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windsorje

Can an ex-felon become a permanent resident?

11 posts in this topic

I know generally speaking a criminal history would prevent any chance of gaining permanent residence and I am sure I am not the first to ask these questions. I am new to the forum and I did do some looking around on the forum, but I was unable to find what I was looking for. In the past I have visited CR a half a dozen and my status as an ex-felon has never came into question. Now I have the opportunity to come to CR on business and I would like to consider retiring there. I could otherwise qualify for envirsionista status, but then comes the question about my past.

I am a US citizen. 25 years ago I had a felony drug conviction. Yeah, it happened and I am not proud of it. Now I have an a chance to be really involved in this beautiful country, but looks like this old conviction may stand in my way. We do have connections in high places that could maybe help, but I would rather not ask. My wife has a clean record and could eventually get her permanent residency for herself and our two small children. Now my question is, would she be able to legally bring along her dear husband? Or would I have to be a perpetual tourist?

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Really, who can say? What you need is a really good attorney. You can check with these guys http://www.costaricalaw.com/ to get one opinion. There are some other good attorneys around, but the Costa Rica Law is the first that comes to mind. ARCR also has attorneys on staff but they are on contract, more or less, and some have been proven to be less than stellar.

 

This is a complicated issue with many parts so I don't think anyone on this form is prepared to give you a definitive answer. And "definitive answer" is usually not even possible when it comes to Costa Rica.

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The last paragraph on this Residency information website states this:

 

"* NOTE: There are certain crimes which automatically disqualify you
for Costa Rican residency.
The list of criminal convictions for crimes
that preclude a person from applying for Costa Rican residency are
the following major crimes (felonies): Murder; trafficking in illegal
drugs/narcotics; trafficking in human beings; trafficking in weapons
or explosives; sexual crimes against minors, the elderly or the disabled;
domestic violence; membership in certain designated gangs or in
organized crime; etc."

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But we don't know the nature of the "drug conviction" -- there are many variations. Plus we don't know if there is any kind of exception since it has been 25 years.

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I had to check my old paperwork to see what I was actually charged with. It's been a long time and a lot has happened since then. I was thinking it was a simple possession charge, but I pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute (due to the quantity). I will no doubt have to seek the advise and/or argumentative ability of an abogado (a).

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Now after doing a little more research, it would appear I could qualify for temporary residence as an inversionista. The dollar amount our company would be investing is sufficient, but I don't find anything involving criminal history. Also, i have not found how long a temporary residency is good for. Any help?

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When you apply for residency, for any status, you will have to provide a background check.. After being in a Temporary status for three years, you can apply at the beginning of the fourth year for permanent residency, although after two years you will have to apply for a new cedula.

 

Immigration does not accept all or every application as an Investionista....and it can take a long time.

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I reached out to a law firm in SJ this morning and received this response:

John,

Thank you for your inquiry.

For immigration purposes, the statute of limitations is 10 years. Therefore, if you have a felony drug conviction from 25 years ago, you will be eligible to obtain residency in Costa Rica.

Please feel free to reach us with further questions or comments.

Regards,

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Yay! Good job, John! I kind of figured there might be a statute of limitations thing going on.

 

Now, your REAL job begins: getting to know Costa Rica! Good luck with everything and let us know if we can help you again.

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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.

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