My child was born in Costa Rica – Can I apply for citizenship

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | Mar. 02, 2024 | Article, Immigration

My child was born in Costa Rica: Can I apply for Costa Rica permanent residency?

Many expats decide to give birth in Costa Rica as it paves the way for permanent residency for the parents. But after your child is born, how does the process work and what do you need to know about Costa Rica residency laws?

Costa Rica permanent residency for parents

The Permanent Residency for Parents is submitted at the Immigration Department and since it is a Permanent Residency and not a Temporary Residency, applicants will be allowed to work in Costa Rica freely from the start of the process.

What is the main requirement for Costa Rica permanent residency for parents?

Well, it’s essential that your child is born in Costa Rica!

You cannot apply six months before the due date, nor even a couple of weeks or days before, since the child has not yet been born. Logically, because they are not formally registered in the Civil Registry of Costa Rica, there is no birth certificate to prove your parenthood.

The applicants must be listed on the Birth Certificate as the father or mother.

What happens if we have another child who was not born in Costa Rica

Since the discussion involves a minor, it is possible to apply for Costa Rica permanent residency as a sibling of a Costa Rican child.

Will I get Costa Rica citizenship if my child is born in Costa Rica?

It is a common misconception that having a child born in Costa Rica automatically grants the entire family Costa Rican citizenship as well. This is not the case. Applying for residency is mandatory; the government, more specifically, the Immigration Department, does not initiate any process without a formal application being filed first.

What do I need to begin the application process for Costa Rica permanent residency?

Here’s how to get Costa Rica residency:

The mother and father will need to provide Birth Certificates with the appropriate apostille/legalization and Criminal Background Checks issued within the last six months and duly apostilled/legalized. For siblings of the Costa Rican child, a Birth Certificate with apostille/legalization will also be required.

A unique aspect of this category is that there is no designation of principal and dependent applicants. All applicants are considered principals, as the Immigration Department does not verify the relationship among applicants. The only requirement is proving that all applicants are related to the child. It is not necessary for parents to be married, which is a common requirement in most other categories.

The end-to-end process usually takes twelve to sixteen months for approval once the application is completed at the Immigration Department. Applicants will be enrolled in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (Costa Rican public health system) to receive their DIMEX cards (Costa Rican ID).

A harsh reality of this process is that if something were to happen to the child, all applicants would lose their residency status, as it is directly linked to the child. Therefore, without a Costa Rican child, there would be no Permanent Residency, since the foundation of this process is having a tie with a Costa Rican citizen.

Permanent Residency also enables you to apply for Costa Rican citizenship, which is an independent process. This process can be initiated after seven years (for those from non-Spanish speaking countries) or five years (for those from Spanish speaking countries). Applicants will then be able to request a “cedula de identidad” as a Tico or Tica, open bank accounts, and even apply for a Costa Rican passport.

For more information about the Costa Rica permanent residency process for parents, please fill out the courtesy e-meeting form. We would be happy to assist you!

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