Corporate Immigration. On April 1, 2009, Costa Rica's General Immigration Authority (âDGMEâ) Directive 1086-2009 came into effect. This Directive affects the Company Accreditation Process (CAP) for fast-track procedures. The changes introduced by Directive 1086-2009 suspend one of the categories of companies eligible to request accreditation, replaces requirements in one of the other categories, and allows for a wide berth of discretionary authority by the DGME in exercising its right to request additional evidence, which in turn may delay the approval process for accredited corporations. In addition, the Directive makes provisions for the establishment of special service-windows at the DGME which will attend to all new, and qualifying renewal, applications for Temporary Residency made by foreign employees of accredited corporations.
In 2008, the DGME created a classification system for companies interested in the then new CAP (introduced by Directive 1084-2008). These corporations that are eligible to file for CAP will, once accredited enjoy among other benefits: 1) priority processing of Temporary residency applications on behalf of foreign employees, and 2) extended validity of Permits issued. To be apply for accreditation, however, interested companies must fit in one of the following categories:
Class A: Corporations under Special Export Regimes (i.e. Free Trade Zones), supervised by the Ministry of Commerce.
Class B: Other Corporations exporting goods or services, not included in Class A.
Class C: Airlines and Hotels with classification of 5 Stars or more and accredited with an "Official Declaration of Tourism" document.
Class D: Financial Corporations under supervision of local regulating entities.
Class E: Non-exporting corporations; (this class is pending is not currently applicable as it is pending regulation requirements).
Class F: Multinational Corporations;
Class G: Government contractors.
As of April 1st , 2009, the following new requirements apply:
Class F: suspended until further notice from the DGME.
Class G: the previously required investment plan from the Government Contractor is no longer necessary. However, class G now requires a government contract with validity for at least three years.
A new adjudication office with dedicated CAP windows has been created. Note though, the office will only process new, and qualifying renewal, applications for Temporary Residence for foreign employees. All subsequent processes (i.e. cancellations, change of employer etc.) shall be handled by the traditional offices for the General Public.
Although, as noted above, qualifying renewal applications for Temporary Residence may also use the special windows, these applications will require a Certification of the Corporationâs Payroll.
All incomplete applications lodged by qualifying CAP entities will be sent to the traditional offices of General Public. The file will also be frozen for 10 calendar days, during which period the applicant must complete the application. If completed, the file will be returned to the office dedicated to accredited corporations and will be adjudicated within three months. If not completed, the application will be denied.
Accredited corporations must annually present and justify the need to keep the accredited status to hire foreign nationals. The DGME may request any additional information about the Corporation, the employee or its dependents that it deems fit, in order to process the Temporary Residence.