I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

FEAR FACTOR & is EVERYTHING your read ALL CURRENT AND TRUE??? (referring to an article spreading around the internet on "Perpetual Tourists" that MIGHT NOT be what it's cracked up to be!!)

The hottest post on Facebook today - January 12, 2014 - is an article titled: 
“New Law in Costa Rica for Perpetual Tourists”
posted at:  news.co.cr/new-law-in-costa-rica-for-perpetual-tourists/31555 (and now a BUNCH of other places)

People are spreading it like a wildfire - all over their Facebook, “Sharing” it with all their friends (especially those EVIL LAW BREAKING Perpetual Tourists) and their email groups, etc.!!!!!!! 

But is what you’re being told in fact ALL CURRENT AND TRUE??? 
I mean, it’s on the internet - posted by a reputable e-paper and it was written by a LAWYER that does Residency. 
So why would you question it - right??  I mean, he of all people should know what he’s talking about - especially if he’s advising us on what the title says - the article is about this “NEW LAW” that is supposed to go into effect March 1 - just around the corner (he means 2014 right??)?

So let’s start with the first 2 paragraphs:
“Costa Rica’s new immigration law goes into effect March 1. Tourists that travel out of Costa Rica in order to renew their visa every 90 days, have new rules to follow.

Mario Zamora, the director general of Migración y Extranjería, said Thursday (since this article was posted today - January 12, 2014 - he’s referring to January 9, 2014 as most people are thinking that have bombarded me with this link - right?) that a tourist will not be able to go to the same country twice and that after two trips to renew a visa a tourist will have to stay out of Costa Rica for a minimum of 15 days.”

WELL . . . them words sure seemed MIGHTY FAMILIAR to me - from the PAST - so I started searching around my database to find where I heard that EXACT MESSAGE BEFORE and low and behold - THERE IT WAS!!!!

YES folks - pretty much the WHOLE AM Costa Rica article from February 19, 
YUP!!!  These SAME WORDS were published in 2010 - is what this attorney wrote about TODAY - January 12, 2014 - implying in most readers minds I’ll bet, that it was ALL CURRENT information - the NEW LAW was FINALLY going into effect March 1, 2014 - at least that’s how ALL the people saw it that sent it to me (in all fairness, he DID credit that article to JacoHotels.com/news/jaco-news-herradura-news-esterillos-news-manuel-antonio-news/costa-rica-news/3131.html - though not to AMCR.com from 4 YEARS AGO!!!).

I’m not saying he’s “lying” - it’s just - well, the article is a BIT OUT OF DATE - nearly 4 YEARS OUT OF DATE!!!!!

So since the ORIGINAL article was written nearly 4 YEARS AGO, so let’s look at the ORIGINAL article and where this “NEW LAW” stands TODAY:

To start off with, he references a quote from Mario Zamora Cordero “the director general of Migración y Extranjería”. 
Mr Zamora is NOT the CURRENT•2014 “Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería”.
At least on Migracions Facebook page - http://facebook.com/MigracionCostaRica/posts/604037989652762 - they keep posting quotes from Kathya Rodriguez and refer to HER as the Directora General -  (last I remember, Mario Zamora Cordero was now the Ministro de Seguridad)

Now, SOME of the things mentioned in this article HAVE been implemented - like:
•   “They need to join the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and show that they have Caja membership when they renew their passports.”
•   “More categories have been created for persons who seek to work or stay in Costa Rica”
•   “Pensionados approved under the new law must show a monthly income from a certified pension of at least $1,000 a month, up from $600. This amount covers foreign spouses and minor children. Rentistas have to show they have a monthly income of at least $2,500, up from $1,000.”
•   “Innkeepers and Costa Rica hotel operators will have to keep a registry of persons staying in their establishment for inspection by immigration police.” (though I think that was law before 2010 IF my memory is serving me)

He actually starts off the article with an article the Costa Rica Star published (written by said lawyer) from December 26, 2013 titled:
Permanent Residency and Immigration Lawyer in Costa Rica
where he brings up a BUNCH of other fear-factor points that haven’t actually been IMPLEMENTED just yet - like:

“There are not too many reports of foreigners being hit with the $100 per month visa overstay fee”

There are not too many reports? . . . Can you give us just ONE PROOF of ANYONE being charged the $100 per month visa overstay fee??? 
Last I remember seeing something about it it was SUPPOSED to take effect I believe in October 2013 - but so far, no one I know can find anything about it and I’ve had MANY people share they were over their visa (people - do NOT NOT NOT do that!!!  RESPECT the laws on this as they sure wouldn’t be able to leave as easily as we can if they lived in the U.S.).

