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      IMPORTANT - READ BEFORE POSTING to SUPPORT FORUM   01/28/2011

      Posts to this Support Forum are to be related ONLY to one's ARCR membership. Posts inappropriate to the Support Forum will be removed without comment. Please post all other types of questions to the appropriate Forum. Only Forums Moderators, Administrators and ARCR Employees ae able to make any replies to this ARCR Support Forum. Paul M. Forums Moderator ==

CountDown

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  1. Residency or not

    Paul, "...your receipts ought to be OK..." (emphasis mine) This is helpful encouragement if you've passed the end of the currency exchange period and that's all you have to submit. I've never had a problem either, and possibly because they were normally made in many exchanges throughout the year (and I take in a photocopy of them as well along with a tally or summary). Immigration has never looked at more than the first or last few. However my post was intended to inform what is supposed to be required and will be accepted, not what someone hasn't been called on before (and therefore you might or might not get through as well). I hope you'll confirm what I said was correct insofar as we know it, in spite of what might slide through?
  2. Residency or not

    The proof is that your receipts from the bank have your name (preferably full name) and your number (cedula or passport number) appear on the receipt. This is true whether you're an extranjero or Tico. The bank teller will always put both (name and number) on the receipt. Look for it in the receipt. If missing, that receipt wouldn't (ok, "may not") count on the exchange requirement. Be sure both name and number appear. Sorry, this isn't a "how to" message but rather a "this is what's required" message. Your receipts require both your name and number.
  3. I'd followed the Tico Times since 1971 but in recent years I've only tracked the digital version. I'm guessing that their hard copy distribution was no longer cost effective, but I'll miss seeing it. I also miss the San Jose News (2nd largest English language newspaper) from the 1970s. It has been gone a long while but they'd offered me a job in 1973 and I still think I should have taken it! RIP to the hard copy edition.
  4. It can be cheaper to buy a one-way ticket to Costa Rica, then a separate refundable one-way (back), but not by much. If you've checked one-way versus round-trip prices you won't see much difference. On Travelocity for example, one-way from DFW to SJO is $370 while round-trip is $440; a $70 difference. Although you're coming here planning to submit paperwork to stay, the likelihood that you'll receive your Comprobante before your 90 days (assuming you get the whole 90) are up is small. Plan on leaving at least once, perhaps more, whether back where you are or to Panama/Nicaragua. If you get the Comprobante, great. If not, you've already planned to handle it. Note: there are a couple cheap carriers like Spirit Air that might be cheaper, if you don't need a seat and won't have any carry-on or checked luggage. If you're flying from one of their hubs it can be cheaper, but if you're bringing 2-3 suitcases, plus carry-on, and want to ensure a comfortable seat the price climbs dramatically. For quick, minimal-luggage hops to Florida (e.g. a short escape) it can be great. Be sure to check the additional costs (e.g. number of free checked bags) when comparing airlines.
  5. Blogs are like public diaries. Sharing insights and information discovered at the time. Sometimes for entertainment, to help others, or just a cathartic venting. Few people go back and update them (unless they're making a living from it!) Unfortunately that includes those who share what they've learned or needed to do, but which they don't subsequently pursue. It gets stale or flat-out wrong very quickly as you've seen. That's why we who've been through and followed the changes (e.g. in Residency) offer suggestions but still recommend heading for someone who makes their living at it and (hopefully) has the current info. Sorry Rick, that wasn't a useful answer, just an unfortunately true one.
  6. Residency or not

    Danny, as with my reply to you above, David would also need to know where you'll be to answer your question...
  7. Residency or not

