Fines for Overstaying the Visa

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In previous installments we have reviewed the penalties for overstaying in Costa Rica. Section 33 of the Immigration law issued in 2012 establishes a fine of $100 USD per each month that a foreign national overstays in Costa Rica. This fine became effective in 2012, however, the Immigration Department issued a moratorium for the enforcement of the fines. This moratorium will end on April 20th 2018. The language of section 33 makes the fine applicable only to people who are in Costa Rica as tourists.

The Immigration Department issued a memo given notice to the public that the moratorium will end next month. The memo also included instructions for the payment of the fine, which must be processed at Banco de Costa Rica.

Specifically, people who overstay their tourist visa will have two options:

  1. To pay the fine of $100 per each month they overstay in Costa Rica.
  2. Not pay the fine, but not being allowed to reenter the country for a period of time three times as long as the overstayed period. For instance, if the foreign national overstayed for two months, they either pay a fine of $200 USD or they are not allowed into the country for six months.

Suggestion. People must pay attention to the visa stamp in order to determine the appropriate time to leave.

People who have an application pending for residency are not subject to the fine.

Regarding people with residency, according to the memo issued by the Immigration Department ending the moratorium, there is also the intention to assess the fine if residents fail to renew. However, Section 254 of the Immigration Law already sets forth a three dollar fine to residents who do not renew within 30 days. In my opinion, there seems to be a confusion by the immigration staff regarding the assessment of the fine to tourist and residents. Is not unusual for the people at the government to make mistakes. This could be one of those instances.

In the meantime, if you are a tourist, be prepared to pay the fine if you overstay (or be prohibited from reentering). If you are a resident, avoid any possible issues by renewing on time.


Best Regards,


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  1. Avatar
    Full Piece of writing
    June 3, 2018 at 7:02 pm — Reply

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    • rafavalverde
      June 7, 2018 at 3:51 pm — Reply

      Can you be more specific? Online applications for what?

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    John Falkenstein
    June 16, 2018 at 7:41 am — Reply

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  3. Avatar
    July 24, 2018 at 2:18 am — Reply

    Hi, I am a tourist here on a 90 day visa. I must overstay my visa by 1 day due to a critical medical appointment in San Jose. I am going to leave for Panama right afterward in my car that also has a 90 day TIP. I do not mind taking the personal visa penalty of 3 days in Panama for overstaying my visa. But what is the penalty for my car staying 1 extra day?

    Thank you! -Sara

    • rafavalverde
      September 3, 2018 at 10:07 pm — Reply


      Upon the expiration of the permit for your car, you are required to take out of the country or to import it.

  4. Avatar
    Audrea Chynoweth
    August 28, 2018 at 2:19 am — Reply

    This is my first time visit at here and i am truly pleassant to read all at alone place.

    • rafavalverde
      September 3, 2018 at 10:03 pm — Reply


      Thank you for your comments. Please feel free with any questions.

  5. Avatar
    October 9, 2019 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    Hi – what happens when you leave and you get the fine ? Can you still leave and make the bank transfer for the fine and be able to come back to Costa Rica ?

    • rafavalverde
      November 27, 2019 at 11:05 pm — Reply


      Indeed, if you pay the fine you can come back to Costa Rica. If you do not pay the fine, you will not be able to return for a period equal to three times the over stayed period. That means, that if you over stayed one month, you cannot return for three monts.

  6. Avatar
    March 18, 2020 at 5:20 pm — Reply

    Could you please provide me a government source for this information about the fine or not being allowed to reenter for a period?

    Also, do you know if it is possible to renew a visa for longer than 90 days without paying $100, or if the only way is to skip applying and just overstay, knowing I won’t need to return within 3x the overstayed period?

    Thanks, BJ

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