Subscribe via E-Mail

Get all of our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning! Just tell us your name and where to send it using the form below.

PS – We hate spam too. We don’t sell or share our list with anyone, and we never send commercial email.

Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Those with expired tourist visas will be deported, not fined, official says

September 1st, 2014 ( 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.



costa rica news

ATTENTION: If you are seeing this message,


Get our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning.

Click here to subscribe to our email list. We hate spam too and never send commercial email.

Like us on Facebook and receive our news in your timeline

  • Ken Morris

    I’m still confused. If you have to pay the fine before leaving the country, but will be deported if you refuse, how do you exit via deportation? Is this a situation in which migración puts you in a holding cell waiting for a enough deportees to fill a plane to Miami and then sends you off?

    Also, out of curiosity, I wonder if the fine and/or deportation applies to permanent residents who fail to renew. Anyone know?

    I hope it doesn’t come to this, but the Caja has so screwed up my taxes (lost files and blah blah) that I’m wondering whether I will even be able to renew my permanent residency, since residency renewal is conditioned upon having a receipt from the Caja showing you’re paid up. I wonder what happens if you don’t renew permanent residency?

    • Chris Coble

      I can’t answer your other questions but as an American who has been deported by CR I can shed some light on the process. If you have the money to pay for the flight you will sit in la carcel de migracion for about a week. If you don’t, it will take about a month or more depending on whether you have pending criminal charges in the US as I did in 2012 (it took two months). Once deported, I was prohibited from returning to the country for 5 years. Now if you file motions with the courts to stay because of your residency or pending residency you will find that your situation is expedited and you will be illegally deported within 48 hours. I saw this happen on two occassions while I was there. My suggestion to any American staying illegally in Costa Rica is to do whatever you can to avoid the immigration jail, unless you have very thick skin. Half of the detainees are coming off extended bids in real Costa Rican prisons and being sent back to their respective countries. Weapons and drugs are present at all times so hopefully your Spanish and street savvy are up to par to avoid any major conflict. That’s all I got man, good luck and I wish I was in CR I still dream about it.

      • disgusted

        Chris thanks for your story and the detail. You were treated harsh here and you still want to come back!

        • duke ster

          Yeah, that surprised me also. Why would anyone who went through all that bad dream still want to return? I mean there are other countries waaaaay better , nicer, friendlier, better societies and on and on, than costa rica. And you are correct when you say it is not a good idea to buy a property, start a business, or actually it is not a great idea to come to costa rica at all. Before I read this article about the immigration law updates, I felt at least a little different about costa rica. Now after reading the new immigration fines, deportations etc, anyone would be really stupid to invest for long term or plan to settle in costa rica. Good bye to Gringo retirement dollars and investment dollars. Why does costa rica keep shooting itself in the foot -so to speak? The country just keeps getting worse and worse. And since the world is getting a much harder place to get by financially, why discourage investment or the influx of the only people with money to spend? Foreigners? I will tell you one thing, the Ticos love to hate us, although without the foreigner costa rica would be a very poor country. The thing is-they are so stupid that they won’t realize they can’t get along well without foreigners. They now have the remnants of a good thing because of the influx of foreigners’ money. As the golden goose slips away, things will slip into a worse condition and crime will be way higher as the ticos fight to stay alive. No more rentals to foreigners Mom and Pop. No more tourists downtown. Gringo Gulch is a ghost town now. The casinos’ customers are almost entirely Ticos. And that is a poor sight indeed. The casino workers stand around all day ( or evening) all alone, empty tables,and the few Ticos who are in there don’t spend much at all. Even the whores at the Del Rey ( the quality of which has gone way downhill) almost beg you to take them home or to come and live with them.

