Costa Rica simplifies temporary residence process

24 Nov 14

COSTA RICA

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? Certain foreign nationals seeking Temporary Residence Permits may now submit an employer’s offer letter in support of their applications instead of appearing in person in Costa Rica.

What does the change mean? The option of submitting an offer letter simplifies the process of obtaining temporary residence for foreign nationals employed by companies accredited by Costa Rican officials.

  • Visas/permits affected:Temporary Residence Permits.
  • Implementation timeframe:
  • Who is affected:Foreign nationals with job offers from accredited companies who are applying for Temporary Residence Permits.
  • Impact on processing times:The change has no direct impact on processing times, but the offer letter option saves time because foreign nationals no longer need to travel to Costa Rica as part of their Temporary Residence Permit application.
  • Business impact:The change saves businesses time and money.
  • Next steps:Foreign nationals working for accredited companies may now submit offer letters instead of traveling to Costa Rica. The offer letter must be signed by a company representative and authenticated by a Costa Rican attorney or notary public. The foreign national must also provide a copy of his or her passport that is apostilled or legalized.

Background: The offer letter option is permitted under a recently issued regulation. Prior to the new rule, foreign nationals seeking Temporary Residence Permits were required to travel to Costa Rica to execute a work contract. In cases where this was not possible, a Costa Rican attorney could travel to the foreign national’s location to authenticate the work contract or the foreign worker could have the contract certified at a Costa Rican consulate. Foreign nationals may still submit their work contracts in this manner, but now have the option of providing an offer letter from an accredited employer.

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, foreign nationals must present an executed and authenticated work contract in order to receive their residence card. The labor contract must be signed by both parties (by hand, not digitally). The contract should then be given to immigration authorities when the foreign national is ready to conclude the immigration process.

BAL Analysis: The change simplifies the Temporary Residence Permit application process for employers and eligible foreign nationals. It is important, however, for both foreign nationals and employers to follow the documentation and authentication processes that remain in place in order to avoid unnecessary delays.

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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