• Subscribe by Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Important Change in Immigration!

January 3rd, 2007

Just found out today that an ages old policy has changed… and pretty much without notice.

Before, if a person had applied for any form of legal residency and had been assigned a file number from immigration, they did not have to leave Costa Rica after 90 days for that 72 hour period in order to renew their tourist visa.

Now they do!

Costa Rica Immigration has now decided that because someone has not actually received his legal residency, they are thus, in fact, still tourists and not exempt from the law that requires they leave after 90 days.

Apparently, immigration is not pushing this, preferring to wait until the news spreads, but please pay attention to this if you are in this situation. Until you actually have the formal residency approval, you now must leave CR every 90 days for at least 72 hours.

15 Responses to “Important Change in Immigration!”

  1. Sara T. on January 5, 2007 9:48 am

    ACK!!!!!!!!!! What the &%@)*$E@)_???? Even though everyone has a year’s extension? We have the letter and have not been leaving… Things like this make me reconsider Panama (double ack). But only for a minute.

    OH. Thank you. Don’t mean to shoot the messenger!

  2. William M on January 5, 2007 10:11 am

    I wonder where all you people live in Costa Rica meaning like cities exactly ?Escazu, Santa Ana,Heredia??

    If I could buy a house and pay for it in full,How much money would I need monthly to live a decent life? $1000.00 $1500.00 $2000.00 its only 3 of us ,me my wife and my son 4 years old

  3. Xavier on January 5, 2007 10:46 am

    How do you know it’s true if it hasn’t been published?

  4. Tim on January 5, 2007 4:56 pm

    Hiya Sara…

    Sorry kiddo… your comment makes no sense 🙂

    If you have received an “extension”, by definition you already MUST have your residency. If you HAVE your residency, you need not leave at all!

    If you do not have your residency, there is no extension!

    You cannot extend renewal for a residency you do not have.

    Call me if you wanna chat about this.

    And… as for Panama.  It is a nice second choice.  I just cannot deal with 100 degree temps and 93% humidity.

  5. Tim on January 5, 2007 4:58 pm

    To William M

    We don’t all live together like a clan! People live all over Costa Rica.

    As for real estate, check with a realtor for prices.

    As for cost of living, that is covered in http://www.therealcostarica.com

  6. Tim on January 5, 2007 5:04 pm

    To Xavier

    This is not a law so it need not be published.

    It is (was) how migracion chose to enforce it before, and they have indicated that they are no longer going to permit the waiving of that 90 rule for those who have a file number only.

    Now, everyone is considered a tourist until they have received their residency.

    In fact, there was never a law telling them to give that waiver in the first place! They just did it for years. Now they aren’t.

  7. Tim on January 6, 2007 8:16 am

    For those of you interested in this, you can follow a thread in the ARCR Forums:



    Forum membership (free) is required.

  8. Andrew DeForte on April 10, 2007 10:36 am

    I am a US citizen and would like to live in Costa Rica and start a small business there. How would I go about obtaining legal residency, business license etc?

  9. Tim on April 10, 2007 1:33 pm

    Just read http://www.therealcostarica.com

    It’s all there

  10. Anthony on May 6, 2007 6:34 am

    Tim –

    Do people actually have to leave after the 90 days. We stayed in the Dominican Republic for 6 months and they charged us a little extra for staying over the 90 day ( when we left), but we were never really forced to leave after the stated 90 day tourist law. Tony

  11. Tim on May 7, 2007 2:01 pm

    Do you mean permanently or do you mean like 105 days (15 days late).

    If the latter, you certainly would not have an problem and likely would not be charged (but remember your license to drive in Costa Rica is tied to your visa, so after 90 days do not operate a vehicle or you WILL have issues if stopped).

    If the former, then yes, the penalties can be significant and you can be expelled from the country.

  12. Anthony on May 13, 2007 3:57 pm

    Hay Tim – Been busy . We stayed for eight months , so we were over a few days , lol . Like close to 150 days. They charged us an xtra 500 pesos to leave which was 20 dollars or so at the time. Thats why i was asking. In the Dominican I dont think i ever seen any one pulled over by the police, and traffic lights and stop signs were definitely for tourists . So the officials were really laid back. Was hoping CR was the same way.

  13. Kerri on April 2, 2008 2:45 pm

    I am considering a move to the Tamarindo area, but have some questions and would like to talk to someone who lives around there. My concern is I have an infant. What is the health care like? I heard there was a hospital in Playa Flamingo? How close is this to Tamarindo? Anyone who can help me get the info I am looking for please email me. That would be great. Thanks.

  14. Jisel Perilla on February 23, 2009 10:36 am


    I am looking for information regarding establishing residency in Costa Rica, both for retired and non-retired expatriates. I’ve heard there is a pensionado and retenista visa, but I don’t know the specifics, and don’t know if the rules are different for those looking to start a business.

    I don’t know if you could point me in the direction of where I can find this information? Also, I’m looking for information on work visas as well!


  15. Tim on February 23, 2009 4:59 pm

    It is all covered here:


    Look under residency and working in Costa Rica

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind

Comments Protected by WP-SpamShield Spam Filter

Subscribe in a reader

Search this Blog