From April 21 2020 the General Directorate of Immigration will start collecting the $100 penalty fee to the foreign that has the visa or permit to stay due, or the prohibition to re enter the country for a period equivalent to 3 times the time the person spent under the “irregular situation in the country”.

Immigration´s General Law number 8764 that is effective 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 has expired.

For example for Canadians and US citizens the tourist visa is valid for 90 days.

It is also established in the same law that the foreigners who stay in the country in what is described as “an irregular situation” (with the authorized period of stay or visa due) must pay $100 for each month of irregular stay or if not the foreigner will be prohibited from entering Costa Rica for a period equivalent to three times the time the person spent in an irregular way in the country.

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

On March 19th, 2018, the indicated term expired and according to Immigration authorities they would start collecting this payment or penalty fee from April 20th 2018.

In accordance with Executive Decree 41033-MGP, the collection of said fine was extended for a 12 months period, which would start on April 20, 2019.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Executive Decree 41650-MSP was published, which extendended for a new additional period of 12 months (that is, until April 20, 2020) the collection: until that institution makes: “the proper technological and material adjustments to enable the collection service at the country’s immigration control posts, to ensure continuity in the provision of the service of collection of penalties and immigration control of exists at land borders, ports and airports of the country.”

Based on the above, as of April 21, 2020, said collection resumes and the same applies to people: tourists; with estancia permit; in transit, in neighboring transit; crew members, passengers and goods. Likewise, it applies to Temporary Residents and Special Categories with expired DIMEX.

It is important that the penalty does NOT apply to: minors, refugees, asylees and stateless persons, persons of legal age with disabilities, cross-border workers, tourists with up-to-date status, permanent residents even with expired DIMEX.

Remember that there are several temporary residency types, such as

  • Residency as investor: when the foreign person has one or more properties that together are worth $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 done in Costa Rican or foreign banks.
  • Residency as retired: when the person receives a monthly pension or retirement of a minimum of $1,000, and for life.

If the foreign person has children born in Costa Rica is eligible to apply for a permanent residency.

In case you have any questions related to this information and/or any other Immigration concern please contact us.

Note:  The purpose of the present publication is to provide general information on the updates for Immigration regulations in Costa Rica and it is not intended to be legal advice as such. In case more specific information is required regarding these topics, please do not hesitate to contact any of our lawyers.

Please contact us.