Costa Rica News – Over the past weeks many of the expat community were a bit worried about the laws scheduled to be enforced in regards to those that overstay their Visas in Costa Rica. Although the $100 a month Visa fine is scheduled to be implemented starting September 1st, it also seems that perpetual tourists do not need to worry all that much.
The way the laws are enforced means much more than what is actually written. We can probably all think of an example of that in Costa Rica, including the most recent $7 exit tax that was put in place. For the last four years, one law has been in effect but not enforced.
The law is about a $100 exit fee for those who overstay visas. Much confusion has surrounded this law. No one seemed quite sure who it was aimed at, if it was being enforced, or even if it was real or rumor.
It seems now that it is about to be enforced and directed at Nicaraguan workers, more so than anyone else. Perpetual tourists do not fall under this law, because it is about those who had a residency status or work permit but let it expire.
The government has been wanting to learn about the numbers of Nicaraguans here and get each of them the proper paperwork. This led to a residency amnesty period, in which 10,000 people signed up for residency. These were Nicaraguans working in domestic, agricultural and construction jobs. The deadline for that was July 31, and the fine went into effect the very next day.
Since most Nicaraguans have 30 day visas, this means that you will want to avoid the border on September 1st, when the fine starts being collected. It will be chaos, because many people don’t know about the fine or that they have to pay it two days before leaving, at Banco de Costa Rica. They will also have to stay out of Costa Rica for three times the length of time they overstayed their permission.
We will be doing more research about this new law over the next month as it begins to be enforced.