As we first reported earlier this week, Costa Rica’s land borders will remain restricted until at least April. Throughout March, citizens and residents are among the only people who can enter the country via a land border post.
President Carlos Alvarado signed a decree formalizing the extension, the Presidency announced Thursday. Below is the full text of their press release:
As part of our ongoing review, the Executive Branch has again made the respective assessment within the process of progressive reopening of borders, and it extends the closure of Costa Rica’s land borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic until April 1.
Therefore, only nationals or foreigners who have an authorized legal stay under the migratory categories of permanent residence, temporary, special or non-resident subcategory estancia, can enter the country by land.
This extension is due to the importance of having a measure to address the state of national emergency by COVID-19 in relation to the management of migratory movements and ensure the well-being of the population in the country.
The decree was signed by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the Minister of Security, Michael Soto and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas; the validity of the measure will be reviewed and analyzed in accordance with the epidemiological behavior of COVID-19 in our country.
The Immigration Administration website has not yet been updated to reflect the extension.
Barring further changes to pandemic policies, this news will force the exit of hundreds or thousands of tourists who have received an extended stay in Costa Rica throughout the coronavirus. In accordance with current legislation, foreigners whose Costa Rica tourist visas were extended due to the health emergency will see that grace period end in March.
The Immigration Administration (DGME) explains that tourists who entered the country before December 1, 2020, have had their visas extended until March 2, 2021.
DGME says it will no longer extend entry stamps for tourists who entered prior to December 2020.
While the Immigration Administration will not enforce a monetary fine if a tourist overstays their visa, authorities may impose other penalties, such as forbidding the tourist from re-entering for three times as long as the overstayed period.
Costa Rica first established border restrictions in mid-March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its airports have been open for tourists from across the world since November 1.