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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Canadian Pensionados - According To Me

Here is how you get to Costa Rica as a pensionado, which is the way we are doing it. Other types of residency are rentista (earning residents), representante (company visa) and inversionista (investor resident).

Pensionado residency requires proof of US$1000 per month from a permanent pension source or retirement fund. Combined pensions from one individual qualifies but you cannot combine pensions from two people in order to meet the US$1000 a month.  This new income amount became effective in March of this year. You must remain in Costa Rica for at least 122 days per year. A pensionado can claim their spouse and children under 18 as dependents. You cannot work as an employee but you can own a company and receive income. You must exchange $1000 per month within a Costa Rican bank. This residency is renewable every year and you must enrol in the local government medical system. Also, a US$300 guarantee deposit per person is required for all types of residency. After three years of pensionado status, you may then apply for permanent residency if that is what you want.

So that part is pretty straightforward - you either meet the requirements or you don't. What confounded me initially was figuring what documents were required, the time line, and what to do with them. You want to work backward - when do you want to be entering Costa Rica?

You need the following documents:

1. Birth certificate - long form - required for applicant, spouse and all dependent children.

2. Marriage certificate (if spouse wishes residency). Proof of divorce is not needed.

3. Income certificate - Proof of pension of at least US$1000/month stating that it is for life and that it will be paid in Costa Rica.

4. Police certificate of conduct/record from your last place of residence. Required for applicant, spouse and any children age 18 to 25.  This document has a lifespan of only 6 months for the purposes of the pensionado application. Ours are going to expire before we get to Costa Rica so we are going to have to get new ones again. I was a bit too eager with this process in the beginning! You want to leave this document for the last.

The birth and marriage certificates cannot be the ones issued when you were born/married - more recent versions are required. You get them from the province in which you were born/married. The cost is reasonable and the service is fast. I did it all on line.

So I had all these documents in hand earlier this summer and went to see the Costa Rican Consulate in North Vancouver because I had it in mind we could do our application through him. Well, you can but I found out you will still need a lawyer in Costa Rica to deal with Immigration there so you may as well just take all your paperwork with you to Costa Rica, give it to your lawyer and he will look after everything....which is what we are doing now. Your documents will still need to be "consularized" by the Costa Rican Consul in the country where the documents were issued. So we will do that before leaving Canada. We will meet with our lawyer shortly after arrival in CR and he will take us by the hands and lead us through the process (including getting drivers' licences). So much easier than trying to do it all I don't speak the language! (yet).

I hope I haven't muddied the waters too much. When we started this process, there didn't seem to be any cut and dried instructions for Canadians written anywhere - it's been trial and error.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oak Desks And The Things That Reside In them

We have this great big solid oak desk that my husband used in his office when he worked in downtown Vancouver. It is so large that it wouldn't fit up the stairs in the last place we lived it, a townhouse, so it languished in the garage for a year. In our current house, the living room is big enough that it fits perfectly in a corner and has become my desk. It's so big that I have two wicker file baskets on the top and each one holds a napping cat - "In" and "Out" (the "Out" basket holds the cat that doesn't belong to us). The desk was made in California and is a real beauty. It's a two pedestal model, with three pull out shelves to pile files on. One of those shelves is for "my secretary" to rest her steno pad on and take down all my rambling thoughts and later transcribe them.

I made my living that way for many years - hard to believe I once knew Pitman shorthand. Anyway, I digress - the desk is now for sale. So today I was sitting at my desk, and hubby was standing next to it with drink in hand and helping me go through the drawers and get rid of stuff so we can put this wooden baby up for sale. His "help" consisted of saying "throw it out, throw it out" and my part was to jump up and down and throw the items either in the trash bin, the recycling bin, or else the piles going to friends or the charity shops. He doesn't know about my secret pile - the little bits I'm hiding away to take with us to Costa Rica.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Genny Update

Looks like Genny will be good to go next spring. Her tests showed the infection had reached her kidneys and caused a bit of damage there. It appears the infection is on it's way out and she is scheduled for another ultrasound in a month.

Her belly was shaved so she's not fond of going out in the wet grass right now. She's an indoor kitty but does like to explore the garden on nice days. It was sort of funny when she got home last week after her tests. The sedatives had caused her pupils to expand so she looked exceptionally bright but couldn't see very well - she kept missing her food in her bowl.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Can't Wait to See the Birds

I've started following this Costa Rican blog: A couple and their teenager moved to Costa Rica a few years ago and this is the story of their life there. They are bird watchers and post videos of the birds at their feeders.....and they ain't sparrows. Toucans! they get toucans! They put out 50 bananas in their feeder and they were gone in an hour. Buying 50 bananas here would cost a fortune.

Other acquaintances of ours who live at one of the Pacific coast beach areas commented on how loud the howler monkeys were this morning.

I ask you - isn't this all so exciting?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Interesting Link

Here's an interesting web site on Costa Rica - There is a good article on the diverse weather one will encounter, depending on where one lives.

Canada's Foreign Minister has offered military aid to Costa Rica to help in the removal of the Nicaraguan military Isla Calero.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just Slogging Along and Downsizing

The more stuff I take to the various charity shops, the more stuff I seem to find in the house. All our Christmas items are on Craigs List and I've had a few calls but no buyers. It's a real deal: $100 will get you a 6 foot tree with stand and carrying bag, tree and outdoor LED lights, ornaments for the tree that are really nice, a bag of wrapping paper and gift bags, and assorted decorations for table tops. One of my favorites is a fabric white swan with a wreath around his neck.

Genny the cat has been spending inordinate amounts of time at her vet. Routine blood tests before her dental cleaning showed a UT infection and blood in her urine. Antibiotics have cleared up the infection but the blood remains. This coming Friday she is booked for ultrasound and x-rays on bladder and kidneys to find out what might be going on. Could be a stone and that can be removed, but kidney problems are more difficult to treat. She is ten years old now and hardly sick a day in her life.

I spend a lot of time reading Costa Rican blogs and have started reading A.M. Costa Rica, an English language on-line newspaper. Their rainy season this year has been so bad. It should be ending soon, everyone hopes.