Naturalization is an option expats have after being a resident for seven years or marrying a citizen and living in Costa Rica for two years. Although being a citizen of two counties requires complying with two sets of rules, there is more flexibility because a dual citizen needs no ongoing permission to live in either country. Ultimately, they may also exercise their option to relinquish one of those nationalities.
One of the first things a new citizen notices, after receiving their cedula is that it gets very little attention when they present it. Even if you have a funny accent, Costa Ricans are historically used to foreigners coming to their country, starting businesses, families and becoming part of the culture. So, if you are a citizen and actually do speak the language well-enough, then prepare for a modest reduction in hassle factor.
For example, less hassle could mean being able to open a bank account with less paperwork or being given the benefit of the doubt on some administrative requirement. Foreign residents are less likely to get a pass because of the hassle of dealing with them. They have odd numeric patterns on their identification, often lack a second last name and in some case come with special sets of rules. All of this makes life difficult for the person who has to enter the data into a computer or double check a form.
Criminal responsibility is another issue, and while I am reluctant to hold it out as a benefit, it is indeed a right that Costa Ricans may choose to exercise. This is because the constitution absolutely guarantees the right of citizens to remain in the national territory. Citizens can not be extradited to face trials for crimes committed on foreign soil.
Ideally, the dual citizen is a good citizen of the world and benefits from a rich culture and international sense of awareness. For most, the benefit of dual nationality comes from the peace of mind in knowing they can ultimately choose the country that better suits them.Note: This article is a part of a series on naturalization and deals with just one benefit. We will cover others, along with the current requirements in another article.