foreign documents here will be easier...
by A.M. Costa
exporting documents will become easier now that Costa Rica
has agreed to adopt a simplified system based on an
One of the main
group of beneficiaries will be U.S. citizens who seek to obtain
residency here. Until now assembling the paperwork for the
Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería required the use of
a chain of signatures.
certificate, for example, would be obtained from the local
county clerk. The person applying for residency here would take
or send the birth certificate to the secretary of state in the
relevant U.S. state. That office would validate the stamp and
signature of the county clerk. Then the would-be expat would
have to deliver the document, containing the verification by the
secretary of state to the relevant Costa Rican consulate.
There would be
another notation affixed validating the stamp and signature of
the secretary of state. Then the Person seeking residency or a
designate would take the document to the Ministerio de
Relaciones Exteriores y Culto here in San José. There officials
would validate the signature and stamp of the Costa Rican
consulate, apply stamps and collect fees.
Then and only then
could the document be submitted to the immigration department. A
couple seeking residency would have to follow this process for
both birth certificates, the marriage certificate, any divorce
decrees, the police clearance letters and other relevant
Under the new
system, offices in each of the 100 countries that have adopted
the treaty, will affix a certificate that validates the
document. Most secretaries of state in the United States have
this power. In Costa Rica, the validation will be done at the
foreign ministry, officials here said. The Legalization
Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reports that it is
the authority in the United Kingdom.
validation the document will be accepted in all of the signatory
nations, according to the treaty. Big losers are
Federal Express and DHL, which have moved thousands of documents
to and from state offices and consulates for validation.
This is a
model of an apostille. According to the Hague
convention, the document must be square and at least 9
centimeters (3.54 inches) per side.
Canadians will not have the option because that country
has not approved the treaty.
foreign ministry here said that Costa Rica became the
100th nation to accept the treaty when the Asamblea
Legislativa passed the necessary measures. The full
title of the agreement is "Hague
Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation
for Foreign Public Documents."
The agreement also is called the "Apostille convention"
after the French word for certification, the ministry
Due to the
way the treaty is worded and the steps that must be
taken after a nation gives its agreement, the new
process will not be in force in Costa Rica until the end
of the year, the ministry estimated. Until then the old
chain of legalization will be used, it noted. The United
States adopted the convention in 1981.
The ministry noted
that the new system would be used for birth certifications,
court documents, a patent, sales documents and documents that
have been notarized. Presumably the system also would be used
for academic degrees earned outside the country. There was no
mention of the fees that the ministry might charge.
recent law Costa Rican notaries are empowered to validate
signatures overseas and to serve legal paperwork. That means a
Costa Rican notary can fly to Spain, for example, and close a
real estate deal or serve divorce papers.