          • disgusted

            I could not have said it any better. One group of tourist go to Liberia airport and over to the beaches. Never really mix much with the locals and enjoy the beaches. The other sex tourist who come here make a beeline now to Jaco maybe one or two night in San Jose coming and going. The gays head for Quepos area. That leaves a few who come to SJ. It is still dirty, urine and feces smell with the very poor begging on the streets. Life here is very hard for many unempolyment very high. This law is so CONFUSING many law makers are trying to explain what it means. I say it means go home gringo. Stupid CR lawmakers. The gringos I know and myself spend thousand of dollars each month pumping money into the economy. I would welcome them and stay 3 months then for 100 bucks give another 3 months. Keep the money here.

          • Karen Mata

            I had a permanent residency for over a decade, but once the law was changed sold my homes and moved south.

            At the closing had to spend time in Coco prior to Christmas 2011, and was struck by how empty it was. Then had to wait in Jaco (my bank’s closest branch to the border) for a few days while checks cleared to wire funds out, and stayed at the old Fiesta. The dining room was deserted, so ate at the bar, which may have had a dozen tico patrons. (This during the heart of high season)

            I am planning on returning to Rohrmoser eventually, and split time between the two countries.

          • Upset with goverment of CR

            I live in Panama and Costa Rica. I have small apartment in Panama City and pay $400 a month and have owned a house in San Jose 7 years. Panama has lots of jobs and is booming compared to Costa Rica. My wife is Tica and she has a good job in CR and she travel lots to Panama and is amazed by what is happening Panama from new road,subway,Metro Bus and private building. I love CR but until they start fixing the mess ex PLN goverments have done over the last 20 years it will be hard to to live in CR. I have a small business in Panama that has grown by 100% over the last 2 years and now i have 6 staff working with me and need to move the business for more space to provide better service. If i was a US citizen or Canadian i would go to Panama to invest right now there is a good vision in Panama and Costa Rica could learn a few thing from Panama. I hope for better things in Costa Rica but its going to get worse before it gets better also to the last PLN goverment where did all the money go?

          • duke ster

            I am surprised to hear that Panama is rising economically. The U.S. is dying slowly. Are you sure the economy is going upward in Panama? I am not calling you a liar by any means-just I am somewhat doubtful that Panama is doing well when most countries are suffering. I will be happy to learn if it is true, as the dollar is just about done for and Panama is on the dollar. Actually the Brics countries ( Brasil Russia,India,China and S.Africa) are trading on whatever they can OTHER than the dollar. Anything they can trade which has some backing in gold. The dollar has nothing except confidence behind it -making it a fiat currency. No one has any confidence in the dollar anymore. The U.S bombed Sadam Hussein and killed Ghadafi because they were opening trading houses based on Gold and if they would have been successful the U.S. would have immediately fallen. Now there are too many countries trading on anything except the dollar and since U.S. didn’t get away with bombing Iran ( who started an oil bourse trading on gold) other countries got on the bandwagon. The dollar is being held up temporarily because standard and poor’s downgrading of the dollar was reversed because of threats and coercion. Now there is a new rating agency with Russia as a partner and certain U.S. business interests as well and they won’t keep up the false illusion that the dollar has any value. So very soon ( hopefully slowly) the dollar will be nearly if not 100% useless and we will be in trouble as no one will exactly know how to value trading except for something gold backed. All this will lead to massive unemployment and the current “great recession” will be revealed as what it really is– the deepest DEPRESSION ever seen. So that is why I question Panama’s economic success–however I will be the 1st one out there cheerleading if any of this is true. If anyone wants to study what is really happening and who is running the show I suggest looking on You Tube for Karen Hudes.( She is supposed to be a whistleblower of the world bank ( the jury is still out as to whether she is really a disinformation agent still working for the world bank ) you see she was or is still general counsel ( a lawyer) for the world bank some 20 years. She explains a whole lot of information you would not be able to discover in a lifetime of turning over rocks to get inside information as to the inner workings of the world and it’s monetary system. ( google “global debt facility” if you want your mind blown as to who has the world’s money and how one man has been put in the position of controlling the world’s money supply) Define what you read and question all. For instance she says Abraham was actually the Pharaoh Akhenaten. ( this is just a tidbit of showing you how deep this information she has –goes. Actually the Bible tells us that Abraham was a friend of God and since even Karen admits Akhenaten was a creature who was not entirely 100% human, this fact alone eliminates Abraham from being Akenhaten. You will learn that man is not the only hominid living on the earth and that there is another species here on earth which some have mistakenly identified as “aliens” As Karen rightly explains, there are no “aliens” from other planets. Please check out all her You Tube videos. You will be fascinated I promise. You will learn that Homocapensis actually are still here on earth and are the hidden rulers of this planet.

