New Costa Rica residency card important for banking

by Ivo Henfling

DIMEX residency card is important for bankingThe new Costa Rica residency card is worrying some residents unnecessarily.

Some online newspapers in English,  like AM Costa Rica, Inside Costa Rica and the Tico times reported this week about the new DIMEX residency cards but the information wasn’t clear what a DIMEX residency card is.

For that reason, I have received several emails from my readership, worried about not being able to do any bank business without the new residency card. of course you will also need this residency card to buy Costa Rica real estate although you will be able to do that also with your passport.

Expiration old residency card

From January 2012 on, public and private banks and financial institutions will require, all foreigners residing in the country's new identity card issued by the Directorate General of Immigration, called Dimex. See below how the DIMEX (Documento de Identidad Migratorio para Extranjeros) residency card looks like. This card has, just like modern passports, all your information digitally hidden in the film strip on the back of your card.

The new Costa Rica DIMEX residency card

DIMEX residency card with digital information

Apparently, there are still some people that have their old booklet type residency card, because their residency hasn’t expired yet.  The regulation applies only to foreigners living in Costa Rican territory as residents, temporary workers, refugees and students. Tourists can use their passport. I’m pretty sure that if you have one of the old residency cards (DUM = Documento Único Migratorio), you can just use your passport. Of course it will be better to apply for a new DIMEX residency card though. The old residency cards all expire in 2013 and those who have a sticker in their passport to show for residency, expire in August 2012.

The reason for the change

The reason for this measure is taken to prevent the increase in cases of phishing scams and meet the provisions of laws against drug trafficking and organized crime. The Dimex identification card provides for the bank being able to check the computer system for the validity of the document. So if you have a bank account in Costa Rica, no matter if it is at a public bank or a private bank, you better check which residency card you have before the bank makes your life miserable.

The old Costa Rica residency

Old residency card - DUM - Documento Único Migratorio

Since 2008, Costa Rica immigration has started the process to provide all aliens with legal status in Costa Rica with the Immigration Identity Card for Foreigners (Dimex). This is an identification that consists of 12 digits and is considered very safe against possible forgeries.

By Ivo Henfling, you Costa Rica realtor who keeps you up to date on your residency issues too, but he also sells houses in Escazu and Santa Ana.

So if you are in the market to buy a house in Escazu for sale or to buy a lot in Costa Rica, contact me now.

If you have any questions or comments about the DIMEX residency card issue, feel free to leave a comment below.

You can see Ivo's listings in the Central Valley here.

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