Today we spent nearly 4 hours getting permission from the government of Costa
Rica to travel with my own children out of the country!

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Indeed, although we will all be traveling together as a family i.e. my wife, my 9 and 13 year-old children and myself we still in order to be able to leave the country.

This law applies to all Costa Rican children and children who are legal residents
of Costa Rica and was recently reinforced to avoid kidnapping, illegal adoption and child

We are Canadians and moved to Costa Rica two years ago. When we received our
residency papers here in Costa Rica the Immigration authorities stamped our passports
with a special stamp indicating that we are legal residents of Costa Rica. The
children’s passports were also stamped. Thus, they are clearly identified as residents
and are, as such, subject to the law-governing children traveling outside the

We therefore lined up with many other Costa Ricans and residents in the Immigration
office with all the necessary papers to receive this crucial stamp. As it is now
the school holidays and we are only a few weeks away from Christmas there was
a lot of hustle and bustle but as always in Costa Rica people were good humored
and quite relaxed.

I remember when I used to live in Canada and before that in Switzerland how people
would get quite impatient and angry when they had to wait half an hour for an
official paper let alone 4 hours! But that is one of the nice things about living
here in Costa Rica, time runs at a different speed and people just say Pura Vida!!

We didn’t mind lining up to get this stamp in the children’s passport because if
it avoids or at least reduces trafficking in children then that is fine with us.

Charles Kumar lives with his wife and two children in Costa Rica.

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