U.S. Woman Granted Costa Rican Residency in Record 9 Years

President congratulates Migration offices for exemplary efficiency

peji2SAN JOSE – Nine short years after applying for residency, Boston native Janice Bradford can finally leave and enter Costa Rica without having to show migration officials a wrinkled tramite paper from 2005.

Bradford, who speaks flawless Spanish and has mothered four children in Costa Rica with her Tico husband, received a letter from the Migration offices Friday informing her of the approved residency application, originally submitted during the administration of former President Abel Pacheco. The letter was dated February 12, 2013, though was apparently lost in the mail for 13 months, Migration officials said.

“This is a triumph of efficiency and sign that Costa Rica readily welcomes members of the international community with open arms,” President Laura Chinchilla said in a press conference Tuesday. “To think such a difficult process was completed in less than a decade speaks volumes about the seamless bureaucratic process that makes this country more accessible and competitive on the world stage.”

Bradford, who previously worked at the U.S. embassy and is now a consultant to the Presidency, has raised more than $300 million in foreign investment through her non-government organization “Save the Children, Save the Puppies” since 2005. Though she was given a key to the city of San Jose and named the country’s finest ex-patriot by former President Oscar Arias, she was continually turned away by the Migration offices that repeatedly claimed they had lost her paperwork.

“Foreigners and nationals alike used to complain of red tape that impeded national progress,’’ Chinchilla said. “To those who have criticized our bureaucracy in the past, I can now turn to Janice Bradford as an example that dispels any myths about our processes being inefficient.”

Bradford, who said she had to wait six hours at Migration offices to collect her new passport, declined to comment on Costa Rica’s improved bureaucracy. She did however express relief that she will no longer have to take the TicaBus every 90 days to and from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and David, Panama.

“Simply knowing that I won’t ever have to sit next to another English teacher or backpacker on an 8-hour bus ride likely adds 6 to 10 years to my life expectancy,” she said as her eyes welled with tears. “Because of those bus rides, I’ve actually been forced to sit through the movie Big Momma’s House 3 on six different occasions. I know I won’t get those hours back, but Gracias a Dios I’ll never have to see it again.”

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