November 24th, 2015 (ICR News) Costa Rica’s Directorate General of Immigration has implemented more stringent immigration and passport checks for those entering and leaving the country.
The new checks, which include a manual instead of a less-reliable automatic check of the INTERPOL database, began Thursday afternoon. The new checks will be in effect at all of the country’s border posts, either by land or air.
The new checks caused severe delays at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) on Friday, with some travelers complaining it took them up to four hours to leave the airport after their flights arrived, with lines backed up from immigration to the boarding gates.
Authorities said the delays were caused because agents were still being trained to conduct the new checks, and that the checks should ordinarily take no longer than 50 or 60 seconds per passenger.
The new checks come after five Syrian men arrested last week at an airport in Honduras while traveling on stolen and doctored Greek passports were discovered to have flown to that country from Costa Rica.
Another Syrian national was arrested at a small San Jose hotel last week after authorities discovered that she had also entered Costa Rica using a stolen and doctored Greek passport.
The woman had arrived on a flight from Argentina, and may have been headed to Spain, authorities said.