• Visa Overstays Now Subject to New Fines
  • November 24, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Foreign nationals who have fallen out of lawful immigration status and who have not filed for change of status or started a renewal application are now subject to fines of USD 100 for every month they are out-of-status. Foreign nationals who fail to pay the fine will be banned from Costa Rica for a period equal to three times the period of the overstay.

    Although fines have been effective since August, immigration authorities have not been enforcing the fines, as a payment method has not yet been defined.

    Fines will not apply to minors, refugees, asylum beneficiaries, handicapped people, migrant workers or tourists.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    To comply with the new regulation, employers must ensure all foreign employees remain in lawful immigration status at all times. Employers should:

    • ensure foreign employees complete the General Directorate of Immigration registration process immediately after their Temporary Residence applications are approved so that their identification cards (cĂ©dula) are granted as soon as possible;

    • ensure foreign employees and their dependents are always in legal status and can present proof of status through valid identification cards. If the employees’ identification cards have expired, they should not travel abroad until their renewal process has been completed;
    • ensure that the Temporary Residence statuses of foreign employees who have previously worked in Costa Rica were properly cancelled; and
    • when foreign nationals leave the country or the company, immediately request cancellation of the identification cards with the General Directorate of Immigration, and record the cancellation in company records.