DIMEX Cards Required for Banking
In July 2012, Costa Rican banks will require all legal residents to present their DIMEX ID card to conduct banking transactions. DIMEX is the acronym for Documento De Identidad Migratorio Para Extranjeros, or Immigration Identification Document for Foreigners. This is the type of foreign resident cedula currently issued by Immigration. The regulation only applies to foreigners living in Costa Rica as residents, temporary workers, refugees and students. Tourists may use their passports for banking purposes.
If you have obtained or renewed residency during or after 2008, your current cedula (Costa Rican ID) is likely a DIMEX card. To determine whether you have the DIMEX card, look for "Documento De Identidad Migratorio Para Extranjeros" in red letters on the bottom-right part of your cedula. There will be a hologram with your identification information on the reverse side. Your cedula number will be 12 digits, and your ID card will look similar to the one pictured above.
DIMEX cards utilize optical memory, and are one of the most secure ID technologies available on the international market. Costa Rica adopted these cards for foreign residents in 2008 as a way to combat identify theft and illegal immigration. These cards are nearly impossible to counterfeit, and provide highly secure digital protection of your personal information.
Another motivation behind this banking regulation is to monitor transactions for fraudulent activity, as well as complying with current money laundering laws. If you have a bank account in either a state or private bank in Costa Rica, be sure to check which residency card you currently have. Note that foreigners who own property in Costa Rica and also have residency, will need their DIMEX residency card to do their banking. Property owners who are not legal residents, and visit here as tourists, may continue to utilize their passport.