Around the world Costa Rica is known as a land of “paradise” and “pura vida”. And there is no disputing that for almost 10.000 people from 47 nations who in the past decade who have taken refuge in the country.

According to immigration records, in the last 11 years a total of 9.179 people from 47 nations have taken shelter in Costa Rica. Of those, 7.135 were Colombians, seconded by Cubans with 736 refugee claims.

But there are also people from countries that few Cost Ricans even know where they are located, like Uzbekistan (5), Somalia (12), Uganda (6), Sierra Leona (1), Nigeria (14), Moldova (1) and the Ukraine (7).

Among the list of those taking refuge in Costa Rica are Iraqui (5), Iranians (5), Russians (33) and one each from Eritrea and Sri Lanka.

Costa Rican authorities indicate that they are still processing a total of 1.796 refugee cases from nations that include: Tajikistan, Sudan, Nepal, Namibia, Macedonia, France, Pakistan and Japan.

Refugees have to complete immigration requirements that includes an eligibility interview.

The reasons for requesting refugee status in Costa Rica varies from military conflicts, violence and political persecution.

Immigration authorities say that many refugee claims are rejected because the applicant cannot prove the motivations or meet the requirements.

Article 106 of the Ley General de Migración (Immigration Act) a person is considered a refugee when:

1) Due to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, gender, membership of a particular group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail the protection of that country.

2) Having no nationality and being outside the country of former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return.

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