Starting in the month of August, foreigners who are in the country illegally could be fined due to new fines established by the Immigration Law.
The modification to the laws states that, “Every irregular stay within Costa Rican territory will cause foreigners to pay an immigration fine equivalent to one hundred dollars in the currency of the United States of America (US$100.00) for each month of irregular stay in the country, or otherwise, they will be prohibited from entering the country for a period equivalent to triple the amount of time of their irregular stay.”
The fines are based on the infraction of article 33, section 3, and articles 177 to 182 of the General Law of Immigration and Foreigners, number 8764.
The new penalties are not only directed towards foreigners, as employers who hire illegal foreigners are at risk of paying fines from ₡798,800 ($1,500) to ₡4,792,800 ($8,900).
Foreigners who want to verify their legal status should review the number of approved days written on their visa. Some national groups, such as Nicaraguans, can only be in the country for a period of 30 days, while United States citizens can remain in Costa Rica for 90 days.
For employers looking to verify whether a foreigner that they want to hire is illegal, the only way to do so is to go directly to immigration’s central offices, or if the person has already initiated their residency process, their status can be consulted at the following link, just by typing in the case number of their application (http://migracion.go.cr/servicios_linea/estado_expediente.html).