Costa Rica immigration authorities have made a change of the criteria regarding the ways in which United States citizens seeking Costa Rican residency may demonstrate their good behavior and a clean criminal record.


Costa Rica Imigracion requires each person who seeks residency here to provide a document of good standing and criminal history as part of their residency application package. Because of the various authorities from whom a certificate of good standing and criminal history are obtainable in the United States, the Costa Rican government has decided that all new and in process residency applicants coming from the USA must now supply documents issued by the FBI, ONLY, to comply with the requirement .


The below is a translation explaining of the reasoning the department used to reach this decision:


Articles 2 and 67 of the General Law on Migration and Immigration 8764, declares this migratory matter of public interest for the development of the country, its institutions and public security, and conditions to grant of legal residency.


The regulation of foreigners regulations issued by decree N. 37112-GOB, establishes the requirements that must be met by any foreign person who intends to regularize their immigration status in the country. One of those requirements is the certification of criminal records of the country of origin of the foreign person, or of the one in which he has resided regularly for the last three years, a document that must be presented properly apostilled  and officially translated, in case it is not issued in Spanish language.


The foregoing obliges the general direction of immigration and immigration to order and practice all the necessary procedures to determine the real truth of the evidence provided by the foreigner who intend to reside in the country, in accordance with Article 190 of Law 8764, Therefore, in the case of the criminal record certificate, we must ensure that this document proves reliably that the foreign person has not committed any crime in the entire territory of their country of origin or in which they resided.


Some countries such as the United States and Canada have criminal systems made up of a local and federal jurisdiction.  However, the certifications issued by local governments or the federal government that do not include the review of criminal records by name, identification number, and fingerprint records, do not definitively guarantee that the person does not have a criminal record.


In this sense and with the purpose of guaranteeing the principle of public security more broadly, from now on, in any procedure that is carried out before the Directorate General that implies as a requirement the presentation of a criminal background certification, nationals from  the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, or any other country that has local and federal criminal systems, that said certification indicates that their judicial record has been collated by name, identification number, and fingerprint of the person.


Specifically, nationals of the United States will be required to obtain a federal criminal record certifying the information from the "National Crime Information Center, interstate identification index, or triple III", duly apostilled, in force, and in literal translation, issued by an official translator or by a notary public.


In the event that the federal criminal record certification indicates arrests or pending proceedings, the user must also provide a criminal record from the locality where the legal case is processed, in which the result of the process is indicated.