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Update on Travel Restrictions

Travel restrictions remain for land and sea travel. Travel restrictions are lifted for residents who arrive by plane.  No indication of how the travel restrictions affect people with pending applications for residency.  Yesterday a note

  • Travel restrictions remain for land and sea travel.
  • Travel restrictions are lifted for residents who arrive by plane. 
  • No indication of how the travel restrictions affect people with pending applications for residency. 

Yesterday a note was published stating that travel restrictions were lifted according to the regulations published by the Immigration Department.  We have been waiting for the DGME to publish a decree to that effect. It was published this morning. This is an outline of the content of the decree.

  1. It officially establishes the possibility for foreign nationals to arrive to Costa Rica as tourists, provided they comply with the corresponding requirements.
  2. For the purpose of people arriving to Costa Rica under the terms of the decree (the decree only refers to tourist, residents under various categories, and Costa Rican citizens, it does not include foreign nationals with applications pending for residency) it is only possible to enter the country through the international airports which are Daniel Oduber in Liberia and Juan Santamarìa en Alajuela.
  3. Regarding tourists. The Department of Health will issue a list of countries to establish which tourists will be allowed to Costa Rica based on their country of origin. Please note, this list has not been published yet, and there is no indication when it will be published.
  4. Regarding the requirements for tourists.
    1. Acquire travel insurance by any authorized insurance company in Costa Rica. The purpose of the insurance is to cover lodging and medical expenses in case the traveler is infected by the virus.
    2. Complete the Health Pass form issued by the Department of Health. You can access the form here. 
    3. Have a negative COVID 19 test under the guidelines to be established by the Department of Health. Please note, this guidelines are yet to be issued.
  5. In addition, the decree establishes that the foreign traveler must have been 14 days in the country of the originating flight. Please note, this creates some confusion. This requirement opens the door for foreign nationals from any country to travel to Costa Rica through a permitted destination (currently Canada, UK and the EU). However, the Department of Health must issue a list of countries to establish which nationalities will be allowed. As of today, based in the language of this decree, a person from country other than Canada, UK and the EU, will be authorized to arrive to Costa Rica through one of those countries as long as they are able to demonstrate that they were in those countries for at leas 14 days (in addition to the other requirements set forth in section 4). We have to wait and see the list of countries and if any other instructions will be provided. 
  6. The Department of Health must coordinate the availability of the Health Pass form.
  7. The Department of Tourism must coordinate with other stake holders (such as airlines) to make information available for travelers.
  8. Regarding Costa Rican citizens and Legal Residents.
    Costa Rican nationals returning to Costa Rica must comply with the measures as established in Section 4 of Decree 42238-MGP-S published on March 17th. Under this section, CR nationals returning to Costa Rica must comply with the quarantine.
    For foreign nationals with immigration status in Costa Rica (Permanent Residents, Temporary Residents, holders of Special Categories, and holders of Estancias) must:
    Complete the Health Pass form. You can access the form here. 
    Produce a valid DIMEX. Please note that it does not mention what to do with people who have an expired DIMEX.
    Payment confirmation for CAJA. While it is possible to confirm CAJA online, it requires to produce the payment confirmation. You can confirm your status with CAJA by clicking here.
    The foreign nationals who are in this group and comply with these requirements will be allowed to reenter Costa Rica and must comply with the 14 day quarantine. To this end, they will be issue a Health Order at the airport.
  9. Under this section, the decree allows foreign nationals to arrive to Costa Rica through air travel and establishes that travel restrictions remains to other means of travel. This means it is not possible to arrive to Costa Rica by land (borders of Nicaragua and Panama) sea or river. These travel restrictions remain effective until August 31st 2020.
  10. Section 10 establishes that travel restriction remains for foreign nationals with residency (the aforementioned categories) who have left the country after March 25th, remain in place only for land, sea and river travel. This means that restrictions are lifted for residents who left after March 25th and return by plane.

 

Important notes:

  • Decree 42513-MGP-S was issued this morning, still leaving the following questions:
    Is it absolutely certain that Residents and people with application in progress can depart and re-enter the country freely, via air, without restrictions except for the mandatory quarantine period upon re-entery?
  • Can people who have an approved Residency but not a DIMEX card enter the country as Residents?
  • Can people who have expired DIMEX cards but that Immigration automatically extended until September 17, 2020, be able to enter
  • Are people who have minor Costa Rican childre and are married to Costa Rican nationals and who will travel with them to Costa Rica still enter as an exception, regardless of where they are flying in from
  • We hope that Immigration issues a much more comprehensive Decree in the following days. We will also file a long list of clarification requests tomorrow morning to receive answers to the aforementioned questions.
This is a developing story and we will continue to publish what we learn.

Mario Rodriguez and Rafael Valverde collaborated with this story.


Update: Per Decree 42517-MGP-S, tourists intending to enter the country who need, as one of the mandatory requirements, an insurance policy, may now have options aside from the insurance offered by the National Insurance Institute (INS).
 
The Decree specifically states that a tourist needs to:
“Have travel insurance that covers at least accommodation expenses and medical expenses generated by the disease COVID-19, offered by one of the insurers authorized by the General Superintendence of Insurance in Costa Rica and duly registered with said authority; or have current insurance with international coverage to cover medical expenses generated by the COVID-19 disease, minimum medical expenses equivalent to the costs of confinement to a hospital for the time required by said hospitalization and minimum coverage of 14 days for lodging expenses, […]. In case that the insurance with international coverage does not comply with any of these requirements, the foreign national must purchase travel insurance offered by any of the insurers authorized by the General Superintendence of Insurance in Costa Rica and duly registered by said authority.”

 

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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
    Jill Cornieles August 3, 2020

    Thank you so much for the information so just to be clear people with permanent residency can travel to the US and back directly without passing through an approved country. Is that right? Also what do the 14 days of quarentine look like? Is that at our own home or in some place stipulated by the government?
    Thank you!

    • rafavalverde
      rafavalverde August 3, 2020

      Jill,

      Thank you for your message. Indeed, people with permanent residency can travel to and back from the US without having to stay in a third country. Quarantine can be completed at home.

      • Avatar
        Jill Cornieles August 3, 2020

        Perfect thank you!

  • Avatar
    Jill Cornieles August 3, 2020

    Perfect thank you!

    • Jeffrey Zamora
      Jeffrey Zamora August 4, 2020

      Jill,

      We are glad to help!

      Please let us know should you have any further questions.

      Best regards.

      Jeffrey Zamora
      Attorney-at-Law

  • Avatar
    Bobby Blair August 6, 2020

    Has there been any clarification for those of us with pending residency? We have a home awaiting our return and see repatriation flights leaving the US. We have US medical insurance that covers illness abroad, can aquire a instant COVID test in the US and have a home in Costa Rica owned by our corporation. Is it possible to enter? What would the requirements be?

    Thanks
    Stranded

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