Borders closed until August 01, 2020
Decree 42432-MGP-S extending the closure of our borders until August 01st, 2020 was published on June 30th, 2020.
The Decree states that Costa Rican borders are closed until August 01st, 2020. The date may be extended if Authorities deem it necessary.
Until our borders reopen, only Residents and people with Estancias, Special Categories, applications in progress duly filed at the Immigration Department, etc., meaning anyone with legal immigration status, may enter the country as a result of the COVID19 crisis. There are exceptions to the rule for diplomats, spouses of Costa Rican nationals, parents of minor Costa Rican children when travelling with the Costa Rican spouse or child. You can read further on the exceptions here. These exceptions, regulated by Resolutions and Decrees, do not contemplate business and homeowners.
Anyone who enters during this period (meaning from mid-March onwards) will be obliged to complete a 14 natural days quarantine period at their home. Failure to comply with this sanitary measure may result in fines and penalties. You can read further on the mandatory quarantine here.
Foreign nationals with Residency, 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 reopen.
Authorities have already confirmed that the protocol to reopen our airports is ready, but the opening of the borders will be done in a strictly controlled and gradual manner, starting with countries that have low infection rates. Therefore, whilst the general feel is that the borders will, in fact, open on August 01st, 2020, it will not be for all travelers, only for people coming from certain countries.
This, however, is yet to be standardized, a fixed list of countries is yet to be issued and a protocol has not been published. For now, we must wait.
Other Important Matters
Outlier Legal Services has once again reached out to Transportation Authorities, urging them to extend driving privileges beyond the July 17th, 2020 date discussed a few months back. As soon as there are news pertaining to this matter, we will announce it.
Furthermore, we also understand that there is general concern regarding the extension of tourist stamps. As many of you know, tourists who entered the country after December 17th, 2019 saw their entry stamps automatically extended until August 18th, 2020. This was a welcomed measure taken by our Immigration Department (DGME) since they closed mid-March and have not received applications for Residency, Estancias, Special Categories, etc. since then.
Whilst the DGME is scheduled to reopen on July 18th, 2020, we, in conjunction with various law firms and the Professional Board of Attorneys (Colegio de Abogados) are working to provide suggestions on how Immigration could safely reopen by July 18th, 2020. Considering the long lines that filing an application generally entails, we are working on alternative solutions which are still been discussed.
Consequently, until the reopening of the Immigration Department is properly settled and until the protocol to open our borders is announced, entry stamps continue to be valid until August 18th, 2020. In view of the behavior displayed so far by Authorities, it is to be expected that if borders continue to be closed for most travelers, Immigration will once again extend the validity of entry stamps. This, however, is an assumption at this point.
We will continue to publish any news as they become available.