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About expat99

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  1. identity theft in progress

  2. Thanks Eleanorcr, CRF, and Tibas9 and others for your info. I am currently affiliated with CAJA directly/voluntario since April. I was previously affiliated with CAJA years ago through my employer. I don’t plan on dropping it after naturalization. I do have mixed feelings about it (regarding the lack of grandfathering). But since the affiliation fee is so small ($45 through ARCR) (or less for some voluntarios) then it is simply an academic argument without much practical merit. And it is not an argument for myself. It is just that I know there are others who have set there budgets years ago and can’t afford an increase. But as I said, that is not a big issue for the vast majority as long as costs remain low.
  3. Eleanorcr and CF, I'm curious to know if you are permanent residents or not (regarding your affiliation with the CAJA), and if you have applied for the CAJA recently since March or April.
  4. Yes, you got a good deal, congratulations. If my earlier calculations are correct they assigned your income at 150,000 colons. 8,300 is approximately 5.5% of 150,000. If you are still a pensionado resident (under the old income minimum of approximately 300,000 colones) and not yet a permanent resident, they cut your income at least in half to 150,000. And the fact they didn’t ask for an income is a doubly super deal. But if you are a permanent resident then that’s a different story because permanent residents are not required to have an income nor produce any documentation regarding income. On an earlier thread a new resident was asked to fork over 225,000 per month! He went to ARCR for the $45 option.
  5. I’m not trying to promote or detract from joining ARCR here. I’m just adding up the numbers with the various options regarding CAJA affiliation. And I have no interest either way. In the interest of full disclosure I am personally not a member. It is worthwhile to join ARCR if only for the savings on the obligatory CAJA affiliation for almost all new Rentistas and Pensionados (temporary residents). After three years of residency and one decides to become an RP (Residente Permanente) it then depends on your income (if any) and expenses as noted in my earlier post and whether one gets a better deal from CAJA directly or through the ARCR group discount of $45. A Rentista or Pensionado is required to have a documented income (ingreso) an RP is not required to have anything nor prove anything. Speaking strictly from a CAJA affiliation perspective, regardless of one’s location, if one is getting a cheaper rate directly with CAJA and is a permanent resident (or pensionado at the $600 rate under the old law), then in that case it would not make financial sense to join ARCR. But I understand that many join and continue membership for other reasons.
  6. I cannot guarantee how CAJA will handle each case but I have personally navigated through their system to affiliate. Although I am personally not a member of ARCR I recognize that membership is a good deal for most expats and I do recommend to most that they join. Especially when it comes to the obligatory affiliation of CAJA I think perhaps 95% of the North American residents would be well served to sign up with ARCR for the $45 per month CAJA group discount. If you have an income of even just $1000 then you are better off joining the ARCR. I have done everything on my own (including residency and naturalization) but that is more personal preference and in addition I am married to a Tica which gives me an edge compared to most expats in navigating the various governmental hazards. For the average expat there are only two ways to join CAJA. Either by filling out the formulario voluntario (voluntary form) and walking into CAJA to submit your form and paying CAJA directly a percentage of your income (or imputed/assumed income), or by joining through ARCR. Any employee by the way is signed up by their employers’ who must make a deduction from their pay, add to it and then forward it all on to CAJA. The vast majority of CAJA revenues come from Costa Rican employees and their employers. Regarding the fees for the voluntario, it is 5.5% of your income if you are over 55 and 11.5% if you are under 55. So you can see that even at the minimum pensionado rate of $1000 you’d be paying $55 (which is more than you’d pay through ARCR). In addition, joining directly can be kind of a crap shoot as to how much they will actually charge. In the case of Retistas and Pensionados (Temporary Residents) they pretty much have you pegged. You will be asked for your bank receipts as a minimum and they are not going to let a pensionado off the hook for less than $55 unless you came in under the old law with a $600 pension and can prove it. The confusion and gray area comes in with RP (Residentes Permanentes) because now you can have no official income. You don’t even need to have a bank in Costa Rica. Of course you have expenses. So you list all of your expenses. CAJA really hasn’t made up their mind in any consistent official way as to how to handle this quandary. In some cases they will just charge you a percentage of your expenses, and in other cases they will charge you some minimum imputed/assumed figure less than your true expenses. In other words they will assign you a minimum income (ingreso) of something less than your expenses and you will then pay a percentage (5.5% or 11.5%) of that amount. If you are a permanent resident and don’t like the amount you’ve been assigned you can stop the interview and walk out. You then have two options. Go over to ARCR for a better rate or try through the CAJA again later but with a different clerk. Regarding the difference in the percentage (5.5% or 11.5%) based on age (55), the additional 6% for those under 55 goes to CAJA, but to the IVM within CAJA which is the pension department. To my knowledge you cannot sign up for just the pension. In other words you cannot get the pension benefit without paying for the healthcare part first. If you do pay for both parts (healthcare and pension) you would be eligible for a (relatively small compared to U.S. standards) reduced pension at age 65 and after paying at least 15 years into both systems.
