Changes in Immigration Policy (July 2020)


Immigration Offices (DGME) closed until September 18, 2020

On the 8th of July 2020, the Immigration Office in Costa Rica published a new Resolution (RESOLUCIÓN N° DJUR-0105-07-2020-JM) extending the current closing of offices and extending the date for the reception of new applications until September 18th. The office that analyzes the application submitted before the DMGE closed will continue to work as normal, however, they will only notify approvals and rejections via fax or email.

All certificates that were issued abroad and that were valid by March 17th will remain valid at least until September 18th 2020. If the document states a further date of expiry, then this is the date that needs to be considered for the validity of the document.

The deadline for preventions or “previous”, is extended until September 18, 2020. This means that if you were required by Immigration to present something during this period, this will automatically extend the term.

All public attention is suspended until after September 18th, and the photocopies of files will continue to be suspended as well, as they have been since around the middle of March when Immigration first closed its offices.

If you have an approval notice and wish to document your ID (DIMEX card), it can be done through the Banco de Costa Rica and Correos de Costa Rica branches. If you wish to renew your ID, this can be done as well through them. Remember that ILA Legal can assist you with both processes.

Keep in mind that Temporary Residences through marriage with a Costa Rican citizen must be renewed before Immigration Authorities, hence they will have to be renewed after September 18th, 2020.

If you entered Costa Rica as a tourist after December 17th 2019, your tourist stamp will be automatically extended until November 18th 2020. This means you can stay in the country within this timeframe.

If you have a Temporary Residency or Special Category DIMEX, that expired after December 18th 2019, the validity will be extended until September 30th 2020. However, we do recommend renewing it as soon as possible to avoid long lines and further issues.

If you have a Permanent Residency DIMEX that expired, it will be automatically extended until September 30th 2020. Special rules apply for the $100 fine per month of expiration without renewal.

If you entered Costa Rica after December 17th 2019, you are permitted to drive with your valid international driver’s license. This per rules of the MOPT.

Important reminder below regarding the closing of the borders. Please remember that the borders will remain closed until August 2nd, and then will reopen on a controlled manner. No protocol has been published as of yet.

Extension of Border Closing in Costa Rica

The following is a report of the latest extension on the closing of the borders in Costa Rica in July 2020. The closing of the borders affects all foreign nationals, residents of all kinds, and those who hold a Filing Receipt or Approval of Residence.

What’s happening?

Due to the current COVID19 crisis, Costa Rica government authorities enabled a closing of the borders to all foreign nationals. In the same decree, the government has established that all foreign nationals who currently possess an authorized legal permanence (Permanent or Temporary Residence, Special Categories or “Estancias”), are encouraged to NOT leave the country during this time.

If you fall on one of the categories mentioned above, are currently in Costa Rica, AND need to leave the country, the Immigration Officer has the power to give out an Entry Impediment, which states that you will not be allowed to reenter the country until August 2nd, or even later, depending on the conditions of the current Pandemic in the country.

The closing of the borders was established on March 25th, and will remain until August 2nd. The protocol for the reopening of the airports has been established by the Government, however, the plan to reopen the borders completely will be done in a strictly controlled way, as the government has explained that it will be first opened for certain countries who have controlled the pandemic. There is not yet a list or protocol for this.

What does this mean for me?

If you are planning on a trip to Costa Rica for business or leisure, we strongly recommend to wait until after August 2nd, since it is still possible for the Government and Immigration Authorities to extend the closing of the borders even more.

The decree maintains the closing of the borders for all foreign nationals, with certain exceptions. Those who have a Permanent or Temporary Residence, Special Categories and “Estancias”, may be allowed to enter, however, you will be requested to complete a 14 natural day quarantine period in your home, preferably with no access to other people.

Since we do not yet know which foreign nationals or countries will be authorized to enter Costa Rica, we strongly recommend contacting us first before booking a flight or attempting to enter.

Any foreign national who attempts to enter the country via an unauthorized port of entry during the time of the closing of the borders, will have their residency status cancelled, without exception.

If you are out of the country at the moment, and are not planning to return for the time being, this measure will NOT affect you or your residency process or ID card.

Please remember to carry your passport and current ID card or filing receipt to avoid any inconvenience.

For any questions regarding immigration matters, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following e-mail, and we will help you as soon as possible: migracion@ilacr.com.


Immigration Branch

written by https://www.facebook.com/alvaroaguil