“but there are numerous reports of perpetual tourists who have been given visas of only one month upon their return to Costa Rica.”

MANY people are getting LESS than 90 days because they do NOT have proof they're leaving CR within 90 DAYS!! An open-ended ticket is proof they're leaving within 365 days - NOT 90 days!! DAHHHHH!!!!
This is happening with “Perpetual Tourists” AND regular Tourists and some are even just getting a 2-Day Transit Stamp if they don’t have proof they’re leaving CR within 90 days (basically - you can stay overnight but get the hell outta here!!”)

“The law does not explicitly prohibit tourists to stay away for any length of time, and thus perpetual tourists can take advantage of this.”

How can one “take advantage” of something that does NOT EXIST????

“To renew a visa, tourists will have to establish financial responsibility and show that they have the means to support themselves for the next 90 days.
The rule that a tourist cannot renew a visa by traveling to the same country twice is new. This means a perpetual tourist living near the Panama border, will have to choose another country in which to travel before the next 90 days. After 2 visa renewals, tourists will have to leave Costa Rica for a minimum of 15 days.”

“Since perpetual tourists often end up working or doing business to support themselves in the most expensive country in Latin America, they may be better off applying for residency and leaving visa runs behind.”

MY understanding (which COULD be off) is that only PERMANENT Residents (NOT Pensionados or Rentistas), Citizens and people with special visas are the only ones that are LEGALLY SUPPOSED to work!  And that even if one has a corporation - they’re still not suppose to “Work” - only draw residuals from it.

Now, before you go all “Perpetual Tourists” keep that status because they’re all “criminals”/running from the law and “law breakers” (like some fools actually say/imply) - look at the BIG PICTURE in life (hard for some to do I know).  MIGHT there be OTHER reasons that one has not filed for Residency???

Might some simply NOT fall into one of the current categories TO get residency??
Perhaps some:
Make less than $1,000 in Social Security or from their pension (trust me, I KNOW it’s VERY EASY to live on less than $1,000 a month in Costa Rica - if you’re not a drinker, smoker, don’t own a car, have a fancy home or go out a lot!!). 
Are under 62 and not retired or on disability. 
Didn’t stay at the same sucky job much of their life just to have a few $s a month for later on when there was a chance they might not be able to thoroughly enjoy life and travel and be healthy like they thought they would! 
Don’t see putting $60,000 U.S. $ in ANY bank is a wise thing to do with their $$ (IF I had $60,000 I’d run out and buy GOLD as down as it is now - it WILL go back up!!)
Don’t have $200,000 to “invest” in the country.
Just aren’t 100% positive they want to be committed to live here.
Don’t have the $$ TO file for residency even though they may have SS or disability.
Won’t break the law and marry a Tico just for residency.
Won’t use having a child as an excuse to get residency.
Are just not blessed enough yet to GET residency - YET (but if/when they did an open Amnesty like Panama has done TWO times in the past less than 5 years - they’d jump on it in a heartbeat!!)

Actually, it’s funny!  MANY of those “Perpetual Tourists” I’VE KNOWN/that have shared their story with me, were some of the people giving LOTS BACK TO the PEOPLE and LAND of Costa Rica - doing some more CONSCIOUS things for the environment and Volunteering/helping (I do not get how SOME people can have all this time on their hands and not feel a desire to give back to the People of this country that are ALLOWING them the privilege of living in their Country!!) - NOT raping and pillaging the land, NOT driving gas guzzling, road tearing up cars.

