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Having a baby in Costa Rica

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Costa Rica.
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Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:52 am

My partner and I are American citizens who were recently offered the opportunity to go to Costa Rica to work on the developement of a eco-friendly, low-impact tourist sanctuary. I am seven months pregnant and am wondering what it would mean to have my son in Costa Rica. The dual citizenship for my son is immensely appealing to me, but is he assured Costa Rican citizenship just because he was born there? And how would I make sure that he had American citizenship, as well?
In terms of securing work permits (and eventually citizenship) for my partner and I, would the fact that we are working in the tourism sector make us eligible because we would be providing jobs for Costa Ricans? I know that the minimum investment for investor citizenship is $50,000. The community we would be working for would surely be investing that much, at least, though we would not be personally. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:33 am

Hi Erin, Congratulations on your "new arrival"!

Yes he would have Costa Rican citizenship automatically. Many Nicaraguan women enter Costa Rica illegally to give birth here and Costa Rican citizenship to their children. This causes a big strain on the public health system, but in your case serves your purposes too.

For the American citizenship, you would need to go to the US Embassy in San Jose and register your son as a US Citizen born abroad. There are documents you will need to provide to the embassy, read carefully the requirements here and make sure you bring what you need:

A fee of $70 or the equivalent in colones will be collected for the passport and $65 or the equivalent in colones for the report of birth abroad.

SA fee of $70 or the equivalent in colones will be collected for the passport and $65 or the equivalent in colones for the report of birth abroad.

For the work permit, you have to invest personally the money in order to qualify. There is a possibility that the community can help you obtain a work permit:
"Qualified Business Representative or Technician, Domestic Servant

If you are a qualified business executive or a qualified technician from an accredited institution, a qualified worker in an educational center with a special contract, or a domestic servant, you can get a work permit or temporary residency. At the end of your contract you must leave the country. The institution will be held responsible for the applications before the General Direction of Immigration Department. The Immigration Department of Costa Rica determines the requirements for a specific job category at its own discretion. "

They have to work with a qualified attorney and basically prove that why no Costa Rican can fill the job you are going to do.


Russ Martin
American European Real Estate Costa Rica


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Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:31 am

Thanks, Russ, for some good information.
I was told this afternoon by a friend who had consulted the Costa Rica Immigration web site that direct relatives (siblings and parents) of a Costa Rican citizen can apply for citizenship. Is that true? The website said that my birth certificate, that of my partner, and that of my son would be required, as well as some photos. Could it really be as easy as that?
If not, I am told that I have to leave the counrty every three months on a tourist visa in order to get it stamped. Does that mean I could just cross the boarder into, say, Nicaragua to get my visa renewed, or do I have to go all the way back to the US?
On a completely unrelated subject, any ideas on the quality of medical services down there? Not that I have a whole lot of faith in the quality of (Western) medical services here in the US, but this is my first child, and it would be reassuring that, in case of a medical emergency, I could feel confident in the hospitals. I grew up in Thailand, and almost had my appendix removed at a Thai hospital when it was my ovary that was the problem... this is why I ask.
One last thing... my partner is thinking about driving down to Costa Rica so that we will have a car there. Is this a difficult thing to do? Is it problematic to cross boarders and such, even though he has a passport? Any idea how long it takes? I know I ask a lot of questions. This is a very major decision for us and we want to be sure that we have as much information as possible. Again, thank you for your help.


Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:36 pm

Actually you are right, I hadn't thought all the way through for you, but once your son has a Costa Rican passport you would qualify for residency as a direct relative. After a few years you could get a second passport yourselves.

I have gone throught the residency process and am now going through the naturalization process and I can tell you that it will take a while. It is not that easy getting all of the required documentation together, the Costa Rica country guide here has a list of documents you need.


So in the first year or two you will have to renew your tourist visa. Although the fines are ridiculously low, so you might just stay illegally. You pay the overstay fine when you get your residency documents. I overstayed by 1 year and had to pay $50 or something. That was 10 years ago, so you'd have to double check on the current fine.

