September 1st, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Fines that came into effect today for those who overstay their visas in Costa Rica will apply only to those with work or residency visas, an immigration spokesperson told the English-language online newspaper The Tico Times on Friday, contradicting information that was provided to Inside Costa Rica in early August.
“There is no type of fine or penalty for people who overstay a tourist visa,” Heidy Bonilla, a spokeswoman for the Immigration Administration, told The Tico Times. “People caught overstaying a tourist visa will be deported, but not fined.”
Bonilla added that those with expired visas would not be detained if they were leaving the country immediately.
Those for whom the $100 per month fines apply but who are unable or unwilling to pay the fines will be barred from reentering the country for a period equal to three times the length of time they overstayed, according to information provided to Inside Costa Rica in August.
Fines must be paid 48 hours in advance of departing the country at any Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) branch.
The fines, which came into effect today, are part of a package of changes to the country’s immigration law that came into effect on August 1st.
Other immigration laws came into effect on August 1st as well, including a fine of two to twelve times the base salary for hiring a foreign worker who does not have a work visa, as well as fines for people or businesses that provide accommodations for foreign nationals who are in the country without a valid visa.