December 3rd, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A new border tax which came into effect over the weekend is causing chaos on the Nicaraguan border because Costa Rican immigration workers do not have the necessary devices in place to accept the payments.
Problems began in the evening hours on Sunday, and by yesterday the situation was quickly spiraling out of control, with hundreds of people in line attempting to exit Costa Rica en route to Nicaragua.
The problem appears to be that the devices required for border officials to accept the payments have yet to be installed.
As a result, the new $5 fee must be paid at any Bancrédito branch, but for the moment there is no bank branch in the area, forcing travelers to return to Liberia in order to pay the fee.
The ensuing hassle has crippled the border, as travelers and tourists unaware of the new tax continue to arrive without having paid the fee in Liberia – about an hour’s drive south. Meanwhile, busloads of people unaware of the new fee also have nowhere to pay it at the border, forcing travelers to abandon the buses on which they were traveling in order to return to Liberia to pay the tax – and make new transportation arrangements.
The situation has led the Directorate General of Immigration to send a request to the Ministry of Finance to suspend the collection of the tax until the issues are resolved. The Ministry had yet to respond to the request by press time.