Costa Rica Editorial – The following is a letter from a couple of expats that have traveled in and out of Costa Rica more than once to ensure that their tourist Visa stamp stays current. What are your thoughts on their comments enclosed in this personal cry of asking “Why?”
My wife and I recently moved to Costa Rica to give it a try. We thought we would try renting to see if we liked an area before we purchased some housing. We have been doing business for years in Costa Rica and we have added millions to the local economy over the past few years, helping businesses and individuals get involved in Costa Rica.
Every 90 days the Costa Rican government makes foreigners leave the country, only to re-enter and get a fresh stamp on their passports. Some people fly back to their native country while others visit Nicaragua or Panama for a few days. The questions is “Why do people have to do this?”
Not everyone wants to or can file for residency in Costa Rica right away. Right now, the only thing this government policy does is sell tickets on TicaBus and make the hotels in Nicaragua and Panama happy. What it does in Costa Rica is inconvenience the people who came here to contribute to the Costa Rican economy. Our time on the bus is lost and is valuable as well.
An estimated 30,000 people living in Costa Rica have to make this trip every 90 days. The Costa Rican government should have a tax. Your first 90 days are free, after that, it is $50-$100 a month up to a year. There should be a booth at the airports, or Banco National or BCR to sign up. You would pay a small processing fee and you can extend your stay at any bank location. If this program were in place, the government would be collecting anywhere from $1.5 to $3 million dollars a month. And those wishing to avoid the winter or on extended trips to enjoy Costa Rica could stay in the country.
Our last trip to Nicaragua cost us over $800 for the 4 days we were gone. Although it was a nice and educational trip, we would have been happy to give this money to the Costa Rican government rather than have to sit on a bus for 5 hours and disrupt our lives for 4 days. We did find out that in Nicaragua, you can pay to stay an extra 90 days and they offer a short term 90 or 180 day health plan. Something to think about if they keep forcing us to leave.
We hope the next administration sees the value in raising revenue by picking the low hanging fruit first.