As of April 20, 2018 the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners would have initiated the collection of a fine in the amount of $100 per month to foreigners whose visa or stay permit in the country is expired, under penalty of prohibition of entry to the country. However, this was suspended for 12 months.


The General Migration Law number 8764, in force since 2009, established that all foreigners who are not Costa Rican residents must leave the country once their tourist visa or authorized period of stay expires.

For example, for Canadian and American citizens, the tourist visa is valid for 90 days.

It is also established in the same law that foreigners who remain in the country in an irregular situation (with the tourist visa expired) have to pay $ 100 for each month of irregular stay or, otherwise, foreigners are prohibited from entering to Costa Rica for a period equivalent to three times the time that the person remained irregularly in the country.

On December 16, 2016, a decree (40073-MGP) issued by the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners was published which postponed the collection of the fine indicated for an additional year.

On March 19 of this year the deadline expired and, in agreement with the immigration authorities, the collection would be initiated as of April 20, 2018.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, that same day a new Executive Decree 41033-MGP was published, which extended the collection for an additional 12 months, until the Directorate General of Migration and Foreigners made: “the relevant adjustments at a technological and material level , to enable the collection service in the migratory control posts of the country, to guarantee continuity in the provision of the service at similar times, at the land borders, ports and airports, as appropriate, as well as, to determine the organization, communication capacities and information for an effective enforcement of the collection of the fine, between the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreigners, the Ministry of Finance, and the collecting entity or entities, given that a series of technological and legal technical variables derive from this, they should apply. ”

In addition to the aforementioned, said institution considers that it is not fair to collect the fine for residents who have their cedula expired, which is why they request that an amendment be made to the Law.

Remember that there are several types of temporary residency, such as

– Residency as an Investor: when the foreign person has one or more properties that together have a value of $200,000 or more:

– Residency as Renter: when the foreign person receives a minimum monthly income of $2,500 for a minimum of 2 years, for investments made in Costa Rican or foreign banks.

– Residency as a Pensioner: when the person receives a monthly pension for a minimum amount of $1,000, which must be for life.

If the foreign person has children born in Costa Rica, they can apply for a permanent residency.

Therefore, it is important for foreigners with an irregular situation in their immigration status to catch up or seek immigration support to avoid future legal problems.

Lic. Mariana Alfaro Salas
Associate Lawyer
Lamb & Lamb Lawyers

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