If you do want to stay legally, you can leave the country every 90 days for 72 hours. Many people go to Panama for shopping (less duties) or to Nicaragua (cheap) It doesn't matter what country you go to, only the time you must be out.

As for driving your car in I would not recommend it. The trip is long(like at least a week), you have to cross many borders (with each having its own procedures), you can only travel in the daytime. Then once you get your car here you have to go through a lot of redtape to import it and get Costa Rican tags. I would suggest buying a car here from an importer, who does all of the paperwork and you get a 30 day guarantee on the motor and transmission by law. www.autos.fijatevos.com has cars and prices, so you can get an idea.

IF you do decide to drive down there are a couple of good books on the subject that you will definitely have to purchase and look for up to date information on the web before the trip.

Costa Rica has really good medical care. There are many holistic practioners, both Ticos and foreigners. In addition, the hospital system is similar to Canada where there is universal health care. The national system is very inexpensive, we pay $25 per month for coverage for the family. The problem there is the lines and bureaucracy when you don't have an emergency.

There are many private doctors you can go to when your budget permits, a typical office visit is $25 - $30. This is the kind of visit where you are actually with the doctor the whole time and they will spend as much time with you as necessary! If you are high dollar, the private hospitals are first class, with the main ones being CIMA, Clinica Biblica, and Clinica Catolica.

For your son's birth, there are many midwives if you would like a home birth. Some are Europeans or North Americans who live here. The above mentioned hospitals charge $3000 - $5000 for a birth, which is including staying 24 hours or overnight for observation. Also there is the Santa Rita Clinic that specializes in this. They will accomodate the latest practices too, like having the father present or giving birth under water.

If you have time to get insurance, you can consider the public hospitals. My 2 daughters, now 2 & 6, were born in the Calderón Guardia and the doctors were very professional as was the care in the maternal ward. They don't do epidermals though!

I guess you'll have to decide pretty fast, so don't hesitate to ask more questions or PM me for other details.


Russ Martin
American European Real Estate Costa Rica


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Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:03 pm

I am also thinking of having my baby in Costa Rica, My husband and I own property there, amd have been traveling to the beach for over 5 years.
We also drove our car down, and I do not recommend it to anyone. After arriving in Costa Rica it was way more trouble than it was worth to have our car there and we just sold it for parts.
If you find any good doctors or more info. on having your baby down there, please let me know.
Thank You and Good Luck!!


Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:15 am

Hello Erin:
Congratulations !
It is very convenient to have the baby born in Costa Rica, you would have a first degree relative born in Costa Rica and would be guaranteed approval for residency, while the baby could have dual citizenship.
Do bring along your birth certificates and police record certificate authenticated by the consulate of Costa Rica nearest you to begin your residency process here in Costa Rica.
If you would like more information you check out our webpage or contact us.

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.


Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson
Attorney at Law/Real Estate Broker
attorneykearney @ yahoo.com
Ph:(506)8841-0007 Ph/Fax:(506)2232-1014


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Re: Having a baby in Costa Rica

Post Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:49 pm

hi i wrote this article in the escazu news november 2005 edition, this was about having a baby here in costa rica, escazu area, my dauther
hope this info is helpfull regards daniel

