Get some games loaded into your cell phone, have a good breakfast and prepare yourself for the ultimate stress test: Migraciones.

The first three times I renewed my permanent residency were not happy, but taking into consideration that it is a must and doing this type of  “vueltas” or “trámites” has never been entertainment it was fine… had to wait between one to two hours, leave the old papers, sign a small form and then wait for a week, wait another one to two hours in the line and get the renewed residency,

That was ok until December 2005. I went two times on December just to get a “No more appointments” and a “We are not renewing until 2006”. In 2006 I finally got the appointment… in April, and then the appointment turned into three more appointments and finally I got my residency renewed a couple of weeks ago until July 2007.

During the process I was told to pay… to not pay, to return, to get certified papers and updated information that they already have (or must have) just to find out that at the end it was all worthless.

You may say: find a lawyer. I do not like to spend money on things that should work already but that’s me and I totally understand hiring a lawyer and I may even do it in the future … but the point it is actually that getting a residency renewed it is getting complicated and frustrating.

One of my neighbors is from Scotland and he has to pay more than $80 for his renewal two months ago while I didn’t pay anything. So rules do not apply here or at least not the Government rules…

Advice: read the regulations on the Migraciones page so at least you will be informed about what are your obligations.

Since the new residency card is in use people are reporting problems with Banks and other services since the format changed and the numbers changed. And I must say, as a programmer this is a bad mistake that you do not expect to find from a system like this. Imagine what would happen in the US if your SSN changes from one day to the other.

And sadly this is not only for foreigners. On 2003 my wife, kids (the three are Costa Ricans) and me went to get and renew passports for a vacation travel. We spent all day, standing, with our less than two-year-old kids (at that time). After that visit and because of the lack of hygiene our son and daughter caught an intestinal infection.

Maybe I had bad luck, maybe not… but after five years living here I must say that it has become very frustrating to see how Migraciones become so inefficient. Hopefully after the latest corruption investigations and some actions taken, things can only get better.

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