What is the apostille required for Costa Rica immigration documents to be valid in Costa Rica and how is it different from document legalization?

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | Jan. 2, 2024 | Article, Immigration

One of the most common problems and hurdles for foreigners when they are getting ready to file their residency or other type of immigration procedure before the Costa Rican Immigration Directorate is complying with paperwork. The immigration process in Costa Rica implies due to its nature for all applicants to obtain public documents from their respective home or birth countries to demonstrate factual information about them and/or their dependents such as place and date of birth, information about parents, criminal records and background checks, marital status and affiliation and relationship with their children, etc. All this information is important for our Immigration Directorate to validate and is established as part of the process.

The complexity to obtain documentation is variable as it will depend on the country’s infrastructure, governmental composition and of its dependencies, and even political or material reasons, como into play. Nevertheless, regardless of this specific circumstance all public documents must be apostilled or comply with the country’s internal procedures and requirements to confirm their authenticity and validity in order to be accepted by Costa Rican Immigration Directorate.

The Hague apostille or apostille is a simplified legalization process for documents used to verify their authenticity according to international private law. It is an international seal that validates documents for use in other countries and consists of an additional page added to the documents by a country’s competent entity and according to the specific procedures and costs established by each soberan state. It was introduced as part of the Hague Convention – this is where it derives its name from – as an alternative means for legalizationa and authentication of public documents. The Hague Convention is not a new treaty or “thing” that just popped up out of nowehere as it was approved in October 05th 1961. The countries that have the ability to stamp the apostille are all countries that are signatories of the Hague Convention which to date are 125 countries world wide. It is always essential for all applicants to determine if their country is a signatory party of the Hague Convention as it will impact the timelines and costs.

Some countries have started to introduce techniology in the apostille process to reduce the costs and bureaucracy surrounding this requirement; therefore, the physicial signature is being substituted by an electronic signature through encryption process and tools. Countries that have enacted this technology also have an electronic registry of apostilles for verification and confirmation by other States.

In the United States, each Secretary of State is in charge of creating and executing the procedures, timelines, requirements and costs for its obstention. On the other hand Canada will finally join this authenticity legalization system in 2024 making it easier for Canadian citizens to obtain and fullfil the Costa Rican requirements.

On the contrary, documents from countries that are not signatories of this international instrument must comply with specific legalization requirements in their home countries and in coordination with the nearest Costa Rican consulates. It is safe to say that countries not part of the Hague Convention add costs, time and stress to their citizens when requiring certaing documentation for legal purposes in Costa Rica.

We understand dealing with paperwork can be cumbersome; therefore, for more information and ways to complete documents, please fill out the courtesy e-meeting form at the bottom. We will be glad to assist you!

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