Costa Rica is one of the fast growing countries in Central America. According to the United Nations Development Programme 2010 report, the country was cited as the leading country in achieving high human development in comparison to countries of similar economic levels (Sandoval, 2011). Besides, the country is also seen doing well when it comes to environmental sustainability, as well as human well-being in general. Perhaps, because of these factors, immigration in Costa Rica has emerged as one of the issues facing the country.
There are a number of factors that should be met before immigrants are accepted in Costa Rica. For instance, one has to provide various documents such as passport, birth certificate, a police report, and a letter addressed to the Director of Costa Rica Immigration explaining the reasons for moving into the country. All these documents must be accepted and certified by the Immigration Department of the country before an individual is allowed to move into the country (Melendez and Bonila Law Firm, 2013). The documents are important in identifying the immigrants with regard to their home country. Basically, they are used in determining whether or not an immigrant is entitled or rather qualifies to be given a gate pass to stay in the country. With the increasing rates of terrorism throughout the globe, more attention is given to checking the authenticity of these documents, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why the process takes a bit long. In the past, it took more than one year for one to be permitted to move into the country. This is particularly because immigrants could only make their applications in Costa Rica and not anywhere else. However, to facilitate the process, the government, through the Immigration Department, introduced laws that allow individuals to start the process in their country of residency. As a result, the entire process can take less than one year, which has made it a bit easy for more people to move to the country (Melendez and Bonila Law Firm, 2013).
However, it is imperative to note that immigrants face various challenges in the process of moving to Costa Rica. However, the most significant challenge is the legal process that is to be followed. In fact, the process is so complicated such that it requires one to get an attorney in the country to facilitate the entire process. Perhaps, the long and complicated legal process is one of the reasons behind the ever increasing legal immigration in the country (Mitchell & Pentzer, 2008). The other challenge is finding an attorney in Costa Rica to represent the immigrants. Considering that not many immigrants have connections with people who can easily connect them with the attorney, sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to get one. In addition, although following the entry procedures through the attorney in Cost Rica is a bit faster as compared to other channels, it is extremely expensive. Thus, this is limited to a certain class of people, especially those that are already doing well from an economic point of view (Mitchell & Pentzer, 2008).
In conclusion, Costa Rica is one of the countries in Central America that has attracted many immigrants lately. The cost of living and various developments have been cited as part of the reasons behind the increasing immigration. However, the process followed by immigrants to be granted entry into the country is long and complex, which has been a limiting factor for many immigrants; hence the increasing rates of illegal immigrants. To speed up the process, an immigrants is required to find an attorney in Costa Rica to explain what is required, how the process takes place, and more importantly to follow up the progress of the process on behalf of the client. Again, this becomes another limiting factor, considering the fact that not all the immigrants are in a position to pay for the services of an attorney in the country.
Melendez and Bonila Law Firm (2013). Costa Rica Immigration. Retrieved from http://www.costaricaimmigration.com/
Mitchell, M. T., & Pentzer, S. (2008). Costa Rica: A global studies handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Sandoval, G. C. (2011). Shattering myths on immigration and emigration in Costa Rica. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books