NOTE: This article has been updated on March 3rd, 2021
After we had been working hard to help our clients finding the best option to remain legally in the country or do a safe border run, in the late evening of March 1st the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (“ICT”) and the Facebook page of Immigration Authorities published a press release announcing a new (and final) extension of tourist visas until June 2nd, 2021.
As follows how it works, for each scenario:
- TOURISTS WHO ARRIVED BETWEEN DECEMBER 17, 2019 AND NOVEMBER 30, 2020: They had their visas extended until March 2nd, 2021 and they can now benefit from the additional extension until June 2nd, 2021. The new extension is NOT AUTOMATIC: To benefit from it, the person must send a copy of the extended COVID-19 insurance and of his/her passport to the ICT email address email@example.com.
- TOURISTS WHO ARRIVED AFTER NOVEMBER 30, 2020 AND BEFORE MARCH 2, 2021: They were not included within the March 2nd extension, so by the time wrote the first version of this article (on March 2nd, 2021), they should have i. left the country, or ii. started a residency process. Based on new information provided on March 3rd, this category of tourist can actually benefit from the new extension, no matter if they have done (or will do) a border run and no matter if they have started the residency process before the original term of their visas. As mentioned above, to benefit from the extension they must send a copy of the extended COVID-19 insurance and of his/her passport to the ICT email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
- TOURIST WHO ARRIVE AFTER MARCH 2, 2021: They will be granted a visa for the same length of their insurance coverage, and, if inferior to 90 days, they will be able to extend their legal stay meeting the requirements established for the June 2, 2021 extention. Thus, to benefit from the extension, they shall extend their insurance coverage and send a copy thereof, together with a copy of his/her passport to the ICT email address email@example.com.
- TOURISTS WHO ARE WAITING FOR THEIR APPOINTMENT TO FILE FOR RESIDENCY OR ESTANCIA: They are allowed to remain in the country until the date of the appointment. Do they also need to send a copy of their insurance and passport to the ICT? It is not clear yet, but as a precaution it could be recommendable to send it, just in case.
- DRIVING PRIVILEGES: The Ministry of Transport has not yet announced any additional extension of the validity of Foreign Driver´s Licenses. In absence of such an extension, those who may benefit from the new extension of tourist visas may not be able to drive after today. We remind that, as a rule, Foreign Driver´s Licenses are only valid for a maximum of 90 days after arrival to Costa Rica.
What is the deadline to send a copy of the insurance?
It is not clear yet. One of the press releases seems to provide time until the last day of the legal stay, as if the person could send the email the day before leaving the country. Our recommendation would be to send it ASAP to avoid any problem.
If the tourist started the process for residency and is waiting for the appointment to submit the paperwork, does he/she need to send a copy of the insurance too?
As mentioned before, Authorities were not able to respond to this question. As a precautionary measure, we recommend all tourists staying in the country during this pandemic to send a copy of the extended insurance to the ICT.
For any doubt or additional information, please feel free to reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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