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Costa Rica won’t penalize those who overstay visas due to COVID-19

April 18, 2020

Costa Rica’s Immigration Administration will provide foreigners with extra flexibility as countries restrict travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency will not enforce penalties for people who have an irregular immigration status, it announced on social media. That means tourists and others who overstay their visas will not be fined when they next try to exit Costa Rica.

Previously, the Immigration Administration planned on issuing fines and re-entry restrictions to anyone who overstayed their visa.

“In response to this crisis, the institution has reconsidered this action, given that there are currently entry and exit restrictions for foreigners,” the Immigration Administration said in its statement.

The decree formalizing the suspension of penalties is expected to be published in the coming days.

“The Immigration Administration will continue to control the entry, stay and exit of foreign people from the country through the strengthening of immigration control at all border posts and the protection of the cordons of both borders,” the agency said.

As previously announced, foreigners who entered Costa Rica on a tourist visa after December 17, 2019, can legally remain in Costa Rica until May 17, 2020 without lapsing into an irregular immigration status.

Costa Rica is denying entry to foreigners and non-residents until at least May 1 in response to the coronavirus crisis. While Costa Rica is not preventing anyone from leaving the country, it has highly discouraged non-essential international travel.

Non-citizen residents who exit Costa Rica during the ongoing State of Emergency will not be allowed to return to the country until further notice, and anyone caught entering Costa Rica illegally will have his or her migratory status revoked.

We’ll publish an updated story when this is made official. 

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