The process to obtain residency in Costa Rica is a process, which basically means it is a Bureaucratic hassle to try and get started even.  However, new procedures have finally made it easier… in one aspect anyhow.

For those who are going to start their residency, or need to complete other legal processes, legalization of foreign documents has now become simpler.  As of December 14th, 2011, documents that originate from participating countries can now be Apostilled for use in Costa Rica.  The benefit is that these documents no longer need to pass through the Costa Rican Consulate nor Relaciones Exteriores in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica signed to adhere to the Hague Convention on Apostilles last March and was awaiting approval by the other member countries, which has now been completed.  An Apostille is a fancy name, but basically is simply adherence to a standard format of legalizing documents so that the authenticity is easy to read.

This process will not only save time and inconvenience, but will also save the $40 fee that was charged by the consul in order to authenticate each document.  Now, this does not mean that documents don’t have to go through a number of steps to be put in order, and the ARCR can assist in directing you as to how to complete these other steps, and more specifically advise you which documents will actually be required to apply for residency.

Unfortunately not all countries adhere to this document recognition process, such as Canada, and so the old steps must still be followed in order to legalize the documents required for your residency.

To read more on Retirement in Costa Rica, read Kat’s Sunlove column.