What is the change? Following a ruling by Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court requiring the legalization of same-sex marriage by May 26, 2020, President Carlos Alvarado has signed a decree directing government agencies to guarantee equal rights to same-sex couples.

What does the change mean? The General Directorate of Immigration (DGME) concluded a public consultation to recognize foreign same-sex partners of Costa Rican citizens. This recognition will be extended for immigration purposes to foreign same-sex couples whose relationship is legally recognized in their country of origin.

  • Implementation time frame: The legislature must legalize same-sex marriage by May 26, 2020, but the changes to DGME recognition of same-sex couples for immigration purposes are expected to occur as soon as its ruling is officially published. The DGME’s 10-day public consultation ended Dec. 3 and the official publication is forthcoming.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary Residence, Permanent Residence, Special Categories, among others.
  • Business impact: The recognition of foreign same-sex relationships will benefit LGBT employees and assignees seeking to work and live in Costa Rica with their partner or spouse.

Analysis & Comments: The presidential decree broadly requires the equal treatment of same-sex couples by all government agencies, and the DGME announcement indicates that a draft regulation has been submitted that will recognize foreign same-sex couples for immigration purposes.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.