UPDATE: Costa Rica Immigration has announced that they will postpone the application and collection of fines for 12 months. Read more here.
Have you overstayed the duration of your Costa Rican Visa?
If you are, or someone you know is, currently in Costa Rica with a visa that has been expired more than a month, get ready to “Pay Or Stay Away!“, this coming April 20th, 2018.
ARTÍCULO 33. Inciso 3 – LEY GENERAL DE MIGRACIÓN Y EXTRANJERÍA (No. 8764)
“3) Las personas extranjeras tendrán la obligación de egresar del país cuando venza el plazo de permanencia autorizado por la autoridad migratoria, salvo que medie la solicitud de un cambio de categoría o una prórroga otorgada por dicha autoridad migratoria. Toda estancia irregular en territorio costarricense hará que las personas extranjeras deban cancelar una multa migratoria equivalente a cien dólares moneda de los Estados Unidos de América (US$100,00), por cada mes de estancia irregular en el país o, en su defecto, se les prohibirá el ingreso por un plazo equivalente al triple del tiempo de su permanencia irregular.”
A simplified translation of the above,
” To foreigners whose stay in the country exceeding their authorized time, there will be a fine of $ 100.00 for each month of irregular stay, applied at the time of your departure. If you are unable to pay this fine, you will be prohibited from re-entering into Costa Rica for a time-period equivalent to three times (3x) that of your irregular stay (overstay).”
As an example, a foreigner who overstays his 90-day tourist visa by 4 months will be fined ($400 USD) at the time of departing the country. If they are unable to pay the fine, they will be barred from re-entering the country for a period of 1 year. Just imagine the problems that would cause if you own property or have family living here!
The fine will have to be paid 48 hours in advance of departing Costa Rica. It can be paid at any branch of Banco de Costa Rica. There’s no indication of what will happen if you do not pay this fine in advance.
Immigration authorities are urging those who have overstayed their visa to renew their visa before April 20th, 2018, to avoid any fines. And, the easiest way to deal with that is to leave Costa Rica to get your passport stamp renewed.
You may even want to take this opportunity to go back to your home country and get your paperwork done to apply for residency as soon as you get back because border runs (Perpetual Tourism) are frowned upon by immigration.
The good news is once you apply for residency and your application is filed, you will have a receipt in hand from Costa Rica immigration, allowing you to stay in the country while the application is being processed. Therefore, you will not be required to leave the country every 90 days to renew the visitor visa.
Click here to see the short list of the requirements common to most forms of residency applications in Costa Rica.
At Costa Rica Immigration Experts we’d love to be able to help you file correctly the first time and enjoy your residency as quickly as possible.