Thursday 7 December 2023

Automatic extension of legal stay for tourists expired

ICT indicated that some foreigners have processed up to four extensions in the three months of this measure.

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7 December 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board – confirmed Tuesday that there are no more extensions of the legal stay of foreigners who have entered the country as tourists since December 17, 2019.

The last extension, the fourth, under the tourism subcategory that Costa Rica provided in the framework of the pandemic, granted on March 3, expired on June 1, 2021.

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The ICT said it validated 4,559 vouchers for tourist travel policies, a mandatory requirement to obtain the benefit.

According to the tourism board, some tourists have processed up to four extensions, some for telecommuting and others for vacationing.

Visitor extensions are common, a tourist who wishes to remain in the country beyond their legal stay (stamp on their passport) and request an extension from the immigration service, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME).

However, due to the pandemic, closed borders and travel restrictions, tourists who had entered the country since December 2019 were given automatic extensions. There was no need to make a request. The last extension, however, had the proviso that tourists had to extend their travel insurance.

“Tourists who by June 1 have not completed 90 days of legal stay in the country and wish to request an extension, should contact the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration,” said Alberto López, ICT general manager.

“If the tourist entered, for example, on April 1, they have the possibility of extending their stay for 30 days (having already stayed 60 days between April and May 31), but for this, they must do the ordinary procedure before immigration,” added López.

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The official highlighted that more than 80 officials have been in charge of monitoring the requests for extension of legal permanence through the validation of travel insurance.

“The application process for an extension of stay in the country as a tourist must be processed during the time authorized to be in the country, which is indicated to the foreigner at the time of their entry.

That is, a request for an extension can be made to immigration within the legal stay.

For example, a tourist, who today is beyond their legal stay cannot apply for an extension.

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“If the person was authorized 30 days to stay in Costa Rica, within those 30 days he must request the extension of tourism,” explained Raquel Vargas, Director of Immigration.

The information of who can and who cannot request the extension can be found at the following link:

For the process, a person must make an appointment through the immigration website, call 1311, or personally visit the main immigration offices in La Uruca, in San Jose or any one of the regional offices without an appointment.

Remaining illegal in the country can be sanctioned with a fine and/or deportation.

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