We all know how a baby is made; the stork story that originated in Paris has been left behind. I, now as a father of 4 children, should know it very well.
All that is implied in the birth of a baby from the first days is important.Regarding my family, Sofia is a miracle, since for us she is an angel sent from above.
We had had several miscarriages and we were worried.Therefore, I am very proud that my wife, who in spite of her being afraid, kept trying and persevered and when the time was right the baby came along.To all women that have not been able to have a baby or have had miscarriages, don’t loose your hope, since if you want and God helps, everything can be accomplished.
Well then, the question is where to have your baby, with what doctor, go to a private hospital or clinic or to the Caja del Seguro Social, let me tell you that I have gone to both, I have always preferred the private option, although in the past, with my daughter Nicole’s birth I can remember we had to wait so much it seemed like we were at a public service.Did you know that at the Seguro Social they give appointments at the same time and whoever comes first goes in first.Besides, going to the CCSS is not degrading, we pay so much to the CCSS throughout the year and we don’t use it because we prefer private hospitals and clinics, and excuse me, the CCSS is not only for the masses, it was created equally for all people.
Well, after several appointments with the family doctor something happened and we got scared.The doctor then told us that Silvia had to have an absolute rest.Since Silvia works, we had to go to the Ebais to pick up a medical incapacity so she could have a legal permit to stop working, since companies do not accept a private medical incapacity. So we went to the Guachipelin Ebais that for me is the better in the area.Did you know that the Ebais are managed by the Clinica Bibilica here in Escazu and in other areas?Dr. Carolina Salazar was the doctor assigned to us, an incredible person due to her professionalism and personality.When I gave her the papers she asked me to bring Silvia, and when she found out that her case was about a high risk pregnancy, instead of relying on the previous medical studies she preferred to make all types of analysis, ultrasound, blood test, etc.Then she made an appointment with a specialist in high risk pregnancy at the San Juan de Dios Hospital to assure a successful procedure.
Well, the appointment was at 7 am.We got there, we waited (you have to wait in line), then a really nice obstetrician nurse took came to attend us, we told her that the waiting was too long and she responded that this happens because they like to take good care with future mothers therefore it takes longer.Then she tells us that we had to have a consultation with a High Risk doctor and she offered the names of several doctors of that Hospital.Hey, these doctors are the same I would have used at the Cima, Biblica or Santa Rita.We chose Alberto Johanning.The nurse told us he was one of the best and that he likes challenges.
Well, to get an appointment date it took weeks.The day finally came, again the line, but I found out that the nurses of Gyneco-Obstetrics of the San Juan de Dios were very helpful.In this first appointment, the doctor we had chosen was out, so we were assigned to Dr. Gonzalez, he was serious, a little bid rigid but very professional and attended us very well.He also attended us for the ultrasound which was of first class, full color, detailed and the doctor took his time to do it explaining us everything.
On our next appointment we were attended by Dr. Alberto Johanning, which by the way would have been one of the doctors we would have chosen if we had gone to a private hospital or clinic.An experienced, young (more than 30, less than 40), not talkative but sure, and very professional doctor; from there on, we stayed with him and the San Juan de Dios. We were attended wonderfully; all kind of tests and medicines, to the point that he discovered Silvia had pregnancy diabetes and was sent to a nutritionist.Since she had to have the appropriate control and follow-up on sugar, we were sent to the Children’s Hospital (Hospital de Niños).There Dr Mas made an ultrasound of the baby’s heart which came out normal.
We were so grateful with all of them that we decided to not continue with our family doctor for this pregnancy.
To bring to a conclusion this chapter, I found out that the service received at the CCSS was efficient, specifically in the area of High Risk Pregnancy, their staff is very professional and very well trained, from the Guachipelin Ebais all the way to the Hospital San Juan de Dios, including the gyneco-obstetrics, laboratory, Ultrasound, and Pharmacy areas as well as where appointments are given.It is true that you have to be patient, service is not personalized but you have access to all you need without paying an exorbitant amount of money for the same things


