CORRECTION: Tourists arriving up to November 30, 2020 and not October 31, 2020 have their stay automatically extended to March 02, 2021.
QCOSTARICA – A note from our friends at Outlier Legal Services let us know they have recently spoken with Immigration and passed along what they have confirmed about the extension of entry stamps and continue waiting for further written confirmation.
If you will recall, visitors who arrived in Costa Rica between December 17, 2019 and November 30, 2020 and remain in the country had their stay automatically extended to March 2, 2021.
This is somewhat confusing for some, since many believed it to be before December 1, 2020. All tourists arrivals starting November 1, 2020 did not automatically extend to March 02, 2021, they stay based on the immigration stamp in their passport. The confusion is based on the decision, effective on December 1, 2020, that all tourist stays would be tied to their insurance coverage and not the usual “up to 90 days” what was an almost automatic.
Visitors who are benefited by the March 02, 2021 extension cannot stay past March 02, 2021, unless they have an appointment to file for Residency.
People who enter the country as tourists and wish to extend their stay up to 90 days, must request an appointment to extend the tourist entry stamp by calling 1311 using a Kolbi line (in Costa Rica there are various phone providers, including Claro, Movistar and Kolbi.
Only Kolbi lines can be used to call 1311) or by going online to migracion.go.cr where the person registers and requests an appointment in the following: Crear Cita – Tipo de Cita – Visa/Trámite General – Visas.
You will notice there are many appointments available from one day to the next.
Immigration cites on their webpage https://migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Prorroga-de-Turismo.aspx two requirements that are NOT included on article 158 of the Immigration Ruling which establishes the requirements to extend your tourist entry stamp:
- Recently issued and apostilled/legalized background check with translation. Not only is this requirement not cited in the Ruling, but it makes absolutely no sense to request this.
- Flight ticket or reservation showing the new departure date.
- This process must be completed before the days originally granted, expire. So, for example, if you arrived on January 01, 2021 and received a 20-day entry stamp, you must complete the aforementioned process before the 20 days run out. If you are already in irregular status, your entry stamp cannot be extended.
- All of these requirements are presented per person. One appointment is requested per person.
- Immigration has confirmed that this applies exclusively to extend the entry stamp until 90 days.
If you overstay, please be advised that you would be in violation of local immigration law. If, by any chance, you are caught by the Immigration Police or any Authority that identifies your irregular status, you could face deportation proceedings.
Furthermore, while the fines and penalties for overstaying are currently suspended due to COVID (as you can read here), when reinstated (which could be any day), they will be retroactive.
Furthermore, if caught driving without a valid foreign drivers’ license and a valid entry stamp, your plates and/or vehicle could be seized, a fine could be imposed and you will be referred to the Immigration Police.
For more details on extending your visitor visa, filling for residency and insurance matters, visit the Outlier Legal page here.