Costa Rica – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update : June 1st, 2020

Travel restrictions extended, immigration offices closed

What is the change?

Costa Rica recently extended the entry restriction until June 15 in a further effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Key Points:

  • Only nationals and foreigners with one of the following legal immigration statuses can enter the country:
    • Permanent residence.
    • Temporary residence.
    • Special category.
    • Non-resident with Estancia subcategory.
    • People who submitted immigration applications before March 18.
  • Those with authorization to enter the country will receive a health order on arrival to comply with a 14-day quarantine. The re-entry restriction for people who leave the country during this period is also extended until June 15.
  • The Immigration Authorities are required to:
    • Extend office closures for customer service and general procedures such as first-time applications, completion of prevention and renewals, etc. until July 18.
    • Approve an extension period to file documents for first-time applications, preventions and appointments until Aug.18.
    • Provide an additional validity period until Sept. 30 for Immigration Identity Documents (DIMEX/cedula) for Temporary and Permanent Residence and Special Categories that expired after Dec. 18, 2019. Beyond that period, immigration laws grant an additional period of three months, with the payment of a fine.
    • Grant an additional term, until Aug. 18 to the DIMEX of those people with the Estancia category, due after March 17. For those receiving the Estancia approval resolution for the first time, this resolution serves as their legal stay document during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Extend the possibility of staying in the country until Aug.18 for those who entered the country as tourists after Dec. 17.
    • Consular Visas will not be granted or stamped until July 18.
  • The following points apply as well:
    • Foreign nationals entering Costa Rica and who require processing of an immigration category may face delays, as the government could extend the above measures at any time.
    • Resolution notification may be delayed owing to reduced staff at Immigration offices.

Costa Rica restricted travel and limited immigration services the third week of March. New travel restrictions were implemented at the beginning of April and were then extended later that month.

Employers should anticipate significant disruptions to employee mobility and rearrange travel schedules for affected travelers accordingly.

Update : April 23th, 2020

Travel restrictions extended, immigration offices closed

What is the change?

The Costa Rica government recently announced it has extended previous travel restrictions until May 15 and closed immigration offices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Key points

  • Entry will be denied to tourists and non-resident foreigners. The restriction applies to ports of entry for land, sea and air. Additionally, residence statuses will be revoked for individuals who try to enter the country illegally.
  • Nationals and residents who enter the country will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
  • Nationals, residents and tourists are all allowed to leave the country, but residents and tourists who do so will not be allowed to return until May 1, 2020, or possibly later.
  • Immigration offices will remain closed through May 15. Customer service and general procedures offices of the Directorate General of Immigration and Foreignness Services are closed through May 17.

An extension until July 17 has been granted for filing first-time documents, prevention documents and appointments. Alternative means, such as the Correos do Costa Rica and Banco de Costa Rica, will be used to process renewals of immigration categories. Technical assessment and filing services will continue functioning. However, in the case additional documentation filing is needed, it will be submitted after May 17. Passport delivery and minors’ exit permit granting will function normally.

The travel restrictions extension and immigration services disruption will impact the movement of people into and out of Costa Rica. Employers should account for affected travelers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly.

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