After the above I started to make a research about the different medical centers for the birth of my baby, for me there were 3 from where to choose:The Clínica Santa Rita where Esteban and Julián were born (a constant attention and personalized since it is a small clinic), the Clínica Bíblica where Nicole was born (an efficient clinic) and the Hospital Cima (keep reading…).
I started with an economical research by calling the 3 institutions, they all respond immediately.Things have changed so much…when Esteban was born, there was no TV in the room, there were no special packages for childbirths, fees were different depending on whether it was a natural birth or caesarean (price would double if it was caesarean).At that time they would charge you for the toilet paper and soap, the towel was a micro towel and the soap was even smaller, it was so different...
When Nicole was born, there was a TV in the room, but now we have cable TV, special packages that include even a visit of a stylist and a romantic dinner.While doing my research I found out that the Clínica Bíblica and the Clínica Santa Rita were very much the same when it was a natural birth, but prices varied a lot when it was caesarean or you have a medical insurance, in these cases prices increased a lot.The Hospital Cima was the most expensive and had to be paid in cash, but after comparing the price of the Bíblica and Santa Rita, being a caesarean, with the Hospital Cima they were same, therefore, I chose Hospital Cima who maintained they price.
Once I had chosen the Cima, I contacted my insurance company to start all the corresponding procedures.When I had everything settled I called Alejandra Fernández, presupuestos @ hospitalcima.com to confirm the reservation including the package offered which included: the room, care, maternity ward and medicines, also a romantic dinner for both parents, free parking for 1 car and something very nice, a stylist to make the mother look beautiful after the childbirth.
I also contacted Dr. Alberto Johanning (gynecologist), Dr. Manuel Vega (same anesthetist I’ve had for all my children), and Dr. Rafael Víquez( Neonatologist)With all these coordinated we were ready for the big day which was on Sunday the 18th.
The day before de caesarean I called Cima to check everything was OK.The big day arrived… they gave us our room, which was very comfortable, good TV with cable TV and the room service menu, which by the way very varied and better than that at the Intercontinental hotel.The doctors arrived and gave us a very detailed explanation of the procedure.Then we went to the operating room, this was the first time they would let me go in, I guess that since nowadays we can see childbirths in the Discovery Channel everything has changed.
Maternity Ward They dress me up like a doctor, and a Doctor tells me that if I faint to please try to fall backwards, then a nurse gives me instructions of where to stand.Then I saw my wife with her stomach cut open, the first thing that came to my mind was that it seemed like a sirloin, so I left the room for a while, the nurse was afraid that I would faint and break something.I saw Silvia’s face, calmed and awake.I thought how brave my wife was.From there on I stayed with my wife all along the childbirth. Short after Sofía comes out; it was very fast, it is such an especial moment to see our baby, to be told everything is fine.They give the baby to Silvia, just remembering that moment makes a tear come to my eyes. Then they take Sofía and I go with her, there I let go all my emotions, the kids come to see their new sister and a new life starts.
Once Silvia is back in the room we celebrated Sofía’s birth.During that Sunday and Monday morning the nurses were really nice and helpful.On Monday all doctors came by, but the pediatrician’s visit was very interesting because even though Sofía is our fourth child, we found out we still had a lot to learn.Dr. Viquez gave us an explanation nobody had ever given us; he also gave us a brochure with all the information regarding new born babies.I was impressed by time taken to give us all those explanations and the way he did it.
I was satisfied by the service received at the hospital, and most of all the Sofía was born in Escazú.I would like to comment that we would have preferred to leave the hospital on Monday afternoon, since from that time on the service given by nurses was minimum.It would have been better to be at home and hire a nurse; well that was my opinion as well as Silvia’s.However, we were lucky to have chosen Sunday since she was the only baby at the Hospital, on Monday, 8 babies were born.
Besides all this, I’d like to tell you that the food given to patients is of first class, they gave Silvia a cas ice cream that was great and the food was good, tasty and nutritious.When the nutritionist came by Silvia could choose what she wanted to eat according to her nutritious plan.Silvia and I commented that this was the first time we had this type of service and quality of food.
I also found out that the room service menu was very varied and that the food at the restaurant even had a kids menu. The portions were good and at a good price.My kids and I ate there.
Aaah!, and the romantic dinner included in the package was great, they gave me an excellent and first class sirloin with an excellent presentation that could be classified 4 stars.As an appetizer we had a great soap and the dessert was an extremely great blackberry cake, of course my diet disappeared.All this accompanied by a bottle of wine.An excellent detail, as also was the stylist that visited Silvia.
In summary I choose the best A TEAM, hospital and my Silvia


