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More Restrictions to Enter the Country

Costa Rica's borders are opened solely to travelers coming from Canada, the EU, and the UK by air, through the Juan Santamaria or Daniel Oduber airports, until August 31st, 2020. This means that only people

More Restrictions to Enter the Country

Costa Rica’s borders are opened solely to travelers coming from Canada, the EU, and the UK by air, through the Juan Santamaria or Daniel Oduber airports, until August 31st, 2020. This means that only people that have been in these countries for the past 14 days will be able to enter if they comply with the entry requirements as mentioned here.

The information received thus far is extremely confusing and contradicting. Outlier Legal Services, in conjunction with other Law Firms through the Professional Board of Attorneys, is seeking clarification as this is a violation of the right to legal certainty and the principle of transparency of the information.

The main Decree that determines these new rules, Decree No. 42513-MGP-S, references to the fact that the Ministry of Health and Immigration must both issue the corresponding Resolution and guidelines to determine how the opening of the border will work. Immigration is also responsible for clearly stating how tourists, Residents, people with applications in progress, etc. will be treated. However, such clear guidelines are yet to be issued.

This is what is known so far:

Residents:

Foreign nationals with Residency (Temporary or Permanent), Estancias, Special Categories, applications in progress, spouses of Costa Rican nationals, parents of minor Costa Rican children who entered under the exceptions, etc., that depart the country from March 25th at 23:59 onwards will NOT BE ALLOWED to re-enter until the borders fully reopen.

This means that for example a US national who has Residency cannot fly back to the US and return a few weeks later. This will only be possible once the entry bans are definitely lifted and Immigration provides confirmation. It seems that Residents, people with Estancias and Special Categories who have entry bans, may be allowed back if they come from one of the authorized countries, as long as they have been in such country for 14 days.

Therefore, Residents, people with Special Categories or Estancias who are abroad may be allowed back solely if they are flying in from Canada, the EU or the UK.

These people will be required to present:

  • Valid DIMEX card
  • Evidence that their respective CAJA is up to date (that can be reviewed here).
  • Health Pass (access here).
  • Prove that you have been in Canada, the EU or the UK for the past 14 days (the passport should be sufficient to prove this).
  • Upon arrival, these people will be obliged to complete a 14 natural day quarantine period at home.

Notice that one of the documents Immigration itself has published, the FAQ you can find here, clearly states that “per the Constitution, it is not possible to reject the entry of Costa Rican nationals and Residents into Costa Rica”. However, the contradiction prevails.

People with applications in progress:

People with applications in progress will no longer be treated as Residents but as tourists and will therefore need the COVID19 test, the INS insurance (or any authorized travel insurance, see the update note below) and the Health Pass to enter the country. They will only be allowed to enter if they have remained in one of the authorized countries for the past 14 days and are flying in from one of these countries. This means for example that if you are a US national and you depart now, even if you have an application in progress, you will only be allowed to return if you stay in Canada for 14 days and can comply with the entry requirements of the COVID19 test, INS insurance, etc.

No exceptions have been made for businesses or homeowners. No exceptions have been made for humanitarian reasons either.

These guidelines will be reviewed again on August 31st, 2020.

We are yet to receive confirmation on whether:

  • The exceptions for parents of Costa Rican nationals and spouses of Costa Rican nationals travelling with the child or spouse still apply.
  • People with expired DIMEX cards that have been automatically extended until September 30, 2020, will be able to enter.
  • People with approved Residencies that do not have a DIMEX card (as to secure it, they must enter the country) will be allowed to enter.

We are also filing a complaint as the transit of Residents and people with applications in progress is much more restricted now than when borders were closed which makes no sense at all.

We will continue doing what we can to provide information to the expat community.

 


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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1 COMMENT
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    Shahee August 6, 2020

    How is it, that being that the constitution of Costa Rica states that foreigners have the same rights as locals, that this kind of discrimination is lawful?

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