As a result of the state of national emergency declared by the Government of Costa Rica, the Immigration Authority has established temporary immigration measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These measures apply to all foreigners who are filed or have approved an immigration process in the country. As follow please find questions and answers format, the most important issues such as immigration measures at entrances and exits of the country.

Closing entry into Costa Rican border applies to all foreigners? Since March 19 until April 30, it began to apply the restriction of entry to foreigners on Costa Rican territory. They may only enter the country Costa Ricans and foreigners’ nationals with an immigration status granted by Immigration Authority and those that are already filed and are on-going.

What is meant by foreigners with legal immigration status approved? They are all those who hold a special category, Stay Permits, Refugees, Students, Residence temporary or Permanent.

What are the exceptions to this restriction entry?

  • Means international transport by land, air and sea of goods.
  • People who are processing their immigration process (must submit the file number when entering the country) or already have an approved and valid process.
  • Diplomatic agents, consular officials, members of diplomatic missions, members of permanent missions and delegations of international organizations based in Costa Rica.
  • Foreigners who carry international traffic air terminals, without being permitted entry beyond the boarding gates of the respective airports.

What happens if a foreigner with legal immigration status entering the country?

Everyone who enters the country since March 19 must submit with a mandatory isolation of 14 days at home, to thereby empowers decree officials Professional Immigration Police to notify all persons entering the country from March 19 to comply with the sanitary order. The officer will give each person a form where they should indicate the place of address, full name and identification number and means to communicate with him or her.

Until when this restriction is maintained?  This restriction will be extended until Sunday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m., at which time an analysis of the situation will be carried out to determine whether the measure ends at that time or extends for a longer time.

What about foreigners as tourists who entered the country before the closure of Immigration in order to initiate an immigration process?

The period of legal stay authorized to foreigners’ tourists who will enter the country after the December 17, 2019, is extended until 17 May 2020. Since tourist visa is valid until May 17, 2020, people foreign can use their foreign driver’s license until that date.

People who entered Costa Rica before the December 17, 2019 and do not have a legal status in Costa Rica, it is recommended to leave the country before the April 21, 2020; otherwise they will be subject to the payment of $ 100 as a penalty per month of illegal in the country.

How does this penalty will be applied?

The application of the payment of this penalty will be applied from the 21 April 2020 at the time when the person leaves the country, in accordance with Article 33, paragraph 3 of the General Law of Immigration. The fine will be $ 100 per month of illegal stay in the country.

The penalty also applies to people with immigration categories of temporary residents and Special Categories with Identity Card for Foreigners Immigration, DIMEX, expired.

Where you can pay the fine?

The fine can be paid through the following platforms:

  • Agencies Banco de Costa Rica: The person may be submitted to any of the agencies of the Banco de Costa Rica throughout the country to make the deposit
  • Toucan points of the Banco de Costa Rica
  • Checkouts Departure Tax located at the International Airport Juan Santamaria and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (Liberia).

You must keep a copy of the payment receipt or proof of deposit to the immigration checkpoint to deliver to the immigration officer at the time of your departure.

Regarding the exit restriction, does it apply to all foreigners?

From March 24th, 2020, departure of foreigners is prohibited for those who have a pending process and for those who have a residence or immigration status legal approved.

What happens if the foreigners does not comply with the measures and exit the country?

Foreigners may leave, but automatically lose their immigration status without exception.

How long will rule out is restricted for foreigners with legal status?

Now it is indefinitely until an analysis of the situation is made to determine whether the measure is terminated or otherwise extends longer.

We have a 24/7 service to address your legal queries related to the effects of COVID-19 in your company. Contact us through our Help Desk for immediate assistance at: helpcovid19@blplegal.comAccess to our Media Room for further information about legal aspects related to Coronavirus in Central America at this link.