GYNECOLOGIST Alberto Johanning G. tel 222-6085 o 208-1601 celular 383-8843 emergencias 233-3333
PEDIATRICIAN DR Rafael E. Viquez Solano tel/fax 208-1615, localizador 225-2500, casa 228-6060
ANESTHETIST Dr MANUEL VEGA 280-0152, localizador 283-2626
Natural Medicine o Homeopath Clínica Holistica- Integrativa y Botiquín Santa Marta, is in Tarbaca de Aserri Phones 230-1256 230-1305
EARS, EYES, NOSE AND THROAT Dr. Julia Maria Salas Vargas
GYNECOLOGISTKenneth Loáiciga Vega ALSO GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER. . AVENIDA 4 CALLE 20-22 TEL 257- 4215 383 - 4962 BEEPER: 233-3333


CLINICA SANTA RITA Avenida 8, Calles 15/17, 221-6433 Speacialty inall Gynecology area, Plastic Surgery , Minor Sugery,PHARMACY,LABORATORY, ULTRASOUND,
EBAIS The Social Security System, along with the Clinica Biblica, began opening health centers called EBAIS offering medical attention, nurses services, injections, gynecological, pediatric and internal medicine. There are 4 EBAIS in Escazu right now. There is one in Guachipelin north of the Paco Shopping Center, 250 meters from the Bar Los Guachipelines. There is another one across the street from the Anonos Shopping Center. The third one is located 100 meters south of the Church of San Antonio and the fourth one is located 200 meters east of the Church.


FARMACIA LOS ANONOS My family has used La Farmacia Los Anonos in the Anonos Shopping Center Tel #: 289-6559 and 2894919 I remember going to this pharmacy when I was 15 or 16 and now I am 42. They have been around a long time. They are always innovative and have excellent attention. Home delivery, also. I wouldn't go anywhere else, even though there are a lot of pharmacys to choose from. When you find something that is good and a great help, it's better to stick to it. Doctor Adrian and Nora are great and give you a lot of help and confidence. They really know what they are doing. (The only time i use another pharmacy is after 8 pm when I have an emergency. Then I go to Fishel that is open until midnight).
LABORATORIO ECHANDI 289-6886 NEXT TO MC.DONALD´S TREJOS MONTEALEGRE www.laboratoriosclinicosechandi.com
INJECTIONS In The Los Anonos Pharmacy in Guachipelin in Escazu, in the Plaza Mundo building, has a section where the Doctor Andrea Alfaro is available to put injections, she is excellent and has a great hand for it. For more information call Telephone: 228-8201
CORPORAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST MASSAGE Mercedes Daneri 289-3687 e mail mercedesdaneri @ yahoo.comCorporal psychotherapist and specializing in corporal therapy which consists of different massage techniques that allow me to balance the body’s energy. Energy that is not flowing harmoniously through a body can cause pain, lack of energy and a general feeling of uneasiness.
BABYS NAMES www.babycenter.com/bab...snames.htm
ULTRASOUND I would like to recommend one of the best doctors in Costa Rica, not because I say so, but because for the last 13 years he has been recommended. The Doctor Kay Sander Mangel a specialist in Ultrasound, always right on, the right gender, or whatever problem, good or bad. The only bad news is that his offices are on the other side of town, in San Jose, Barrio la California next to Movie Magaly, near San Pedro. Ultrasound La California, telephones 233-3931, 257-4207, too bad Cima does not steal him over to Escazu..
ULTRASOUND Hospital Cima 208-1000
ULTRASONIDO SANTA MARIA by the Hospital Calderon Guadia in San Jose, Dr Jorge Chinchilla G. modern equipment, Ph 256-8313
ALL ABOUT BABYS www.babycenter.com


