Last Wednesday, I found out that my permanent residency was approved! The next step - get my new cédula! That would be the ID card that actually *says* I am a permanent resident :-).
So, I paid the cédula fee (currently $123) and the rest of the legal fees, and my lawyer called for an appointment. Once upon a time, this took months (I'm not kidding! Our very first appointment for our very first cédula was FIVE months after our residency was approved.). This time? Less than a week! My appointment with immigration was Monday morning - 2 1/2 business days after being notified of the approval. (I'm wondering how many times I can get away with saying "approved" in one post...)
This morning, I hustled over to ARCR, met my lawyer's aide, and checked over my documents:
- latest orden patronal showing that I have joined the Caja (the national health system)
- my passport(s), boarding passes, exit tax receipts
- my old cédula
Waiting in the wings, just in case, I also have:
- hoja de delincuencia (a Costa Rican police report, showing I have been a good girl)
- USA embassy registration (proving that the USA knows where I am)
- Caja carnet
- bank letter, showing that Rick's family (that's me) has converted the required amount of money in the last year as rentistas
- marriage certificate ('cause *everyone* wants to see this)
- copy of Rick's cédula
Then we went over to La Migra (immigration), in time for my 9:15 appointment. As usual, we expect to spend up to 3 hours waiting for my turn.
I had brought a book, but quickly realized that I would be too anxious to read - I had to listen for my name (no numbers or moving-chair line), and that is problematical here. Will it be "Julie Hill?" or "Hoolia Eejh?" Turned out it was "Julie Kris Hill" whaddaya know, almost right - I heard it the first time, as did the aide :-). And it only took about an hour of waiting, most of it sitting!
We both went to the desk, where the immigration official asked to see my resolution (the piece of paper that says my residency was approved), receipt showing I had paid the fee, and then my cédula. Then she asked if I had picked up my old cédula at immigration, or had I had it sent to the post office - I still don't know why that mattered, but it did :-S. And nothing else did matter - she didn't need to see any of the other documents I had with me. But of course, if I hadn't had them...
She took my fingerprints and my picture, and printed out my new cédula information for me to verify. Interesting to me was that the date of my new permanent residency NOW says mid-March! My comprobante (residency package accepted) was dated early May, and my resolution said mid-August, but they changed the residency date to match Rick's. Also, my cédula is good for 2 years, and expires at the same time as Rick's - very nice! This to me is just one more clue that the two residencies are *not* in fact separate.
One other item on the printout was whether to be an organ donor or not - I asked her to change it to yes.
By 10:15, I had a receipt (with picture) for my new cédula, and a date (October 4) when I could pick it up at immigration. However, it turns out that now you can get the ID in ONE WEEK if you opt to have it sent to your nearest post office. Hmmm. Going to Immigration is easy for me, but I'm feeling impatient! I paid the c2,600, and plan to pick it up on my way home from school :-).
Just in time - tomorrow, my old cédula expires :-S