Friday 1 December 2023

BCR freezes appointments to process a new biometric passport

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1 December 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Today, March 7, the issuing of Costa Rican passports, first time or replacement, the new “Biometric Bicentennial Passport” will be processed through the new Migratory Document System, and the will be issued within 48 working hours.

The older passports continue to be valid until their expiry date

Costa Ricans can request the new passport through the Immigration offices, as well electronically at the Post Office, Consulates abroad and the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR).

However, the BCR is holding off for a few days, canceling all appointments for passports at least until after March 11.

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“(…) The Banco de Costa Rica will not be carrying out passport procedures from March 1 to 11, 2022″ indicates the official response by the bank.

The reason? It appears the State bank does not have confidence in either the immigration service (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería – DGME) and/or the new system.

La Nacion reported the bank’s response. “Once the successful implementation of the new system is confirmed, our entity will be resuming the provision of the service in its usual modality”, wrote William Venegas, Manager of Public Sector Management of the BCR.

According to the DGME, today was to be the beginning of a coordinated effort to launch the new passports, both at the Correos (post office) and the BCR. However, the DGME says that is at the criteria of each institution “depending on the internal regulations of each entity”.

The press office of the DGME, in a statement, said “it has no interference in the distribution of appointments”.

Last week, the immigration service said it had carried out from February 23 to 28, as well as on March 1, the Pilot Plan for the “Sistema de Documentos Migratorios” (Migratory Document System) and that the Sistema de Pasaportes (Sispas) -Passport System – was disconnected on March 2, after more than a decade in operation.

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The new travel document costs US$75 plus ¢250 for stamps. It is valid for ten years instead of six like the current ones and is equipped with a chip with biometric data and personal information. The document includes the latest mobility trends at a global level, since its security measures prevent the falsification and alteration of information.

Each personalized chip provides advantages in cases of loss or theft of the document and would allow the eventual speeding up of border procedures when traveling, due to its easy verification, opening the doors to the Ticos to a greater possibility of flexibility in terms of travel.

The current passports are still valid until their expiry date. Replacement with the new passport is optional until then.

Getting a new or replacement passport through the BCR is quicker and can be done at appointed branches throughout the country, avoiding the long lines that are custom at the central immigration offices in La Uruca, San Jose.

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