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Everything posted by induna

  1. Maybe James should buy one of Newman's tuk-tuks and keep it as a backup?
  2. And lawsuits here are decided by judges who determine damages based on technical information and not on emotion. Juries are much more likely to assign very high damages.
  3. Yes, it is. I'm just saying that some people seem to be implying that having a car in an SA protects the driver from liability. It doesn't. Insurance is relatively cheap. I believe we pay a bit over 10 mil a month for 400 million in third party injury protection and 60 million in third party property damage. That is a lot of coverage here. I don't carry coverage for theft/collision. Where I live theft is not an issue, and since Costa Rica is a strict fault jurisdiction, I will only have to pay to repair my car if the accident is my fault, or the other driver is uninsured. My car isn't worth much, any?, more than the 6 million coverage that the marchamo provides. So even if the other driver has the minimum coverage I should get my money back. I'm willing to self insure for damage to my car that is my fault.
  4. However, if you as the driver of the vehicle are found liable, your personal assets, including those held by SAs in which you own shares, can be attached to pay damages. Simply because a vehicle is owned by a Persona Jurídica doesn't absolve the driver of said vehicle of all criminal and civil responsibility. If you're drunk and run over a family you're going to jail. If you're on your phone, cross the center line and cause an accident, you will be liable.
  5. There are many different kinds of Bonos de Vivienda available through many agencies and for many different types of needy populations. It is very unlikely that there is any significant amount of information on these in English. Why would there be? Many of these Bonos are administered through third parties and every town has agencies advertising these services. Maybe a place to start, but be wary. Or just go straight to the Municipalidad and ask a lot of questions. That's more legwork, but maybe a better approach. Or go to your local CenCenai or Pani and ask what they know...
  6. Why not talk to the Municipalidad of Zarcero? They should have all the records from that time.
  7. Or even better, get a hotel no too far from the airport. Chill, rest, have a nice dinner, and have the rental agency drop the car off for you the next day at your hotel. Much more tranquilo.
  8. It was declared unconstitutional only for procedural errors in the way the law was promulgated. The tax itself presented no constitutional problems. Therefore once the procedural errors were corrected by the asemblea, the tax was reinstated. The asemblea took advantage of the fact that they had to revisit the law to make some sensible changes. La Nación and El Financiero are your friends
  9. The letter has to state that the pension is payable for life. It must be notarized and apostilled. If the pension is from a private company, it is up to Migración whether or not they will accept it. The pension does not need to be deposited into a Costa Rican bank, although you no longer have to be a resident to open a bank account. That was changed in the middle of last year. You must submit a copy of your entire passport with your application.
  10. They changed the residency rules for spouses when the new law went into effect several years ago. It was mostly in response to an increasing number of "marriages of convenience".
  11. Yes and no. Yes they have to apply and be approved, which in most cases is pretty much automatic. No they no longer receive permanent residency, but temporary residency 'libre condición', which must be renewed annually. Parents of children born here do qualify for permanent residency immediately.
  12. Paul, Once one's tourist visa has expired one is in an 'irregular' migratory state and can simply be picked up and deported at any time. Period. Generally Migración will give people an opportunity to leave voluntarily, but they don't have to. I can promise you that the current law and regulation do not mention perpetual tourism, in Spanish or any other language. I seem to remember what you are talking about as far as a reference to La Gaceta, but my memory was that it ended up not being relevant. The law and regulation say nothing specific about a special migratory status of 'en tramite'. They simply state that one can remain in the country until an application for residency, or other procedure such as an appeal of a decision to deport, is resolved. If one enters the country as a tourist and then applies for residency, which is what most Gringos do, one can remain in the country until residency is approved or denied. However, other than the time one is allowed to stay, the law says nothing about any other change in migratory status simply because one has applied for residency. Therefore I assume, maybe incorrectly, that one continues in the same migratory category one was in at the time of the application for residency while waiting. Some people are allowed to work as soon they obtain residency. This applies to those who are eligible for permanent residency right away, such as parents of Costa Rican citizens (most often the parents of children born here), and those who get temporary residency 'libre de condición' because they are married to Costa Rican citizen. Although it is certainly not legal to work until residency is approved, it is a recognized right in Costa Rica to have the opportunity to care for one's family (this is why spouses and parents of citizens are allowed to work immediately -- they by definition have families and need to care for them.) This is why I imagine Migración might be more lenient with a person who is applying for residency based on a relationship with a citizen who is caught working to support his or her family while waiting for their residency to be approved. This is only a guess on my part, but it seems consistent with the spirit of the law. It is worth mentioning once again that the family is paramount in Costa Rican immigration law. This is why parents of children and spouses automatically qualify for residency and can work. It is also why both temporary and permanent residents can obtain residency for their dependent parents or non-residents spouses that they marry after obtaining residency. This is, of course, in stark contrast to immigration policy in other parts of the world, like the U.S.A., which often appears to be actively hostile to the family unit. Costa Rica also recognizes the rights of those who have lived here for a long period, legally or not, by offering them an opportunity for citizenship after 20 years in country. This is, in many ways, a very civilized and humane society.
