COSTA RICAN BORDER: The Cheapest Visa Run To Avoid The New Immigration Law $100 Fines Effective On April 20, 2018
by: Robelyn M. Yambao
I am going to share the new information we received from the immigration regarding the renewal of stay here in Costa Rica. Last December 2017, I gave birth to a beautiful baby here in Costa Rica therefore, I have a Costa Rican baby. Through our baby as a direct relative, we can apply for permanent residency or citizenship through her, just submit paper works proving that we are the parents. If we get the residency, we don't need to leave the country every 90 days. Unfortunately, we did not apply residency yet. In this case, we will need to exit the country to renew our stamp. We thought that we are exempted not to cross and it's okay to overstay because our newly born baby has no passport yet. The system in Costa Rica is very slow in providing papers like our baby's birth certificate that takes 2 months before we can receive a copy. Every paper you need, they will give you appointment just like the hospital director letter stating the pertinent facts of the birth, we should wait for another 3 weeks to get the letter. In short, we already spent 1 month more after the expiration of our stamp.
When they release the important statement from the immigration law that starting April 20th, 2018, they will collect fines of $100 for every month of overstay in the country. We thought that was unfair in our situation because without the baby we can cross the border anytime. Since, their system is so slow, we couldn't leave until the baby's papers are done. To be safe with the fines, we called the immigration officer to clear it up. She told us that we still need to pay the fines if we can't renew our stamp before April 20, 2018. That is a sure thing that can make us broke since we are 3 in the family. If we overstay for 2 more months, that will be $600 fines for us. So, we did a visa run immediately the other day before hitting April 20th to avoid the fines.
The Department of Immigration will start applying the law on April 20th, 2018 collecting a $100 fine per month for overstaying your tourist visa in Costa Rica .
When we enter Costa Rica, we are allowed to stay for 90 days depending on your return ticket date. The maximum allowed is 90 days, if you show them a return ticket that stating a month of stay, then you must leave the country in 30 days.
If you overstay your tourist visa you are subject to deportation and a fine of $100 for every month you overstay in the country starting on April 20, 2018. The fine will be computed at your exit from Costa Rica (airport or border crossing). This new law was approved many years ago by article 3 of the Immigration Law (Law 8764) but the implementation has been postponed. Starting April 20th the law will be applied and many foreigners will be affected if they won't renew their stamp before this date.
As far as my understanding, this also applies to those foreigners who have temporary residency or special residency categories that had expired DIMEX.
If those foreigners let their residency card expire, they will be charged $100 per month for every month that passes until they renew it. For safety purpose, call the immigration office to make sure that you are safe.
Watch my video by going to this LINK:
The Cheapest Budget Visa Run
Last April 6, 2018 we did our visa run with my family. We overstay for a month here so we need to renew our stamp before April 20 to avoid fines. Since, we have a baby who has no paper, we still took her at the border but we left her to our friend while we did our thing in crossing the border. That was the best thing we can do to renew our stamp. We should trust friend for our baby, a risky decision, just to avoid fines. If you have the same situation with us you should choose the best friend you ever had to take care of your baby while you are out for 2 hours.
The Cheapest visa run I am talking about is crossing the Las Tablillas Border. In this border, you can return as soon as 1-2 hours depends with the number of people that are crossing the border. Only few people are taking this route because most of the people are used to take Penas Blancas border. This border has friendly officers, few walks away and less traffic. You don't need to cross Nicaragua and stay for few hours or overnight in the hotel. But, you should stay at least 20 minutes at the immigration departure area and can return in Costa Rica after you get your exit stamp. The officers are friendly that they told us it's not a problem if you go there just for stamping. Those who needs visa in entering Nicaragua like me, it takes longer stay in the office compared to others like Americans. My husband is an american so he can come back to CR in an hour if lot of people are waiting in line, if only few people are waiting, it won't take that long. For me and my daughter as Filipinos, we finished our stamping in 2 hours because we waited for our visa upon arrival in Nicaragua. My American husband doesn't need a visa to enter Nicaragua so that makes a difference.
The Total Cost to do the visa run
You should prepare the total of $22 USD for exit tax (Costa Rica $8) and municipality tax + tourist card + arrival/exit tax (Nicaragua $12 + $2). While $72 USD if your nationality needs a visa to enter Nicaragua like myself, it costs me $50 USD for the visa.
If you don't have a car, we can offer you our service because we have a Costa Rican friend who can drive you for your visa run going to Las Tablillas border. It takes only 3 hours from San Ramon to the border and she will wait for you until you finish. For more info about the visa run service please contact me.
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A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.