How can I obtain a Costa Rican Citizenship: What you need to know?

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | Jan 3, 2024 | Article, Immigration

Citizenship is processed before the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE). There are two types of citizenship processes:

1.- Citizenship Through Marriage to a Costa Rican

You can obtain citizenship under this category if you have been married to a Costa Rican citizen for a period of at least two years, and have remained in the country for at least two years after the marriage. Every day lived abroad will be deducted from the 730-day in-country time requirement. Every departure of over 3 months restarts the clock.

2.- Citizenship Through Residency

You can obtain citizenship under this category if you have been a legal resident, living in Costa Rica, for at least seven years. This means that the 7 years that count are only those spent in the country as a Resident. Every month lived abroad will be deducted from the total time living in-country, meaning if you have spent 2 months outside the country since obtaining residency, you will need to apply 7 years and 2 months after you obtained residency. Every departure of over 3 months restarts the clock.

Applicants who file for Citizenship Through Residency and are under the age of 65 must first sit and pass the two mandatory exams: Spanish and Social Studies. After the exams are approved, you may continue with the rest of the process. Exams are held 2 times a year.

The two main requirements from abroad that will be required to file your Citizenship are:

    • Apostilled/legalized long form birth certificate with parental information (document must include the applicant’s name, date and place of birth as well as the names of the parents). Additional documents will apply if an applicant has suffered a name change. If the applicant already holds Residency and the original birth certificate is at the Immigration Department, it is possible to ask Immigration to transfer the document to TSE.
    • Recently issued (for TSE this means no older than 3 months of issue) background check report, duly apostilled/legalized. This needs to be issued by the FBI for US nationals, the RCMP (fingerprint based) for Canadian nationals, ACRO for UK nationals, etc. If an applicant has a record, additional documents may apply. Depending on the record, a person may not be eligible for Citizenship.From filing date, it generally takes the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones around 12-18 months to issue an approval.
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