  13. Sure, you can have legal status in the country, as a pensionado or a tourist for example, and then do something your status forbids, like work. In either case you can be fined and deported if you are a tourist, or fined and have your residency cancelled if you are a resident. I have a neighbor who is a business owner who came here with his parents 20 years ago. He does not have Residency. He was caught working in his business. He was fined a lot and was told if he is caught again they will kick him out. He doesn't work anymore. On the issue of working while waiting for approval of residency, to me that is also clearly illegal. After submitting an application one is allowed to remain in the country as a tourist until the application is resolved. Tourists cannot work for pay. There may be an argument if one is applying as a spouse of a citizen, or as the parent of a citizen, and must work to maintain a family with children. My feeling is that even though this is still illegal, if everything else is kosher, one would probably not be deported under those conditions. Family is one of the keystones of Costa Rican migration law, and the physical well-being of children trump's almost everything.
  14. Well, I suppose that was one way to read Eleanor's post... But I really don't think that was what she was trying to say at all. The fact that tourists are subjected to less legal scrutiny than residents is just a fact. Some people who are living here as a tourists are on the lam, fact. Some folks here as residents are almost surely running away from something as well, but they do have to provide a criminal background check of some type and submit their fingerprints to Interpol. I don't assume that anyone is a criminal. Almost all the people I know who don't have legal residency or citizenship don't because they can't qualify or have been misinformed about their options or about the process.
  15. So, I am going to go where angels fear to tread, and take on the legal issues surrounding Perpetual Tourism based on my, by now pretty intimate, familiarity with immigration law and regulation. First of all, talking about whether PT is legal, illegal, or somewhere in between is, IMHO, nonsensical because Perpetual Tourism does not exist in Costa Rican law. If you are in Costa Rica you are either legal or illegal. Those who are illegal have crossed the border covertly, over-stayed their visas, used false documentation to obtain entry, etc. Those who are here legally are residents of various flavors, refugees, tourists, diplomats, etc. There is no category of person in Costa Rica called a 'Perpetual Tourist', or anything remotely similar. Neither is there anything in the law that differentiates between a tourist that has only entered the country once and one who has entered 100 times. So, the key question is what are the legal differences between a Resident and a Tourist? Obviously there are many differences; residents can join the CAJA, do business more easily is some circumstances, generally move money more easily, get a driver's license, don't need to carry a passport, can obtain residency for family members, parents and spouses, etc. In addition some residents can work legally. Tourists also have rights. They have full protection under Costa Rican law, they can now open bank accounts (as in the past), they can drive for three months, and travel freely, etc. However, there is one key difference between Residents and Tourists that is very relevant to this discussion -- Residents maintain their rights within Costa Rica even when they leave the country. Tourists do not. When a tourist crosses the border to Panamá, Nicaragua, or points farther North, they no longer have any rights or legal standing in Costa Rica. This is true whether or not they own property, run a business, are a Saint, etc. Once they leave and cease to be a tourist, they loose all legal status. The only way a person that was a tourist in Costa Rica can regain that legal status is to re-enter the country and have their visa approved -- their passport stamped for citizens of North America and Europe -- for a period of time up to 90 days. Until the Migración officer stamps their passport and admits them into Costa Rica as a tourist, they have no legal existence or rights in Costa Rica (other than the rights that all transient persons who have not passed through Migración have). Residents, on the other hand, maintain their status no matter where they are in the world, and cannot be denied entry into the country as long as they have maintained their residency in good standing, and have followed the laws. Residents also maintain legal rights within Costa Rica at all times, and their residency cannot be cancelled without due process and right of access to the courts. What are the practical consequences of this legal status, or lack thereof? Simply put, a person requesting to be admitted as a tourist can be denied entry, or given a visa of a reduced duration any time they try to enter the country. The law is clear in so far as the decision whether to admit a person as a tourist, and for how long, is solely the decision of the Migración officer at the entry point. By extension, since the law says absolutely nothing about how many times a year, or for how long in total, a person may be admitted to Costa Rica as a tourist, although it does stipulate the maximum amount of time they can stay per entry, the criteria that determine whether and for how long a person is admitted are simply a matter of Policy and not Law. Although the Law is cumbersome and difficult to change, Policy is not. Legally Migración could decide at any time and for any reason to limit the number of 90 day stays in country per year to 2, for example. The only legal option a person in the country as a tourist, or a non-resident out of the country, would have in such an event would be to apply for residency. One directive from the Executive branch is all it would take, and those who have been living here as tourists would have no option other than to obtain residency if they wish to continue to live in Costa Rica year round. Owning property or a business, or being a Saint, confers no right to either entry or the an allotted time to stay. I do not believe that Costa Rica is going to change their policies with respect to tourists any time soon. However it is very likely that immigration will be an issue in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. How much of an issue, and how it will be framed, has yet to be seen. One, high-profile and particularly sensational crime by a person who has been living here as a tourist (and thus has not been subjected to a police background check) might be all it takes to create a groundswell of support for 'cracking down' on people living here as tourists. I don't think this will happen, but those who want to live here for an extended period of time and put down some roots might wish to consider the possibility. Those who have significant investments here might want to think about the extra risks they are assuming by not being residents. I feel that there are many other important, and perhaps less tangible, reasons for becoming a resident if one is actually living here, but I tried to restrict myself to the potential legal and economic consequences in this post.
