How to Go About the Renewal of My Residency
We recommend that three months prior to the expiration of your DIMEX ID card (known in Spanish as the cédula), you should renew it. The good news, however, is that renewal is not as cumbersome
We recommend that three months prior to the expiration of your DIMEX ID card (known in Spanish as the cédula), you should renew it. The good news, however, is that renewal is not as cumbersome as the initial application. If done right, upon filing and depending on your age, you could renew your DIMEX card in as little as one day and up to 2-3 weeks.
One benefit that some people aren’t aware of is that people who are 65 and over may renew their IDs directly at Immigration without an appointment on Thursdays and Fridays in San Jose. Another benefit for people 65 years old and over who renew at Immigration is that those who submit their documents there often receive their new DIMEX card on the same day.
Younger applicants can process their renewals at any Correos de Costa Rica or Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) offices, except for those whom have the Investors status who, due to the category and regardless of age, are usually processed at Immigration directly. Renewal entails scheduling an appointment, bringing the applicable documents needed, submitting them to Immigration, and waiting for around 2-3 weeks for the DIMEX to be delivered at the Correos de Costa Rica office of your choice.
As you can see, renewal sounds rather simple and it frequently can be, except for the fact that it is very hard to get a straight and clear list of renewal requirements from Immigration, Correos de Costa Rica, and the BCR. While the General Law of Immigration and its subsequent legal rulings should be the guidelines pertaining to requirements, things do not always work as they should in our beautiful country. Hence, Correos may have its requirements, BCR may provide a different list, and Immigration another!
The general rule for renewal is that you must present your original passport, your expiring DIMEX card, pay any corresponding processing fees, provide the latest CAJA (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social) payment receipt, and include the paperwork to prove that you still qualify for the specific residency category you hold. For example, if you are in the Pensionado category, you will need a newly issued pension letter showing that you still receive a lifetime monthly pension of at least $1000. If issued abroad, the letter needs to be apostilled or legalized. If you are an Investor, you need to present documents to prove that the property worth at least $200,000 is still yours. If you are a Rentista, a newly issued bank letter and the bank statements for the past 24 months may even be required, so on and so forth.
Therefore, proving that you still qualify for the category can be tricky. Consequently, we always recommend that you start working on your renewal with enough anticipation, meaning about three months of time in advance.
Another key factor in the renewal process is to be up to date with the CAJA. You may show up to your appointment carrying all the proper documentation, but if you are not up to date with the CAJA, chances are your renewal will not be successful. Therefore, carrying the latest CAJA receipt is always a must. If you are renewing not only your own DIMEX, but your family’s as well, you need to make sure that their CAJA family benefit is also up to date. Whilst you may have consistently paid the CAJA, if you never “updated” your family’s CAJA benefit, their CAJA may have been suspended. Hence, prior to renewal it would be advisable to make sure that their family benefit is up to date.
We have had multiple experiences where a renewal is delayed due to the family CAJA benefit not being up to date. If it is not up to date, a trip to the corresponding Ebais Clinic will be required to make sure this matter is settled prior to renewal. Please be informed that updating the family benefit may require showing various documentation or even file a new family benefit request form, depending on the situation, or how long the family benefit has been inactive. Also important to note is that, evidently, if you are the principal and have family, their residency cannot be renewed until yours is.
Renewing, as mentioned above, is generally not as difficult as securing residency the first time around and you may have heard stories of people who have achieved a successful renewal without any inconveniences. However, there are also horror stories, as with everything involving Immigration. The reason behind most of these bad experiences is the lack of a clear, consistent, and fixed list of renewal requirements from all the entities involved.
In conclusion, while renewal is easier that securing the first residency, it still has its degree of complexity considering that CAJA needs to be up to date and you still need to prove that you qualify for the specific category you hold. Renewal for Permanent Residency status is easier as you no longer need to prove that you qualify for the original category you held, however, the CAJA rule would still apply.