Costa Rica has extended its entry restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic until May 15.
Until at least that date, Costa Rica will deny entry to tourists and non-resident foreigners, the Health Ministry announced Monday. The restriction applies to the country’s ports of entry via land, air or sea.
Exceptions may be made for “humanitarian cases,” Public Security Minister Michael Soto said earlier this month, but those instances must be approved by the Immigration Administration, the Health Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.
Costa Rica’s partial border shutdown began March 19.
“We are in constant analysis of the measures that have been taken and adjustments that may be necessary,” Health Minister Daniel Salas said.
Citizens, residents and tourists are all still allowed to leave Costa Rica. Tourists and residents (non-citizens) who leave will not be allowed to re-enter the country until at least May 15. Anyone caught entering the country illegally will have their residency status revoked.
“The foreigner with a migratory status is urged not to leave the country,” the Immigration Administration said in a statement to The Tico Times. “If the exit and the entrance is via a controlled border post, they will not have problems, and can enter once the impediment is lifted. If the departure and entry is not at a legal border-crossing point, their immigration status will be canceled or denied.”
In addition, citizens and residents who enter Costa Rica will be assigned a mandatory 14-day quarantine by Immigration Police.
The Immigration Administration has announced that tourists and others who overstay their visas due to the coronavirus crisis will not be fined when they next try to exit Costa Rica. 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 has confirmed 662 total cases of the novel coronavirus and six deaths through Monday, April 20.
Commercial flights between the United States and Costa Rica have ceased, according to the U.S. Embassy. Some airlines have planned to resume operations between the countries in early May, though that’s subject to change — particularly given the extended border restrictions.
The Health Ministry continues to ask citizens and residents to avoid nonessential travel and to stay home when possible.
This story was updated to clarify that the current restrictions are until May 15, rather than through May 15. We also added a quote from the Immigration Administration, though we strongly recommend contacting them, the Embassy, or an immigration lawyer for further confirmation before choosing to leave Costa Rica.