48 hours after the baby was born, a woman from the records department came with a form we had to fill in and sign.You are given a copy with a number at the top right hand side; that is how your baby’s name becomes official.The hospital sends this document to start the registration procedure.Believe it or not, this procedure takes 2 months!!!!!!!!! The only way to speed up this process is to wait approximately 10 days to be sure the document has been received at the Registry, then you have to go to the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, telephone 287-5555, located diagonal to the National Library (Biblioteca Nacional), downtown San José You can park in front and go to the Registration Department office, which is located on the right hand side of the entrance to submit the certificate or give the number and ask for a prompt procedure.This could take from 15 days to luckily 5 days.For example, the baby was born on Sept. 18th, I filled in the document on Sept 20, the hospital sent the document on Sept 21st and the registry receives it on Sept 23rd, therefore the official date would be Sept 28, I requested the prompt procedure on Oct. 11 and the official document was given tome on October 18th.I would like to remind you that for any type of procedure like for example the passport, US visa, authorization to leave the country for minors, etc., you have to obtain several certifications in the same floor of that building, you can also find there the required stamps. Take your baby with you so you can skip the lines.


Once you have the birth certification given by the registry you have two options to get a passport, one is to make an appointment through the web page which sometimes is not very reliable sin the baby’s name might not appear.The second option which I consider more reliable is to go to the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería on Monday or Tuesday (best days for me) or Wednesday to get on a line to get a number and be part of the other 500 people waiting on line.People get there at 4 am but I got there at 6 am and had to stand in line 200 meters away from the gate, in other words, from the private parking lot.I was number 320, I reached the gate at 8:15 a.m.At 7 am they started giving the numbers and seeing all our documentation, I did not take Sofia or Silvia with me, I went alone.On officer placed a number in the birth certificate, then you go to another line which took me 45 minutes exactly and it is where you present your documentation.There my official appointment is included in the computer; they also informed me when I have to go back to Migración y Extranjería to carry out my procedure.My appointment was at 1 p.m. at door 6
I was there at 1 p.m., and when I asked somebody standing in another line, there were people there since 12 midday, 1 pm and 2 pm.I then noticed that if you went with a baby of less than 5 years of age, you could stand in a special line, the same applies to pregnant women and senior citizens, therefore I moved there and in less than an hour we were done.Since we were already there, Nicole and I got new passports with a10 year validity.Something important:to obtain a passport of a minor both parents have to go.You can also fill in the minor’s departure form authorizing a permanent authorization, if you wish and if both parents agree.This can be picked up in 3 days NOTE: the staff at the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería with whom I had the opportunity to interact was all very pleasant, of great help and by the way, some of them even did a little more than they had to.I think this place needs more personnel since on previous years I never saw such chaos.Requirements to obtain a minor’s passport: The minor must come accompanied by both parents; submit the original birth certificate issued by the Civil Registry, with a maximum validity of one year (for kids under 12 years of age).Teenagers between 12 and 17 years old have to present an ID document stating they are under age, an original and copy, indicate their telephone number and exact home address.PAYMENT Proof of deposit under the name of the minor at the Banco de Costa Rica, to the account number 242480-0 or at the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica to the account number 215936-6 made for the amount of ¢2.750,00 corresponding to ¢2.500,00 for legal stamps and ¢250,00 for national parks and US$26 for the issuance of the passport (can be deposited in colones at the exchange rate stated by the Banco Central de Costa Rica BCCR).The deposit must be made two days prior to starting the procedure. TAKE WITH YOU The original ID cards of both parents with a copy (if Costa Rican).If the parents are residents, original and copy of their Green Card (cédula de residencia).If the parents are tourists, original and copy of their passport. Requirements to obtain an adult’s passports: migracion.go.cr/ The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería is located next to the Aviación Civil, La Uruca, San José. If you are not driving, take a bus at the south corner of the La Merced church. Very Happy


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