And most IMPORTANTLY, these “Perpetual Tourists” were NOT the people taking out WAYYYY MORE than their $40-$100 a month in medical services and drugs from the CAJA - DRAINING the resources from the Tico’s!!  (heck, I had my first cold in 7 years 3 years ago and I’m one of the healthiest people I’ve known overall [ok - so the allergy to mold I’ve developed and many past falls from not watching every step I made is something that comes up on occasion, but those I’ve taken care of on my OWN!!!]).

As a matter of fact, very few of the ones that have shared with me took hardly anything FROM the people and country of Costa Rica!!!  Some employ Tico’s/people and many paid even their one day a week maids CAJA and INS and Aguinaldos and vacation time (trust me - MANY of the “legal” residents are NOT treating their employees properly let alone paying them a decent wage).

Life is NOT all cut and dry - black and why!!  EVERYONE has reasons for what they do/don’t do

The bottom line is, ALL the fear factor statements geared towards the “Perpetual Tourists” - starting with the TITLE of the article - “New Law in Costa Rica for Perpetual Tourists” and points aimed at “Perpetual Tourists” in the other article “Permanent Residency and Immigration Lawyer in Costa Rica” have
NOT gone into effect - YET. 

It’s not to say the things mentioned above won’t ONE DAY actually be IMPLEMENTED - who knows - it IS Costa Rica!!  (some of the things happening [like Panama's new requirements] make me question how MUCH of what's happening is more from the U.S. GOVERNMENTS influence])  But I can tell you, MANY of these points are points I’ve been hearing about since BEFORE I even moved here when I was in my research phase - nearly 10 years ago!!!

Hey - things could change tomorrow for any one of us.  Heck, we could ALL be DEAD tomorrow!!  I’m going to enjoy Costa Rica as long as I desire/can - BUT - I also have a few backup options in case one day the party comes to an end (I’ve made that statement and have had quite a few people ask me what those were and what I’ve shared that I’d CONSIDERED - though this is NOT ANYTHING I’m planning as of January 12, 2014 - #1 MAYBE Matagalpa, Nicaragua [I'm actually meeting up with an old friend that's visiting with friends from there], Esteli [though I have not started looking there yet but I hear it's also higher and COOLER is something this former California and Florida girl has discovered she likes!!], San Juan del Sur, NI [though NOT in January-June as it’s too hot for me then as I’ve become a wimp when it comes to heat.  I spent about 2-1/2 months there in total in 2013] and there’s always return to where I left a BIG part of my heart/self - to the Sarasota, FL area [which I left STILL IN LOVE with - but I kept having "visions" I was supposed to move to Costa Rica for some bigger purpose which has DEFINITELY happened on LOTS of levels] or or Gulfport, FL [a new area that keeps coming up and one of my best friends moved there this past year]).  Who knows!!  MY focus in life is to live as MUCH in the PRESENT as I can!! 

I’ve gone from a TOTAL Ms Southern California Material Girl with 74 pair of shoes - to selling just about everything in a 6,000 square foot house and down to 7 suitcases and 4 duffel bags (with the intention of getting rid of at LEAST 2 more suitcases of clothes BY the end of this month)!!!  I’ve released MOST (not all just yet) of my attachment to material things (granted a LARGE part of that happened when I realized that for years a VERY “trusted” housekeeper that I considered and treated as family was stealing THOUSANDS of dollars of my jewelry - but I OWN how I did NOT have it locked up as well as I should/could have so I OWN how I CONTRIBUTED towards creating that situation and opportunity for him) and just travel around doing House Sitting and Pet Sitting and focusing on my blog and I can tell you, I’ve NEVER been happier and more CALM than now!!!

Hey - I’m open for ALL sorts of NEW EXPERIENCES!!!!  Most of my life now is about Going with the Flow•Signs!!!

Some people keep mentioning that the days of "Perpetual Tourists" are coming to and end.  MAYBE yes - MAYBE no.  It's Costa Rica!  I don't believe anything is a law till 2-3 or so MONTHS AFTER it's become LAW and even then - OFTEN it will be put on the back burner for look at some more - or killed!!

All I can say is I'm going to ENJOY EVERY DAY I am still breathing - whereEVER that is!!!   Are YOU CHOOSING to do the same????



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