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Penalties for overstaying suspended

Update: Entry Stamps Extended until July 17th, 2020. Update: On April 20, the Health Minister, Daniel Salas, reported that the closing of borders for foreigners continues in force in the country until May 15. Immigration just announced

penalties for overstaying

Update: Entry Stamps Extended until July 17th, 2020.

Update: On April 20, the Health Minister, Daniel Salas, reported that the closing of borders for foreigners continues in force in the country until May 15.


Immigration just announced through their official Facebook page that they will be suspending the fines and penalties that were scheduled to come into force on April 21st, 2020. You can read about such fines and penalties here.

As many expats may recall, Immigration has been trying to effectively impose fines and penalties for overstaying since 2010. Basically, every year they announce that the fines and penalties will start to be imposed on X date and a few days prior to such date realize they do not have the technology or system to properly charge the fines or record the penalties.

This year, a few months back they had announced that they had figured out a plan and that starting April 21st, 2020, the fines and penalties would be a reality.

In view of the COVID19 crisis and the uncertainty, particularly regarding flights in and out of Costa Rica plus the situation with the Panamanian and Nicaraguan border, we filed a suggestion to suspend the fines and penalties and reevaluate the possibility of imposing them later on, once things settle down.

Perhaps other colleagues also filed suggestions and we are confident Immigration realized as well that it would be better to simply suspend the fines and penalties at this time.

Therefore, this is what we know:

  • Borders will remain closed until April 30th, 2020.
  • Foreign nationals who entered the country as tourist visitors will see their entry stamps automatically extended until May 17th, 2020.
  • After May 17, 2020th, people with expired entry stamps will have an irregular status. However, when trying to leave the country they will not face economic fines or the penalty of being banned from the country.
  • Evidently, once things settle down people will be expected to respect local Immigration Law that states that no one should overstay their entry visa, depending on the amount of days granted at the border. This amount of days will never exceed 90 days.

An Executive Order is going to be released soon, however, we wanted to give the expat community a heads up. Once the Order is published, we will provide a summary and an analysis.

This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and a logical move in times of uncertainty and fear.

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ibrenes@outlierlegal.com

Attorney with more than 10 years of experience in customer service, team management and team building at an international level. Has worked immigration cases in various countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.

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7 COMMENTS
  • Avatar
    Billy Lee Tanksley April 18, 2020

    What about vehicles that are over the 90 days on temp import permit? Will they let me drive out of Costa Rica when this is over without seizing my vehicle? Thanks

    • Jeffrey Zamora
      Jeffrey Zamora April 18, 2020

      Billy, thank you for you question, we appreciate you taking the time to write about the article.

      We are currently reviewing this with a customs broker in order to get back to you.

      Regards,

    • Jeffrey Zamora
      Jeffrey Zamora April 21, 2020

      Billy,

      Thank you for your patience on this question.

      Normally the vehicle is entered into a customs warehouse (‘almacén fiscal’) where it will be retained by Customs for not compliance with the temporary permit. Afterwards you will have to pay the $500 fine to liberate the vehicle, plus an additional processing/request must be filed with Customs. If you will go to Nicaragua, you can enter the car in a customs warehouse close to the border. There is no customs warehouse at the Panamanian border (this border is closed, by the way).

      Regards,

  • Avatar
    Naomi April 21, 2020

    Has the executive order been published yet?

    • Jeffrey Zamora
      Jeffrey Zamora April 21, 2020

      Naomi,

      Good afternoon. No, it has not been published yet. Immigration made this announcement yesterday, pending the executive order.

      Regards,

  • Avatar
    Jacqueline Dodd April 24, 2020

    Has any determination been made regarding extending our driving privileges, since we can’t comply with the 90 day requirement to leave?

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