Historically, December has proven to be one the busiest times for the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) immigration service – for issuing passports.
Migración reports that it has printed some 170.000 passports throughout the year – some 26.000 more than last year – a number that could end the year at 175.000. (No breakdown of what is a first time issue or renewal).
The immigration service speculates two major reasons for the increase, one being the decentralization of the service that allows Costa Rican to obtain their passport by way of the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) and at any of the 25 immigration agencies located across the country, including: Heredia, Cartago, Curridabat, San Pedro, Correo Central, Zapote, Desamparados, Tibás, Guadalupe, Santa Ana, Escazú, Alajuela, Pavas, La Cruz, Cañas, Guatuso, Ciudad Quesada, Cóbano, Puerto Viejo en Talamanca, Guápiles and Ciudad Neilly. Last week, passports can also be obtained through the Correos de Costa Rica (post office).
The decentralization eliminates the travel to the La Uruca (San José) cental offices of the immigration service, as was the case prior to 2007.
Kathya Rodríguez, director of immigration, explains that the other reason is that all passports issued starting in 2006 were valid for only six years instread of ten and it cannot be extended, obligating Costa Ricans to obtain a new passport.
Rodríguez added that December is also a month where many foreigner parents with children born in Costa Rica take out passports for their children, allowing them to travel for the holidays. The immigration does not have the exact number of Costa Rican children born to foreigners – that information is held by the Civil Registry.
In the case of minors, parents have to process the passport application at the central offices only.
Source: Diario Extra