If you’re considering visiting Costa Rica, you should know the potential penalties for overstaying your visa. The Costa Rican Immigration Service (INM) takes this issue seriously and has implemented strict regulations to ensure compliance.
Penalty for Overstaying Your Visa in Costa Rica
Visitors to Costa Rica are required to have a valid passport and a tourist visa. The tourist visa is valid for 90 days and can be extended once for 90 days. However, you will be fined and penalized if you overstay your visa.
The first offense for overstaying your visa in Costa Rica will result in a fine of approximately $100. Additionally, you will be barred from re-entering the country for up to a year. Repeat offenses will result in increasingly severe penalties, including fines and a ban from re-entering the country for years.
In addition to fines, those who overstay their visa may be subject to arrest and deportation. If you are arrested for overstaying your visa, you will be held in custody until you can pay the fine and leave the country.
How to Avoid Overstaying Your Visa
To stay within your visa in Costa Rica, it is essential to keep track of the expiration date of your tourist visa. You can also apply for an extension at a local immigration office. The process is relatively straightforward, and CRIE can help with the process.
NOTE: On November 1st, 2018, Costa Rica enforced (Article 33) the Immigration Law (Ley General de Migración y Extranjeria No. 8764). The article states that foreigners will have to pay a penalty for overstaying their visa in Costa Rica – $100 USD for each month of their overstayed visa.
Are you affected by this?
- If you have an expired tourist visa;
- If you have an expired permanent residence status (con estancia);
- If you have an expired temporary residence status (en tránsito).
If you have any questions regarding your legal status in the country, please get in touch with us.
When Do You Pay?
You must pay the late fees when you try to leave the country.
If you enter Costa Rica on January 1 and are granted a 30-day visa, you are expected to leave the country on January 30th. If you stay in the country until March 1st or more, you will be charged $100 USD for each month of overstay at the time of your exit.
What If You Don’t Pay The Fines?
An Immigration officer will/can ban you from re-entering Costa Rica for three times the amount of time you overstayed your visa.
Costa Rica is a beautiful and welcoming country, but being aware of the potential penalties for overstaying your visa is essential. By keeping track of the expiration date of your tourist visa and applying for an extension if necessary, you can avoid the fines and penalties associated with overstaying.
It is always better to be safe than sorry regarding immigration laws and regulations. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your visit to Costa Rica is pleasant.
We are here to help you. So, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).
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