For many North Americans (US & Canada), opening a bank account is a relatively simple process that is done relatively quickly.  However, when they move to Costa Rica, the first logical step is to open a bank account.

They soon find out that this will not be the simple short process that they have been accustomed to in their country. The first barrier is their legal residency status. If you do not have legal residency in Costa Rica, then certain Banks will not allow you to open a regular checking or savings account, explains Costa Rica Law.