Costa Rica Foreign Resident Card

a more secure and counterfeit-resistant foreign resident card.


The Costa Rica Foreign Resident “DIMEX” Card

The Problem: Extensive Counterfeiting and Illegal Immigration

Costa Rica’s rapidly developing economy is a strong attraction for regional migrants and with a population of over four million, Costa Rica is host to some 200,000 legal foreign residents.

Easily counterfeited, paper-based foreign resident credentials had created social, economic and security problems for Costa Rica. With hundreds of thousands of illegal workers placing heavy demands on the nation’s social welfare system, Costa Rica needed to replace the insecure ID documents.

The Business Issue

Following the enactment of a new immigration law in July 2005, the Department of Immigration (DGME) specified an advanced, tamper-proof ID credential system to replace the older, paper-based documents.


Credentials: Counterfeit-resistance, machine-readable biometrics and secure data storage were the chief priorities for the new cards. The combination was required both to prevent fraudulent alteration and withstand multiple years of use.

Card Issuance: The government required a card issuance management solution to accelerate program start-up and maintain security while delivering high yields, consistent quality and predictable card issuance levels.

An Integrated ID Solution

ID Credentials: Based on the success of the U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or “Green Card” program, the Costa Rican Government selected credentials based on HID Global’s LaserCard® optical security media. The digital security of this tamper-proof and counterfeit-resistant technology has never been compromised. With this move, Costa Rica envisioned the emergence of a regional standard in ID documentation, offering world class security and compatibility with the U.S and neighboring countries.

Card Issuance: The government also contracted for the delivery of a complete ID management system via the HID’s Professional Services group. HID Global’s end-to-end system manages the entire process, from data capture to credential issuance. The solution was delivered on time and on budget.


Important Features for Today’s Reality:

  • Counterfeit Resistance: The data recording process is physically irreversible, creating a permanent audit trail, and preventing fraudulent alteration. Additional safeguards are created by the tamper-proof “Personalized Embedded HologramHD.”
  • High Data Capacity: The 1.7 megabyte optical stripe has more than adequate capacity to hold all required demographic and biometric information, and can be updated as needed.
  • Durability: The laminated structure meets stringent durability requirements, as certified by independent laboratories, enabling a five-year lifetime for the DIMEX Card.
  • Low Cost Solution: The combination of advanced technology, durability of construction, data capacity, and application flexibility deliver maximum return on investment.
  • Speed of Use: In just a few seconds, all card information can be read. This includes all demographic data, color photograph, and fingerprint files, and allows a biometric match to be made.
  • Easy to Update: New biometrics or personal data can be securely added by authorized personnel to help prevent obsolescence and fraud.
  • Card Issuance: A suite of demographic and biometric data collection and card issuance equipment and solutions, including:
    • Enrollment of approved foreign residents
    • Automatic fingerprint identification to prevent duplicate card issuance
    • Optical card printing and encoding servers
    • Card issuance controlled by HID Global’s Biometric Verification System