What is the change? Costa Rica has significantly increased security deposit fees, impacting residence visa applications as well as other immigration processes.

What does the change mean? Security deposits for temporary and permanent residence visa, residence visa change of status and restricted entry visa applications now vary from US$300 to US$4,800, depending on nationality.

  • Effective date: Sept. 23.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary and permanent residence visas, residence visa change of status, restricted entry visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring these visas for foreign employees.

Background: Applicants for a temporary or permanent residence visa or a restricted entry visa are required to pay a security deposit upon approval of their visa. The deposit ensures that officials would be able to cover the cost of the foreign national’s deportation or repatriation, if necessary. Previously, security deposits for residence visa applications, change of status and restricted entry visas were capped at US$300.

Below is a list of the new security deposit fees by country:

Colombia $194 $683
Venezuela $245 $617
Spain $300 $1061
USA $300 $361
U.K. $300 $1301
India $300 $1774
Argentina $300 $1043
Italy $300 $1730
Nicaragua $86 $293
Mexico $190 $520
Germany $300 $1401
France $300 $1239
South Korea $300 $2154
Brazil $300 $1064
Puerto Rico $300 $600

Analysis & Comments: The change represents a significant increase in security deposit fees for all nationalities. While applications submitted before the change should not be impacted, employers should wait for the resolution of their cases to determine whether additional fees are required.

Employers should budget for the increase and prepare to account for a much higher deposit for employees submitting residence visa applications. Additionally, employers must return foreign employees’ DIMEX cards to the Costa Rican immigration authorities for cancellation once the employees have ceased working for the Costa Rican company. Upon cancellation, immigration authorities will refund the security deposit to the company.

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