Penalties and Fines 2020
As usual, every year the Department of Immigration tries to figure out a way to impose fines and penalties on those who have overstayed their visa permission in the country. These attempts have been going in since March 2010. Almost every year, Immigration announces that the law will now be applied, and fines and penalties will be imposed. Soon after this, they issue a moratorium.
This year is not an exception. Immigration has announced that starting April 21, 2020 there will be fines and penalties for people who either overstay or hold an expired DIMEX.
The general idea is that tourists with expired entry stamps, temporary residence, or special category visa holders with an expired DIMEX, along with foreign nationals who have been notified of a rejected immigration status, but have not yet filed an appeal should face penalties or fines prior to departing the country.
Per the current law, Immigration will apply two forms of penalties:
Economic fines: Foreign nationals will be asked to pay a fine of $100 USD per month that they have overstayed their visa. Consequently, a foreign national who entered on January 1 under a 30-day tourist visa and remained in the country until March 31, will need to pay a fine of $200 USD for the two months of overstay. The fines will be retroactive to March 01, 2010, when Law 8764, which deals with penalties for overstaying, came into force. The day of arrival shall be counted as Day 1.
Re-entry ban: Foreign nationals who cannot or will not pay the aforementioned fine will be subjected to an entry ban which will be equal to three times the number of months the person overstayed. As such, if a person overstayed for 1 month, he/she will be banned from entering Costa Rica for 3 months.
Foreign nationals must be aware that overstaying is not compliant with local Immigration law. Article 183.3 of the General Law of Immigration specifically cites overstaying as grounds for deportation, if caught by Authorities. We have, in recent weeks, received numerous requests for help from people who overstayed, were caught by the Immigration Police and were, per law, submitted to a deportation process. Overstaying should not be overlooked nor assumed as a small inconvenience as it could result in serious trouble.
Where can foreign nationals pay the fines?
- Per Immigration’s announcement, foreign nationals will be obliged to pay their fines at Banco de Costa Rica:
|Account in Colones||80051-1|
|SINPE account number||15201001008005117|
|Account in Dollars||80054-6|
|SINPE account number||15201001008005465|
The payment receipt must state the foreign national’s name just as it appears on the passport or the DIMEX. Foreign nationals will be asked for the payment receipt or deposit receipt when departing the country. People who fail to produce the receipt will suffer delays when trying to exit and may, ultimately, have the non-entry ban imposed upon them.
- Fines may also be paid at BCR “Puntos Tucán.” Tucán is BCR’s new Financial Correspondent. It is a tool available in affiliated businesses for easy and prompt transactions.
You can identify Tucán locations through the following logo:
- People may also pay at the cashier points at either the Juan Santamaría or Daniel Oduber Quirós (Liberia) Airports.
In summary, foreign nationals under tourist status or those holding a DIMEX card (except Permanent Residencies) must be careful to avoid these sorts of fines and penalties.
Failing to produce the necessary payment receipts in case of an overstay may lead you to lose your place on your flight, your bus, or others mean of transportation you may be using.