Friday was an important day - the day we received our cédulas, or cédula de identidad.
The cédula itself is a credit card sized ID card with our photos, a personal identification number, personal information and our signatures. The reverse includes additional information.
Every citizen and every legal resident of Costa Rica is issued a cédula - it is the legal identification instrument here. There are different ways for foreigners to become legal residents of Costa Rica, the most common being pensionado, rentista, and investor. I won't go into all the details here - one good source of residency information is ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica).
One thing I want to stress in this post is the importance of getting yourself a good lawyer in Costa Rica to handle your residency application. I have mentioned our lawyer, Romulo Pacheco in San José, in previous posts and highly recommend him. We received our cédulas in just a little over a year. We know people who have spent three years or more and who are still slogging through the process. There were no snags. For example, when we had to make visits to government offices, Mr. Pacheco provided us with an English speaking attendant who smoothed the way every time.