  7. http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/ProfileFilter.do?puri=%2Fhome%2FPrescriptions%2FFillingPrescriptions%2FTMOP I copied the below off the above Tricare web site. Unfortunately if you are retired military an APO/FPO is no longer an option at the U.S. Embassy. I think your next best option is to use something like Aerocasillas; try using their “prealert” option to inform Costa Rican customs that the package is your prescription medicines and maybe that would help it speed through customs (just a guess). “Prescriptions may be mailed to any address in the United States and its territories, including temporary and APO/FPO addresses. If you are assigned to an embassy and do not have an APO/FPO address, you must use the embassy address. Prescriptions cannot be mailed to private foreign addresses. Refrigerated medications cannot be shipped to APO/FPO addresses.”
  8. Has Costa Rica ever legislated that guns be mandatory in homes (at least in high crime areas)? The first weapon could be issued by the government and additional weapons could be purchased by the resident and/or citizen. I think the increase in accidental shootings would be more than offset by a decline in home invasions. A neighborhood night out once a month where all residents are encouraged to fire their weapons into the air together, in a barrage for a minute or so would send a clear message to would be delinquents.
  9. Along those lines of privatization what do you think about the old argument as a practical and pragmatic approach to regulate rather than outlaw much of the drug trade? As we now do with the production, distribution, sale and consumption of alcohol. You can drink if over 18 but can't drive. You can produce and sell it if you have a license. It would still require a heavy law enforcement effort in the short term until the cartels were destroyed or morphed to conform to standard civilized business practices of a legal profit motive; no assassinations etc.
  10. So your point is that we should reject anything tangentially associated with the U.S. military because … well, because it’s the U.S. military. If you chose to stand on principal that’s fine as long as you are willing to accept for yourself and others (Costa Ricans in this case) the consequences of your decision. And what if you are wrong? then what? What if Costa Rica were to go the way of the northern states in Central America in regards to the influence and violence of the Mexican drug cartels? I hear your argument all the time. Do you think that Costa Rica would enjoy the fruits of no military if not for the military of the United States? The fact that Costa Rica has voted to partnership with the U.S. and its military and law enforcement efforts on many occasions is evidence that the country sees the wisdom and advantage in dealing with what some refer to as the “Evil Yankee Empire”. Do you then reject all militaries? Do you then reject all assistance and law enforcement partnership efforts, from any country with a military? Or are you selectively accepting of cold cash from a country that spends some of its revenues on maintaining and training a standing military. Are you willing to trade with the Evil Empire? Here’s an article from the 26th of July regarding the growing narcotic trafficking problem in Central America. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072605661_pf.html Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America By Nick Miroff and William Booth Washington Post staff writers Tuesday, July 27, 2010; A01 “… The Mexican cartels "are spreading their horizons to states where they feel, quite frankly, more comfortable. These governments in Central America face a very real challenge in confronting these organizations," said David Gaddis, chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. …”
  11. You left out “open and transparent” Obama and his cronies. In the manmade natural disaster in the Gulf he turned away help from other nations, shut down drilling (because they’re too deep?) while his cronies (Soros and company) will now make billions on deeper wells in Brazil. And how about that latest bill he just signed for financial reform (to protect the American people?) Now open and transparent Obama has made the SEC a secret society. We, the American people can no longer obtain SEC info on bailouts etc. via FOIA. They are exempt!!!! Those are just the latest two; all in the name of protecting the American people. I think dialogs the world over love a good crisis and low level chaos. It allows them to ram through their world view to “fix” the problem.
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