The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) – Costa Rica’s immigration service – announced Thursday night that the fine for those foreigners overstaying their visitor’s visa in the country, that was to go into effect today, Friday, April 20, 2018, will be extended for 12 months.

The DMGE announced earlier in the month that it would apply a fine of US$100 for every month of overstay, and retroactive to March 2010.

For example, a person who overstayed their visitor’s welcome in the country for six months would be obligated to pay a fine of US$600. Refusing or unwilling to pay the fine would mean a ban on re-entry at three times the overstay. In the foregoing example, the ban would be 18 months.

The DGME said the request for an extension made before the Presidencia and with the approval of the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica, is due to the fact that the current wording of Article 33 of the Ley General de Migración y Extranjería n° 8764 includes the collection (of the fine) to Residentes Temporales y Categorías Especiales (Temporary Residents and Special Categories) which is not fair and thus requiring an amendment to the text.

Note, the immigration website has not yet been updated to reflect the extension.

The change would clarify that the collection (of the fine) is only for non-residents in the country as tourists and exceeded their time allowed to remain in the country.

Visitors entering the country have the time of their maximum stay as tourists stamped in their passport.

“The Directorate of Immigration has recognized at all times that proceeding with this payment was not convenient, without first making an adjustment to the text, which is why it has been extended so as not to affect other categories that should not be within this sanction,” said the statement by immigration director, Gisela Yockchen.

“Immigration expects that the application of this fine will be in accordance with what the spirit of the Law intended from the beginning to promote the regularity of permanence in the country.

Likewise, we reiterate that people who have already filed an application for a legal stay before immigration will not be subject to this sanction, so we reaffirm the importance of any person who enters as a tourist for residency purposes, making their change of status before expires its authorized term,” added Yockchen.