Friday, November 13, 2009

New immigration law in Costa Rica

I just had a quick conversation with the local immigration officer, Juan, about a question I was ask by a customer before this morning in regards of a new law just signed in the congress, the "LEY DE MIGRACIÓN Y EXTRANJERÍA Número 8487".

She is concern about the period she can stay as tourist in the country. Right now, you enter Costa Rica and you can stay for 90 days without breaking the immigration law. My foreign friends around the South Pacific leave for 4 to 7 days to Panama and then enter the country again by the Southern border. You can do this several times, for as long as you need.

With the new immigration law, you will enter the country by any of the borders or access points and will be allowed to stay in the country for 90 days, just like now, but here is where the cards changed. Now, you will have to leave the country for at least 72 hours and then re-enter Costa Rica or, the new option, which is to "buy" time or a renewal by paying $200 USD approximately, and then stay for another 90 days, but here is the bad news: After those 2 periods of 90 days, you will have to stay out of the country for one more period, that be 90 days.

Some other changes coming in the law are:

  • Qualification of felony of the Human Trafficking.
  • Residents will have to pay Social Security quotas and be insured with the CCSS (Social Security Institution).
  • More funds to increase the number of policeman taking care of immigration and residents issues.
  • Approved amount of $2,500 USD to get the Abroad-Income Resident (lives in the country by gets a income outside of Costa Rica).
  • Approved amount of $1,000 USD to get the Retired Resident, now described as Permanent Residents (Retired persons who want to live permanently in Costa Rica).


  1. As always an excellent posting.The
    way you write is awesome.Thanks. Adding more information will be more useful.


  2. Wow. When does this new law actually go into effect? The part about only being able to stay for 2 90-day periods, I mean. Please e-mail me and let me know, as my legality may depend on it, haha.

  3. This law will be effective on March 1st, 2010.