Immigration Appointment Complete

Today I successfully completed my appointment at the Costa Rican Immigration office in Liberia, Guanacaste. All that occured was that with my local lawyer's assistant present, I signed some forms and had my photo taken, which will be used for my residency id card, which I will pick up a week from today.

Nothing could stop me as I made my way to the Dirección General Migración y Extranjería building. Not even this tree branch completely blocking the sidewalk.

And here it is.

As you can see, it is well protected by a chainlink fence and barbed wire. Inside, there are several chairs to sit in while you wait in line. It is the same setup as at all of the banks I've visited, which is that it is a sitting line. When one line-waiter has been successfully processed, everyone gets up and moves seats.

The most difficult part of successfully completing this appointment happened yesterday. I needed to submit proof of payment into the Costa Rican social security system at the appointment. I was told that I could pay for Caja (the CR social security program) at places like Walmart, so I went there. I couldn't find anybody there who knew anything about it, so it was time to call my local immigration experts for some assistance. The problem was that I didn't have a working local sim card. Walmart happens to sell these, and I went ahead and got one. Unfortunately activiting it required a phone call way above my Spanish pay grade. Luckily, I was able to flag down a Walmart employee in the Walmart cafe who successfully completed the call for me.

After topping up my plan at the checkout and restarting my phone, data even started working. Now able to call my lawyer's office, I did, and got direction to try to pay at some nearby banks. I was getting somewhere at the first one, when I learned that they needed to see my passport, which I didn't have on me. So, back to the hotel to get my passport, then back to the bank. This time, I was told that the network connection to the social security system was down, and that I would need to try somewhere else. I did try at another bank, and all went well, other than that I broke protocol with my hat, which was concealing my face from the camera, which the tellers and security guards don't like, so everyone has their hat on backwards at the bank.

2 Responses to “Immigration Appointment Complete”

  1. whaack says:

    Congratulations on the residency. I'm pretty sure I've been in that same immigration office, my Nicaraguan cab driver made a stop there once to handle his personal affairs while he was taking me to the Nicaraguan border.

    I experienced the shifting sitting line system for the first time yesterday. I found it quite annoying. There was a point where there were only four of us left in the line. I was at the head of the line and didn't bother to shift into the last slot. I think that made the others in the line a little uneasy.

    Many mundane tasks in Costa Rica require you have your passport: getting a sim card activated, picking up international mail, and placing an order online. Also, when you ask a local a question such as 'what do I need to pick up mail?' they will not include the fact that you need your passport, probably since they themselves do not need it.



  2. thimbronion says:

    The guy who helped me out at Walmart with my phone managed to get by with just my driver's license number.

    Pura vida!

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