  16. Was your birth ever registered in the Costa Rican Registro Civil? If it was, you may have a direct path to citizenship even though you are older than 25 and were born outside of Costa Rica. See http://www.tse.go.cr/servicios_atencionpersonal.htm and look under Naturalizaciones. If your birth is not in the Registro Civil, you may be able to register it and then pursue citizenship. Look under Inscripciones on the same site. If you can obtain citizenship, your minor children will be immediately eligible for citizenship. Your wife will be eligible for temporary residency Libre Condición, and eligible for citizenship after living here with you for two years. In addition to all of this, Naturalization is essentialy free. The only cost will be that of obtaining the proper documents. I think it is important to point out that if you want to go this route, you should discuss your options with someone experience in Naturalizations and not Residencies. They are very different things and go through two totally different government agencies that have their own peculiarities. Good luck.
  17. And here is the text from the Regulation, which is identical to Artículo 70 of the Ley Migratorio: Artículo 60.- A la persona extranjera que haya cumplido condenada por delito doloso en los últimos diez años en Costa Rica o en el extranjero, debidamente tipificado en la legislación costarricense, no se le autorizará la permanencia legal en el país excepto que la Dirección General o el Tribunal Administrativo Migratorio otorgue permanencia provisional a la persona extranjera que deba apersonarse a un proceso. This basically says that anyone who has committed a serious crime in Costa Rica or abroad in the last 10 years cannot legally stay in the country. The crime must be recognized as such by Costa Rican Law. (In other words if you were found guilty of Adultery, for example, in Saudi Arabia, that would not impede your residency here since Adultery is not a crime in Costa Rica.) So, a 25 year old drug offense should not be an issue.
  18. Further, I really don't think any lawyer can actually do much of anything to speed up residency approval. Once the application is submitted to Migración it is in their hands and moves at their speed. Sure, if they follow up all of the time they might be able to get a jump on any problems and resolve them quickly, but I don't think that is an issue most of the time, and I don't get the impression that most lawyers are following up all the time. If someone is applying for Pensionado using a pension from SS to qualify and can speak Spanish, I don't see any need at all for a lawyer. It is a very straight forward process. And now that the Correos de Costa Rica is going to be accepting initial Residency applications and delivering the cédulas, you won't even have to go to Migración anymore (if everything goes smoothly anyway).
  19. Of course the date and time are set, but not the location.
  20. Rodo, I would love to go to the game, but don't make your reservations yet. There has been a lot of talk about moving the location of the game to a different stadium/city. Mexico hasn't committed yet.
  21. Income Property?

    Do you currently, or have you ever, lived here?
  22. Hmm, I think if I were selling a property worth millions of dollars, I'd consider a plane ticket and hotel to meet the prospective buyer, no matter where in the world they lived, a very cheap investment. Of course since I do not, nor shall ever, own such a property it's all academic.
  23. But I think you all are forgetting that they can't take their guns with them to either Costa Rica or Canada, so those countries are both out. I think Mexico better be careful. Perhaps they'll try to annex Sonora or Chihuahua? Los Filibusteros Part II.
  24. You might not want to give up. I have often seen the prices do down if you book closer to your travel dates. Over three months is a lot of lead time and the airlines might still be asking for full-price. Closer to Christmas, even only in a month or so, you might see the prices drop significantly. Last year my wife and I had to make an emergency trip and flew on Christmas day for less than $300 from SJO to IAD. I flew back in late January for $150 on a one stop through Houston. My wife flew back a couple of weeks later on a non-stop from Dulles for $300. I actually got a better deal buying just a week before the flights back. Good luck.
  25. I know that there are private clinics, but the vast majority of professional employment is in the GAM. In any case to get almost any kind of professional job, especially in the health fields, one must be certified by the local gremio o colegio profesional. This usually requires getting some kind of certification from an approved program or university. I'm just saying that certification and experience from the US might not mean very much here without additional training that will almost certainly be in Spanish. Does having a work permit count towards the three years required for permanent residency or the seven required for citizenship? If not, loosing one's job can mean loosing one's right to remain in the country.