What is the change? A provision of Costa Rica’s Migration Law that imposes fines for those who overstay their visas or permits is scheduled to take effect April 20.

What does the change mean? Foreigners who overstay their tourist visas, nonresident, temporary resident or special status DIMEX will be liable for $100 per month retroactive for all periods of overstay since March 1, 2010. The fines do not affect permanent residents, minors or refugees.

  • Implementation time frame: April 20.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tourist, nonresident, temporary resident, and special status visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who have overstayed any of the above visa categories.

Background: The Migration Law, which went into effect March 1, 2010, provides for the fines, but an executive decree delayed their implementation. The executive order expires April 19. The fines of $100 per month of irregular stay apply to individuals who have overstayed or whose DIMEX card has expired at the time of their departure from Costa Rica. The fine is retroactive for each month the individual has overstayed since March 1, 2010. The fines must be paid either online through the website of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería or at the Bank of Costa Rica or through Tucan (money transfer) agencies, or at post office branches in La Cruz and Liberia in Guanacaste, Paso Canoas and Alajuela.

BAL Analysis: Foreign individuals should plan for the new fines, and note that the retroactivity provision could mean very large fines for those who have overstayed for long periods of time dating back to 2010.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Costa Rica. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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