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News

Enrolment improvements shorten Costa Rican identity card queues

LaserCard : 25 March, 2009  (Application Story)
Foreign Resident Cards for Costa Rica supplied by LaserCard with counterfeit protection and fast enrolment processes
LaserCard has announced that waiting time to obtain DIMEX, the Costa Rica Foreign Resident ID card, will be substantially shortened with the introduction of new nationwide data capture facilities. As of April 1, applicants will be able to enroll at 25 specially equipped branch offices of the Banco de Costa Rica. The added capacity will significantly reduce waiting times for appointments and accelerate use of the new, highly secure ID card by the country's 200,000+ legal foreign residents. To date, more than 40,000 ID credentials have been issued through the enrollment center at DGME offices in the nation's capital, San Jose.

For its new Foreign Resident ID card, introduced in June 2008, Costa Rica's Department of Immigration (DGME) selected LaserCard's tamper-proof optical memory technology featuring layered security, which is used by both the USA and Canada for their Permanent Resident Card programs (known as the "Green Card" in the USA). The move is designed to bring Costa Rica's DGME closer to its vision of a "regional standard" in identity credentials to facilitate cross border travel and strengthened security across multiple countries in the Americas.

Costa Rica's highly counterfeit resistant DIMEX card takes the place of a document that had been subject to widespread counterfeiting and forgery. With Costa Rica's rapidly developing economy and geographic location encouraging a sharp increase in its foreign resident and transient populations, the potential for abuse of the former entry documents had become the source of escalating economic and security concerns. The new counterfeit-resistant ID card is a core element of Costa Rica's ongoing transformation of its migration management system. The DGME aims to influence other Central American countries to adopt the credential as a regional standard.

"There are approximately 200,000 foreign residents legally residing in Costa Rica today," said Mario Zamora, Director of DGME. "We welcome these residents and want to be sure that their benefits are available only to them and not to those who plan to exploit our resources. With the enhanced data capture initiative, we will be able to issue the new card far more rapidly to all our legal residents. They can be assured that their card will not only confirm their ability to live and work in Costa Rica but also provide them with a high level of protection against identity fraud."

To support the regional initiative, LaserCard will provide a range of bilingual web-based and printed public information materials and is developing additional materials such as document examination resources for inspection agents.

LaserCard is also the supplier of the DIMEX Foreign Resident ID Management System which is operated by DGME to manage the entire card issuance process. The system, designed, developed, integrated and installed by LaserCard's Enabling Services practice, consists of personal data capture, a unique applicant check to prevent the issuance of duplicate cards, optical memory card laser engraving and encoding, quality assurance and card issuance. Each individual stage of the process is controlled by biometric ID verification of system operators.

Zamora added, "LaserCard Corporation developed and installed a world class system on budget and ahead of schedule, using the most secure ID technology available today. I believe that the availability of quality identity documents is one of the fundamentals of a democratic system, and a building block for ensuring human rights. We hope that other countries in the region will adopt similar systems to create a regional standard."

Robert DeVincenzi, president and chief executive officer at LaserCard, said, "I would like to congratulate those members of the DGME team who have ensured the successful start-up of this program. The system inaugurated under the leadership of Mario Zamora and his team will make a major contribution to the county's security and future development."

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