Legal services in Costa Rica

Hello,

Legal services can be a headache when you don't have the relevant and necessary information, especially upon moving to a new country. Please share some tips regarding legal services in Costa Rica.

What types of legal services might an expat need in Costa Rica?

Are legal services easily accessible?

What are the best ways to go about finding a professional for your legal needs in Costa Rica? (e.g. online, yellow pages, word of mouth)?

What are the most affordable options for legal services (private, public, etc.)? Is there a range regarding fees?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

Here are some responses:

Legal services can be a headache when you don't have the relevant and necessary information, especially upon moving to a new country. Please share some tips regarding legal services in Costa Rica.

What types of legal services might an expat need in Costa Rica?
One is going to need Residency Services to become a legal resident if one plans to live here.
And one will need a Notario (real etate attorney in this case) if one plans to buy or sell real estate.

Are legal services easily accessible?
Yes.

What are the best ways to go about finding a professional for your legal needs in Costa Rica? (e.g. online, yellow pages, word of mouth)?
Word of mouth is best imho. Find a fellow expat who has used a reliable attorney on more than one occasion or preferably at least a few expats have used and rated highly this attorney. Don't go by OLD references. There was an attorney who used to be used by many gringos. I used him and - let's just say it did not work out well for me. He used to be posted as a "great attorney for buying real estate" on many forums - about 10 years ago. Now I don't hear much about him any more, which is good. If you want his name I'll tell you via private message.

My "word of mouth" recommendation for Residency is Outlier Legal Services. We got ours in less than 8 months and it was very hassle-free. For real estate it is generally best to get one locally in the area you are planning to buy or sell in.


What are the most affordable options for legal services (private, public, etc.)? Is there a range regarding fees?
As far as I know private is the only option for gringos.

As to fees there are certain government set fees for certain things but for example in terms of Residency and Real Estate attorneys the fees the attorneys charge can vary wildly, in real life. Ask what is the TOTAL FEE including government fees and their service fees and compare several if you are on a budget. Also sometimes you can ask for a discount and get one.

Be aware that some attorneys, doctors, mechanics and all kinds of service people  will charge "gringo" prices - that is you will be quoted a higher price if you're a  gringo. If an attorney or any professional - gives you a price in Dollars, watch out! I will make an exception here for residency attorneys because often you may begin your move here from  the USA so it is logical that they will quote you dollars in that case. But if you go to a dental surgeon here in Costa Rica and they quote you prices in Dollars, that's not a good sign. IMHO.

Another example is that I needed a document "notarized" in Costa Rica to send to my bank in the USA at one point. I went to a place I didn't know, just to get it done quickly as I was near this office. The guy wanted $70 for this service. I said no, that seems like too much to me. He said that was the government approved fee. (?)

I went to my usual attorney and she charged only $34 (more or less; I think it was 17,000 colones, at that time).


Thank you for sharing your experience.

ARCR in San Jose a one stop member only ($100 year) legal agency that I'm going to use that came recommended, is well established and handles EVERYTHING. They have web and bimonthly local seminars and information, a responsive office with excellent english, a related tour agency that will take you around the country and show you different locales and lifesyles..NOT a RE agent..Chris Howard who literally wrote THE book on moving to CR. Check it out. I have yet to complete the process, so final word by me awaits. Any other info and experience welcomed.

Dumped my ARCR membership three years ago.  Was money not well spent.

Hi TerrynViv
Oh yeah, agreed. Once your finished w the process no real need that I can see either.
Did you use their immigration services and can you offer your experience there, or wherever you did, if so?

Thanx

I am sorry, no.  We joined ARCR before we applied for our Inversionista residency.  We tried to use them for our application but it did not go well.  I was pretty well informed on how an Inversionista application went so when they started asking for things that I believed to be totally irrelevant I went to another attorney for clarification and found out I was being steered down a road that was not the right one.  Just after I received my temporary residency through the second attorney I lost my wallet and my Canadian driver's license.  I went to them for help and got some very poor advice.  That is when we terminated our membership.

I have contracted w ARCR to handle my Pensionado application. They have a yearly membership fee for services ($100).
They operate from their own modern and very professional office building near the National Art Gallery. Attorney Romulus,  legal assistant Saicy and office manager Haley, have guided and supported me through the entire procedure and completely answered all my extensive questions, since long before from the US, and up to the present, now in person. Thank you all.
I brought the required birth and backround documents,  notarized and appostillised. SSA documents pending, as much easier to obtain through US SSA than the embassy. They prepare all the required translated documents as well. They provided transportation to the local police station for photographs, fingerprinting and Interpol query and report by the CRPD. The entire legal fee is $1100. A set $250 in government application fees were also pre-paid. Some additional, defined, goverment fees and deposits will be due at the the issue of the temporary residence documents (+$450), and then, of course, the required enrollment in the national health insurance plan with the ongoing monthly fee and a yearly residency renewal. All of which will be handled for me in every aspect to completion by ARCR and included in the paid fee. I intend to maintain my Medicare. This will be the entire cost of application. All I have to do now is wait. They will monitor the process, and assist in final documentation to completion.
I am very pleased with the entirety of their service, professionalism and demeanor.
I confidenlly reccomend ARCR to anyone seeking immigration legal
services.
They also offer many other legal services.

From my experiences, it is my suggestion that one should wait until the service ...any service...has been completed satisfactory  before they recommend any business or person.

You are quite correct.

While probable to be found someday sprawled at the side of the road befret of funds and residency, amidst scattered sheets of invalid paper contract, and the far more sacred Eyeball/Handshake....
It is a serious concern.

I agree.
Thank you.
Apology to all.
Therefore;
I withdraw and withhold  my external reference and mere opinion, until final firsthand completion of the entire process, excepting, pehaps, with the initial experience. Would delete if possible. View it with proper suspicious skepticism of motive and veracity.
Each should use their own considered judgement, intuition and verified research in making these important selections and seek numerous sources of information for these vital services, and make their own, independent choices and final decision.
Do not rely on unfounded and unreliable references and opinions, especially mine.


             !  Caveat Emptor  !

I agree with "ohl" I know of MANY people who have paid that comany un full and are STILL waiting for their residency.I never trust any company that has to go
Fishing " for clients with the offer of a free sandwich ...

Oh crap...

On the other hand, I know many people who have used and been very pleased with their service.

I was like many other expats, who joined ACCR, although we never used them for our Residency application.

Appreciated

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