    For a good answer to the question about bus service you'll need to be a bit more specific than "6 miles outside of Grecia." As with most of C.R. I know in Grecia there are regular buses along regular routes that converge downtown at the Central Market. But unless you're in a house along those routes it could be quite a hike (in rain, dark, up/down very steep hills, carrying your gym bag). Six miles could put you near Naranjo, or close to Atenas, or out on the Autopista. Or halfway up the Poas volcano. We know people who live in the area, but on cross-over "roads" between ridge lines or above small communities up the side of the volcano who have long walks to reach a bus stop. (Downhill to the stop. Uphill carrying bags on the return.) As to gymnasiums, there is one in the "Fabrica" called Adrenalina (Fabrica is where the University Latina is located) that I hear is highly recommended. The Fabrica is out of town but many bus routes from the Central Market stop there. Language barrier? Pretty much everyone speaks Spanish so that shouldn't be a problem... On the other hand, I know a number of people who get by with minimal Spanish, but unlike some areas (Escazu, Atenas, and the beaches) you shouldn't expect much English except with expats, a few Ticos, and the kids wanting verbal exercise. Not common in stores, banks, etc although they'll try (read: "struggle" in many cases) to help. Of course as with most of our medium and larger towns I'm told there are a few cafes, restaurants, and such that cater to (or are run by) expats. I don't know if you've read enough posts to realize it yet, but language barriers are some of the most frustrating aspects of living here. It factors in to why many people leave. Conducting business (e.g. going to ICE (telephone and electricity, paying bills), going to the bank, shopping), even telling your neighbor their dog is in your house will be a challenge. It is also lonely if you can only really talk with expats (at those cafes, restaurants, and bars they frequent) or those trying to sell you real estate. Language challenges are best faced head-on and start learning before you get here. Don't know if that helps, but I can get answers about bus service if you can localize where you'll be staying.
  8. They are not legal. "Independent contractor" is still a working (as opposed to "own-and-manage") position. Some people confidently assert that since the client is paying a corporation instead of the individual that it is legal because they "aren't being paid." In reality most of those you encounter who are working illegally simply haven't been caught because the (real estate transaction for example) occurs via a lawyer and no actionable record of agent commission comes to light without someone pointing it out. As with illegal work in other countries, it happens, but the worker has no rights and stands to lose a lot. I know many who work(ed) here illegally, and a few who ticked off someone (client, lawyer, another Tico agent, or expat) and were reported. Not a situation I'd like to be in. So don't expect to be a "real estate agent" until achieving Permanent residency.
  9. If your vehicle is in a corporation you need more, according to the P.O. folk. In addition to plates, cedula copy, registration, you'll need a Personeria Juridica, showing you are able to act on behalf of the corporation, a receipt from BCR for (I believe) 1200 colones, plus the fee (again I vaguely recall) 15,000. They said it would take five days (your car without plates for five working days) while it is all sent to Zapote. That required small deposit receipt was to cover a clerk verifying that your Personeria is still valid when it gets to Zapote. That is also why it takes much longer than a personally-registered vehicle.
  10. For many years a Tica friend has told us to bring high thread-count towels as gifts. Kitchen towels, batch towels, whatever. Most of the towels here are lower thread-count. Each time we'd bring bundles of (Costco) towels. A handful of kitchen towels packs well and makes a number of good "gee I have something here for you" kind of presents when needed. Note, the lower thread-count dry faster but our many friends like "showing off" by having higher thread count out for guests. For kids the "flying saucer" toys (8"-10" propeller on a stick) are great, inexpensive toss-in-the-suitcase kind of toys for wide age range...
  11. The short answer in your case (in my opinion) is "yes". Waste the time. Imagine the joy of a policeman, in the event of an accident or infraction, having driver with a foreign driver license but no foreign identity card (cedula). Although U.S. driver licenses are commonly used for identification, even with cedula you'd need other i.d. (passport?) to prove your existence. Renting a car may be possible, but that requires a credit card. The billing address will likely not be "200 m N. Iglesia Cat., San Pedro,..." so I believe it may be more difficult. Perhaps those who have actually experienced it (C.R. license only, U.S. credit card, etc) can confirm. There is reference to it in another post on International Driver Permits that is active today.
  12. Just to reiterate... after your tourist visa expires (presumably 90 days) your foreign (e.g. U.S.) driver license is not valid. Plan on getting the C.R. license before that time... (or hope not to be stopped for any reason whatsoever).
  13. Welcome to the Forums Arie! It sounds as though you have both feet firmly planted, which is refreshing. If you're even tentatively thinking of Costa Rica as a future retirement spot I wholly applaud your caution in beginning research early. I suggest that your first trip not be completely research. Spend some time and enjoy what C.R. offers (e.g. beaches, volcano, zip line, hiking, diving, surfing, cloud forest, etc.) of course. I'd also suggest spending a little time browsing the smaller towns. Unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool metropolitan person you'll find more enjoyment in the smaller towns and open country than in San Jose. It might be a bit soon for Tim's tour, unless you're within a very few years of making the decision. On the other hand, Tim might show you parts of our reality here that could shift your thinking. Another possibility, if you have time, is to schedule your trip to include the last Thursday and Friday of any month, and attend the ARCR seminar. It will absorb two days of your vacation but provides massive amounts of current information. Feel free to ask questions here too. Many Forum members have lived here or been visiting/exploring/contemplating for decades.
  14. Remember, this is still vague. Nothing in the article mentioned servidumbre, just guard shacks controlling access to residential areas. It didn't clarify if "residential areas" were public streets or private access roads. Dana, your example is exactly why I posed the question. Is the residential finca served by a public road or private? If "free transit" only applies to public land then the question would be whether a servidumbre is public or private. Otherwise "free transit" might mean walking through your front yard (or living room!) Do property owners served by a servidumbre have the right to control access to their property? The article that CRF provided doesn't answer the question. Costa Rica is inundated with creative (and conflicting) laws that are unenforced. Unless the Municipality or other organization (e.g. ICE, fire dept, police, Sky, AyA...) takes issue with the gate on the residential finca it likely isn't a problem. The important thing is knowing that this question exists and perhaps getting a definitive explanation.
  15. Thanks CRF, that seems relevant (and from a year ago! You have an excellent memory!) I recall issues of impeding access to beaches but hadn't see that article about guard shacks. That rather defeats the purpose of a "gated community." The part about "chains or gates" being used for "surveillance" rather than impeding entry seems nebulous. Particularly if there is no guard shack, as is the case with many folk way out in the country. So two farmers way out in the country, who share a common entry (servidumbre) to their properties, may be required to let anyone cruise up their private road. Hmmm... and ciclista has it mirrored in the city.
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