          • Karen Mata

            The death of the dollar is greatly exaggerated. All currencies of the Brics are presently derivatives of the US dollar.

            There is probably a new world reserve currency in the offing, and the dollar will be a good portion of that basket.

            Panama has one of the most robust economies on the planet. Google Panama growth charts, for reference.

            As for the brics, both Brazil and Russia are economic basket cases, while China is on the verge of imploding. (Remember how Japan was going to take over the world a couple decades back?)

            Libya was bombed in large part because their oil was not sold in $. There was also a large gold stash, stolen to help suppress the price.

            We’ve heard of Karen H, and dismiss her after the talk of partial humans, as we dismiss all those who broach that subject.

          • duke ster

            I wouldn’t be so sure about dismissing Karen’s outing of the partial humans. They have been around since 1st told about in Genesis 6 of the Bible. Karen and her ilk carefully evade and misinform when it comes to the subject of Biblical connections as all who have cast their lot with satan , do. However if you study her several videos on you tube you will have fantastic insight to the inner workings of the financial system on earth. For instance do you know anything about 1 man who was put in charge of the world’s wealth? How is that possible? Read and listen to her videos and google “Global Debt Facility” Fantastic insider information which a person would not be able to uncover even with several years dedicated to studying the world’s financial underpinnings and even then you would never be able to uncover the information she simply tosses out like it is easy and free to obtain. It is NOT easy to obtain this secret information. If you already knew all about the Global Debt facility then you are way ahead of my studies ( until I listened to Karen’s revelations. I am not holding her out to be an end all but certainly she has an incredible wealth of inside knowledge. She understands for instance, that there are no “aliens” from other planets while acknowledging that flying saucers are real and also the abductions happening as a result of these advanced vehicles and the occupants meddling in Mankind’s affairs. To change the subject briefly, where will Ebola epedimic go? Will this be one of the 1st of the soon to come “plagues” which will be brought about from a planned attack? The bible tells of endtime plagues, will this be the start? If you study the Bible you will learn all about the Nephlim and even today we see their skulls present in museums–specifically in the Peruvian coastal regions and other S.American coastal countries as well as a huge settlement in S. Africa where recently a huge footprint ( 6 feet long) was discovered imbedded in stone. If you don’t believe in the bible then I can’t show you other truths, but if you do, read Genesis chapter 6 and then cross reference other chapters’ information about the giants who were born as a result of fallen angels mating with the comely daughters of men and how God destroyed them in the flood. Noah was spared not because he was perfect but because he was “perfect in his generations” meaning his bloodline had never been tainted with the seed of satan , or the Nephlim. Yes these creatures exist and their incredible intelligence and extreme technical tools and machines were obtained from heaven where they learned and were able to bring at least a smattering with them when they chose to leave their first estate. The offspring ( Nephlim) are part spiritual and part human. They abduct to keep their race going but their offspring are infertile, hence the need to abduct and cross mate. You will soon see the huge ships as their plan is to reveal themselves soon. Most countries have admitted their presence ( however they are fooled into believing they are aliens from another planets) The ex Canadian defence minister recently came forward announcing their presence. They are slowly showing themselves as their plan to rule the world is beginning to unfold in the guise of the New World Order.

          • Wondering Why

            Wow – never seen a post before that is 100% incorrect as yours is – light up another one buddy.

