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ICT Confirmed Procedure to Extend Tourist Visas.

Per the announcement issued on the evening of March 1st, 2021, and confirmed by Immigration through Resolution DJUR-0031-03-2021-JM: for one final time, tourist entry stamps are extended. Immigration has confirmed that anyone who entered the

Per the announcement issued on the evening of March 1st, 2021, and confirmed by Immigration through Resolution DJUR-0031-03-2021-JM: for one final time, tourist entry stamps are extended. Immigration has confirmed that anyone who entered the country as a tourist from December 17th, 2019 onwards will be allowed to legally stay until June 1st, 2021 as long as they validate their insurance. as per the notes below.

However, a few notes:

  • If you entered the country as a tourist and plan on staying until June 1st, 2021, you are obliged to send your insurance policy covering you until June 1st, 2021 to seguros@ict.go.cr. That address belongs to the ICT, Costa Rica’s Tourism Board. ICT will review the insurance policy to make sure it meets the requirements and covers you in case of COVID infection and lodging.

    The email must be sent whilst you have legal status in the country. Hence, if you entered the country on February 1, 2021, and received a 20-day entry stamp, to enjoy the extension and stay until June 1st, 2021, you must send the email to ICT within the 20 days originally granted. If you fail to send the email on time, your entry stamp will not be considered automatically extended and you will be subjected to fines and penalties.

  • If you are planning on simply extending your stay for a few days, not until June 1st, 2021, the recommendation would be to send the insurance policy that covers you until the date of your actual departure.
  • We spoke to ICT and they have confirmed that one email per family must be sent. The email shall include:

    • The insurance policy, covering every family member.

    • Each family member’s passport bio-page (page with the person’s photo)  as well as the page with the latest entry stamp

    • The date until which you each person will stay.

    • Everyone will receive an automatic response. However, in the following days, you will receive an email from them addressing your request and either approving or rejecting the insurance. They have been flooded by requests so the response is slow. 

  • Per ICT’s confirmation, if a foreign national will enter the country with international insurance, it is essential that sufficient documentation is provided (in English or Spanish) to ensure that the policy guarantees:

    • Coverage for medical expenses in case of contracting COVID19. The insurance policy shall cover you for at least $50,000 USD in medical expenses.

    • A minimum coverage of $2,000 USD for lodging.

    • Many expats have reached out regarding lodging coverage asking if it is plausible to avoid this part of the insurance if they have a house or a rental in Costa Rica. We called the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and received written confirmation on September 1st, 2020 stating that this will be possible however, they also clarified that this is not supported by any Decree, Resolution, or Circular. Hence, you can attempt to send your insurance plus proof that you own or rent a place in Costa Rica and wait for ICT to validate of this is acceptable

    • Alternatively, the INS or Sagicor (local insurance companies) insurance can be purchased.

  • Please be advised that overstaying your entry visa entails a violation of local immigration law. If by any chance you are caught by the Immigration Police or any Authority that identifies your irregular status, you could face deportation proceedings. Furthermore, while the fines and penalties for overstaying are currently suspended due to COVID (as you can read here), when reinstated (which could be any day), they will be retroactive. That means that when departing, Immigration will enter into the system that you have overstayed. When you return and once the penalties are reinstated, you will be required to settle any pending fines or, if you choose, elect to get banned from the country. Therefore, make sure that if you fall within the scope of this extension, you send the email to ICT on time.

  • People who requested tourist entry stamp extensions may still stay in the country until June 1st, 2021.

  • Starting June 02nd, 2021 (including June 02nd, 2021) people who enter the country as a tourist and receive an entry stamp of under 90 days can process an entry stamp extension to reach the maximum of 90 days. For example, if I enter on June 3rd, 2021, and receive a 5-day entry stamp, I can process an extension so that Immigration grants me the additional 85 days, for a grand total of 90. Tourist entry stamp extensions must be completed within the originally granted days. Hence, I cannot stay here for 5 days and request the extension on day 10 because by day 6, per this example, I will already have irregular status.

People who have filed or will file for Residency or any of the Immigration categories

We did speak with one of the Directors of Immigration on March 2nd, 2021 and the following was confirmed:

  • If you entered the country from December 17th, 2019 onwards, you will be allowed to legally stay in Costa Rica until June 1st, 2021 as long as you have followed the steps mentioned above, meaning, extending and getting your insurance validated. You may only stay past June 1st, 2021 solely if you schedule an appointment to file for Residency whilst you have legal status in the country. Evidently, if you have overstayed your visa, this does not apply, meaning you can still request an appointment but you will not automatically gain legal status by scheduling an appointment.

  • The act of requesting the appointment is what grants you the ability to stay past your tourist days. The appointment can take place in December 2021, for example, but per what Immigration has informed, requesting the appointment whilst you have legal status shows good faith and the intention to regularize your Immigration status and that shall suffice to have you stay until the day of the appointment and beyond that, exclusively if the Residency application is, indeed, filed. You can read further on this approach here.

  • It appears as if people who have or will request an appointment to file for Residency are not required to extend their insurance nor send it to ICT for validation. Do note that you must extend your insurance if you plan on taking advantage of the June 1st, 2021 extension. We are requesting clarification on this point. The same principle applies to people who have filed for Residency, the insurance does not appear to apply to you.
  • If your intention is not to file for Residency, refrain from booking an appointment. Immigration has confirmed that there will be fines and penalties for people who book appointments and fail to appear. The exact fines and penalties are yet to be confirmed, however, securing an appointment you do not plan on honoring is an abuse of the current system and consequences are to be expected.

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sjennings@outlierlegal.com

She has worked as an Immigration and Customs officer for 8 years in Canada as well as over 10 years of experience in Social Services in both Canada and the United States. She is also a photographer, animal lover and yoga teacher

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14 COMMENTS
  • Cathy March 11, 2021

    Are there any updates on the driving privileges to accompany the visa extension? Particularly interested for those of us that have an open application for residency. Thank you!

  • Lozion March 18, 2021

    Was stopped by trafficos (transitos?) yesterday. Asked for my motorcycle papers (all in order), driving permit (Canadian) and passport (entry: November). Cleared me to continue..
    Ymmv.

  • S Hennink March 21, 2021

    Where can I find information about documents? As migration was closed for a long time, until when are my documents valid? Like birth certificate, background check, etc.

  • Pablo Elguera March 26, 2021

    Hello! I am a tourist and have an apointment with Migracion for a Temporary residency on May.

    Do I have to be covered by an insurance? I wonder if they will ask me that insurance at migracion.

    Thanks

  • Ofir Amor April 17, 2021

    Hello im a tourist from Israel, living for the last 2 years in costa Rica (my last entry stamp in my passport is 05 ENE 2020, i have a 1 year old son from a local Tica . We registered the baby and i now need to apply for residency… do i need to apply it to immigration ? Do i need to have the Covid insurance before i apply ? Can i go visit my home country wail I’m waiting for my appointment or should i go and come back before applying for the residency ?
    Thank you kindly for your guidance

  • Olivia Franzen April 17, 2021

    Stacey the article says that it appear that you don’t need to extend the insurance if you applied for residency.
    Can you please clarify?

  • Jennifer Brasted May 23, 2021

    What if I came Dec 5th. I was told by a friend it was anytime in Dec 2019.

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