an affidavit supporting the marital relationship and notarized birth certificates for children, and appear in person at the nearest Equipo Basico de Atención Integral en Salud (EBAIS) to apply for Social Security cards. BAL can assist in the process.

Background: The Social Security procedures became mandatory last September for dependent family members applying for temporary residence permits.

Expatriate employees with children under 18 years of age are also reminded that exit permits are mandatory every time a child leaves Costa Rica, either temporarily or permanently. Parents must apply for the permit together, but it may be done by one parent if the other parent executes a special power of attorney.

BAL Analysis: To avoid delays in residence permits, employees and their families should be reminded of the recent requirements and factor in additional time to prepare documents and complete procedures. Each EBIAS office has its own procedures, and processing times may vary from location to location.

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

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