          • Karen Mata

            And you´re reading Inside Costa Rica posts from a month ago..??wtf??
            Should we laugh or cry?

            What´s your theory, genius…?

          • Karen Mata

            Have they alienated themselves sufficiently with the US to where they may experience an Argentine type currency drop? Waking up to 1500 or 2000 colones/$?

            Meanwhile agreed. COL in Panama is about half. The restaurants are fabulous.(especially compared to SJ) They learned capitalism from the masters.

            For some reason I feel very much at home in CR though.

      • Karen Mata

        Sorry to hear of your plight, Chris.

        Hang on. There will be a new sheriff in town by 16. A very good probability of change coming soon.

  • disqus_r8w0IwvvLw

    I will be leaving permanently in 4 weeks, Sept 30th but my visa is up the 10th of Sept. so….. I am forced to pay to cross the border or be in a very bad situation traveling with a pet. 20 days over would make me a felon and be deported!! What a great country this has become.

    • Joe1047

      I understand it can be a bit annoying but have you ever thought what happens when you overstay a visa in the US or Canada? Not exactly a slap on the wrists either.

  • disgusted

    Number one reason not to buy property, house or business here. Not until you really are a pensionado or a resident. Of course just before your visa expire get out of here some say a day some say 3 days whatever. This is going to make a lot of gringo’s re think retirement and other options.. CR is not a friendly destination.

    • disgusted

      Met a gringo here. He wanted to become a pensionado. However he only 55yrs old. So he used his documents he receives work pension and quite a lot of money. The Caja told him he would have to pay $550 a month or 10%. He not going to do that now. . Another guy I know is a pension status he told his monthly Caja is $150 a month, or 10% of his income. He said his renewal is in 4 years. So he does not pay the Caja and at that point will either become a perpetual tourist or move elsewhere. So in five years or 60 months adds up to 9K. He has his own insurance. I wonder how many Tico’s pay anywhere near this each month.

    • Wondering Why

      not friendly for gringo’s – that is the whole purpose – most gringo’s have not been good for this country by driving up prices and bringing undesirable gringo ways

  • Chris Coble

    LOL at the Del Rey. Beetle Bar in Jaco wasn’t looking to good the last time I was there either. One thing about starting a business though is I believe they will give you citizenship if you invest enough in the country. I don’t want my bad experience to weigh in necessarily on people thinking of going down there. The only Americans I saw in the immigration jail either had pending criminal charges in the United States or were tied up in the civil and criminal courts of Costa Rica. If it’s simply a matter of overstaying your visa they will arrest you and release you under the condition that you will buy your ticket and leave. And once you do leave obviously you can come back since you weren’t deported. A friend of mine was deported even though he had residency and was working on getting citizenship because he was married to a Tica, and they would have never deported him if the Feds didn’t want him so badly. If the US wants you, Costa Rica has no choice but to acquiesce. Fortunately for me I’ve done my time (22 months) and now that I’m free I would gladly come back to Costa Rica once my 5 years is up and my term of supervised release is completed. I have many Tico friends and I’ve definitely seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of the country. I’ve lived anywhere from a condo at the beach to a run down house in San Sebastian. If you’re able to pick up Spanish Costa Rica can be an amazing place to live for the rest of your life. I’m not going to lie though, in the US it is much easier to live a prosperous life with all the luxuries available here. In Costa Rica everything American is almost double the cost. Even ketchup lol.

  • Andrew

    You are so right, Dukester: they absolutely don’t get it.
    And i’m beginning to think they never will.
    What a shame.

    • Wondering Why

      They do get it – get rid of the long term gringo influence and get back to the Tica way.

  • Michael Clarkson

    Costa Rica has become a sewer, people need to stay away, tourists build this country and now that the country is established you get the typical Tico gratitude welcome to CR leave your money and then go home.

    • Wondering Why

      The purpose is to stop the long term gingo’s from staying – they are trying to get the country back to what it was before all the negative gringo influence.

Popular Content