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COSTA RICAN IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES ANNOUNCED PROGRESSIVE DIGITALIZATION OF THEIR SERVICES

Is this the beginning of a new era?

After many months of closure to public, Immigration Authorities are about to reopen. General Director of Costa Rican Immigration Department (DGME), Raquel Vargas, announced on October 12, 2020 that, as a result of an effort to modernize the provision of the services and reduce contagion risks during the pandemic, almost all immigration services will be in the future provided through a digital platform. Access to the offices of the DGME will be required in a limited number of cases, which will require a prior appointment.

Starting from Wednesday October 14, 2020, all new applications for a legal status (residency, estancia visa, and other special permits) can be filed digitally on a platform created by the DGME, and an App for Smartphones will be available for the users to follow up on their cases.

Pending case files will still be managed on paper (not digitally) and will require to appear before the DGME, upon prior appointment.

Requests for face-to-face appointments before the DGME can be filed starting from October 19, 2020, and the first face-to-face appointments will be given starting from October 26, 2020. Priority will be given to those who need to file additional documents requested by the DGME in relation to an already pending case file.

For a complete reopening and functioning of all the services (for example of the Comptroller of Services of the DGME), we will still have to wait until December 1, 2020, as previously announced.

The progressive digitalization of the services represents definitely a new era for the DGME, who has already reduced the volume of delayed pending case files of a 60%. Still, we will need to see how changes will work in the practice. We still cannot foresee if the new organization will allow a reduction of the resolution times of the case files, the learning curve both from DGME personnel and the users may still affect speediness.

For any information on the new protocol implemented by the DGME and how this may affect your processes, please feel free to reach out to us!