Costa Rica Residency – Need Some Answers

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    I was convicted 13 years ago for Harrassment–a domestic situation–completed one year probation. Would that prevent me from immigrating as a retiree with Social Security as guarateed income? If I owed alimony that I could not possibly pay, what would that do to my status there? Could I be forced by Costa Rican authorities to pay alimony. If I had unpaid debts here, what would that mean if I was a legal resident there?


    I honestly don’t know if an offence from 13 years ago would still come up on a police report which would be required by the Costa Rican immigration authorities.

    You might be better trying to verify this with your local Police Department, if that does come up in the Police report your chances of getting residency will NOT be good.

    If it does NOT come up, I would have thought that your chances of getting legal residency would be as good as anybody else’s




    Thanks, Scott. I should have mentioned that was a misdemeanor charge to which I pled guilty. Do misdemeanors keep one from immigrating? Anyone else have any info? Thanks, JohnnyBoy


    This misdemeanor will likely appear on your local police report. However, unless it is a serious crime, I was told that the CR authorities were not much interested in things that happened more than 10 years ago. I would consult either the CR consulate closest to you or an immigration lawyer. I was told by the consulate that they are getting really tough on this issue but her comment was more about people who have committed felony crimes more than misdemeanors. If you are thinking of fleeing the country to avoid legal financial obligations, there are some rumblings that people who have bad credit, are in serious debt, and might be leaving the country to avoid paying those debts, will not be issued a passport. I don’t know that this is actually true, but there have been rumors about imposing restrictions on travel that will be tied to your financial situation.


    Immigration Council has had an erratic history of contradictory resolutions throughout this administration, that -GLADLY- ends next May 1st. Elections will be held next Feb 5.

    Anyhow, regarding the misdeamanor, if it shows in the Police records, I think that would be enough for them to deny your residency petition.

    Remember that granting residency is a courtesy of the State, not a right of the foreigner.

    Second, regarding alimony, you would have to ask an attorney up there regarding the proceedings in your State. What I can tell you is that if your pension is going to be received by you through the US Consulate in San José, the only thing any woman living in Costa Rica, needs to get her alimony from a US Citizen, is file a petition and the Consulate retains the amount owed and gives it to her.

    Regarding pending debts, you can be sued here or sued up there and the judicial decision executed by a Judge here in Costa Rica.

    José Rafael Fernández. Attorney.

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