Easy and Reliable Authentication of Foreign Documents in Costa Rica and Panama

Easy and Reliable Authentication of Foreign Documents in Costa Rica and Panama

Foreigners applying for residency in Costa Rica or Panama will eventually need to authenticate documents from their home country for them to be recognized in Costa Rica or Panama. These documents are requisites for being granted residence in the country, so foreigners will definitely need to authenticate them at one time or another.

Outlier Legal Services’ experience assisting expats with their legal needs for a decade has made us an easy, reliable, and efficient option for vital records or court documents procurement and legalization in Costa Rica and Panama. For this, we have created OLS Documents to help you obtain the vital records required by the local government agencies.

Background checks, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, college diplomas, death certificates, and almost every other required document from abroad: OLS Documents has the tools to authenticate them and ship them both to Costa Rica and Panama while keeping your data safe. However, the process depends on the country of origin.

See, we cannot procure all documents since every country has different legislation. Please, use the contact form to ask us about your situation to let you know if we can help. Below, you’ll find all the other information you need to know regarding the authentication of foreign documents in Costa Rica and Panama.

What is the authentication of foreign documents?

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity or authenticity of background checks, vital records, or court documents, for them to be recognized in a foreign country — in this case, Costa Rica and Panama. Some countries are signatories of international treaties for the legalization of foreign public documents, while others are not.

Here, you can find a map of the countries that have signed the Hague Convention, the international treaty for the authentication of foreign documents. Depending on your home country, the country you’re gathering documents from, or the country you will be sending those documents to, the authentication process can be more or less complex.

The reason for this is simple: legal documents are only valid in the jurisdiction they were created. A birth certificate from the United States is only valid in the United States until it is authenticated in order to be valid in another country. The authentication can be the legalization of said paper, or an apostille from an agency of the home country.

What’s the difference between legalization and apostille? Both are forms of authentication of foreign documents. Apostille is the authentication process for countries within the Hague convention, while legalization requires the involvement of embassies, consulates or foreign relations offices.

In some cases, a document with apostille will be enough, while in other cases embassies, consulates and foreign relations offices are involved. Mind that there are a few countries where it’s complicated to do this at all.

What documents might need authentication in Costa Rica or Panama?

The most frequently required documents foreigners need to authenticate to send to Costa Rican or Panamanian migration authorities are birth certificates, marriage certificates, and background checks. We’ll see these in detail below, along with some other documents that might need authentication for residency processes.

Note that these documents need to be translated by an official translator after the authentication process is complete.

Birth certificate

Original birth certificates without authentication will not help at all with your residency application. In most cases, foreigners need to obtain a brand-new birth certificate from their country of origin. In some cases, the original birth certificate or a certified copy of it may be authenticated. Depending on the country of origin, you will need either an apostille or the legalization of the birth certificate. These should not be issued more than six months before.

Marriage certificate

Residency permits can be extended to the spouse of the applicant, but they will need to prove that they’re still married. The same as with birth certificates, marriage certificates need an updated authentication. There are purposes where a divorce decree might be needed, too.

Background check

Foreigners applying for residency in Costa Rica or Panama need to prove that their criminal record is clean and that there are no law enforcement agencies looking for them. People from the United States should get a background check from the FBI, for instance.

OLS Documents also provides fingerprinting services in Costa Rica and Panama. Our digital fingerprint scanner helps our clients get their FBI background check within three business days, with an apostille processing of about six to eight weeks. As with any other of our services, the data from our clients will be safe in our hands.

OLS Documents is the largest digital fingerprint service provider in Central America.

Death certificate

Probate proceedings for a relative abroad is one of the reasons foreigners living in Costa Rica or Panama might need to authenticate a death certificate. OLS Documents is able to get these documents from any country in the Americas, without the need for expats to travel to where the event took place to gather the certificate.

Academic diplomas

Foreigners seeking to work in Costa Rica or Panama will need to provide their college diplomas or other academic degrees in order to prove their knowledge and experience. These degrees alone are not valid in these countries, so they will also need to authenticate them before bringing them to Costa Rica or Panama.

Other documents

Bank letters for retired people and investors, or other proofs of income, property or rental agreements for rentistas, may also need authentication.

Any further questions?

We know firsthand that authenticating foreign documents can be a terrible headache for expats living abroad. We have the tools and the methods to make this process easy for foreigners living in Costa Rica or Panama. So, if you have questions or want help in this regard, reach us so that we can help you as soon as possible.