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Costa Rica Will Fine Foreigners with Irregular Stay Starting in April

By Jordan Arias Hidalgo, Associate Expertis Legal Costa Rica

As of April 20, 2018, the General Directorate of Immigration will apply fines to foreigners who remain in Costa Rica for a period longer than the one established in the tourist visa placed in their passport on each entry into the country. As established by Decree No. 40791-MGP.

Although this fine has existed within our legislation for several years, it is until now that the authorities, finally, have adopted the technical mechanisms required to its implementation. The fine consists of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each month that a foreign person remains irregularly in the country. Nevertheless, it is not clarified in the norm if there will be a fine in case of fraction less than one month.

In the case that the foreign person does not pay the fine, an impediment to enter the national territory equivalent to three times the equivalent of the irregular stay will be imposed, however it will not affect the abandonment of the country since an exit impediment will not be imposed because of the fine.

Also, although the foreigner can pay the fine for the untimely stay, it could be subject to a possible deportation in case of being caught with an irregular stay, in which case the sanction will be an impediment to entry the country for 5 years.

It is recommended that foreigners who have work or residence in Costa Rica regularize their immigration status and avoid problems. Our Immigration Law team specializes in the migratory regularization of executives, investors and expatriate personnel.