The experience of the fingerprinting process: what to expect?

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

If you are an expat and you have friends or join a group in the media with foreigners that have gone through the process of having their fingerprints taken as a requirement to complete an immgration filing, they will probably tell you it is one of the most particular parts of the process. In Costa Rica, fingerprints are taken by “Ministerio de Seguridad Pública” or Ministry of Public Security. The requirements that must be submitted for having your fingerprints taken are the following:

a) Original passport; b) Be at least 12 years of age; c) Submit the completed Fingerprints Form provided by the Ministry of Public Security in Spanish.

An appointment at the Local Police Department is required. The availability is hard to get, as they don’t release spaces for the whole month. Each day spaces for next week are released. Hence, it is crucial to plan accordingly and with enough time your visit and the meeting.

Not every local police department is authorized to take your fingerprints. Currently, the offices available are: San José, Palmares, Cartago, Heredia, Liberia, Chacarita (Puntarenas), Limón, San Carlos, Ciudad Neily (Corredores), Upala, Pérez Zeledón, Sarapiquí (Río Frío) and Guápiles. We can assist you during the appointment in San José and Liberia for the rest of areas we will need to contact a provider that can go with you. The appointments are scheduled online and depending on the area, times will be reduced because of different work hours.

Keep in mind that a form will be required to attend the appointment, the form is used because in case they don’t speak English and you don’t speak Spanish, they can avoid miscommunication and, in that sense, the appointment doesn’t have to extend more than necessary. Such questions will include color of your eyes, height, weight, name of your parents, address, phone number, email address, birth marks, tattoos, scars, and so on.

The process could take around one hour between the time to get there and to attend the meeting. That will depend on the amount of people processing their fingerprints as well. Once inside, you will need to provide the form (which we fill out on your behalf) and your current and valid passport. Fingerprints are taken with ink; they are not taken electronically. If the officers have any questions, they can go outside and ask your Quatro Legal representative directly in case they don’t speak your language. Don’t panic, it is a simple process, and we will be there along the way to make it as smooth as possible. At the end, a small piece of paper will be handed over and that is the paper that must be submitted into your application, please do not through it away. Please take care of it until handed over to your Quatro Legal representative.

For more information please fill out the courtesy e-meeting form at the bottom. We will be glad to assist you!

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