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New Immigration Law Seeks to Legalize Foreigners
Attorney, IBL Consultores

The new Immigration and Foreign Services Law (Migración y Extranjería), number 8764, will come into effect on March 1st., and with it a series of changes that the foreign community residing in Costa Rica must comply with.

This law was passed as a result of the Government's need to control migration flow in a more efficient way. It clarifies different issues such as residence requirements and how to integrate the foreign community into the country in the best possible way, as long as they observe the new regulations.

The new law applies to all resident and tourist categories who live in the country It creates new obligations -- every resident in Costa Rica must be registered in the social security system (the CCSS). In addition, those tourists who are living in Costa Rica illegally, and whose tourist permit has expired, will have to pay a fine of USD $100 for each month in excess of the standard 90 day visa. If they are required to leave the country, they will be forbidden to return for three times the period they spent in Costa Rica illegally.

In order to obtain the status of temporary resident, retired foreigners, or those on a pension (pensionado), must prove that their income is greater than USD $1,000 per month and not the USD $600 a month established in the previous law. Those who wish to apply as renters [rentista) must prove that they receive an income of USD $2,500 per month and not the USD $1000 that was mandated in the previous law.

In regards to employees, such as executives, representatives, managers and technical personnel that work for companies that have settled in Costa Rica they will be required to receive, as a minimum, the salary established by law plus an additional 25%.

Another important change is that tourists who are allowed to remain in the country for a maximum of 90 days will now be able to extend their visit if they can prove that they have the necessary economic income to support themselves, in addition to paying a USD $100 fee.

Foreigners who leave Costa Rica repeatedly for three days in order to have their tourist permit renewed will be questioned with the goal of verifying the reasons behind their behavior, since it is well-known that a large number of foreigners work illegally in Costa Rica, either as tourists or on an expired tourist permit. Another regulation that was created to benefit foreigners is that they will be able to file their residence application in person or through a legal representative at the Immigration Offices (Migración y Extranjeria).

It is important that foreigners who wish to legalize their immigration status in Costa Rica, whether it is because they have lived in the country for a period of time or because they wish to do so, seek adequate legal advice and the appropriate guidance in order to avoid any confusion during the process. It is also important to keep in mind that immigration issues are a specialty and therefore, not all attorneys have a good knowledge of them.

For more information - www.iblconsultores.com

More Regional News

OIJ Suspects Arson in Ostional Home Fire

On January 26th 2010 the Agency of Judicial Investigation (OIJ) in Santa Cruz detained three men of surnames Ruiz, Zúñiga and Gómez for being suspected of having burnt two cars and the house of the former Ostional Association of Development president, Gilbert Rojas, in the beginning of December 2009.

Hours later, the three detainees were set free, but with preventive measures such as not leaving the town and signing in at the Santa Cruz Court every 15 days while the investigation is concluded. More >

Ostional Now Has New ADIO Leaders

“Regain trust and reunite the town”; this is the main objective of Ostional’s Association of Integral Development (ADIO), as expressed by newly appointed President Magdalena Lara Vega. More >

Elections 2010 Guanacaste Results – Two of the elected legislators are being questioned

During the past elections, the Guanacastecos elected four legislators who will work for Guanacaste’s development. The Liberacion Nacional party obtained three of the four seats for Congress, with the Nicoya-born physician, Luis Antonio Aiza, a businesswoman from Liberia, Maria Ocampo, and Luis Fernando Mendoza, an expert in political sciences from the town of Cañas. The other seat belongs to the Movimiento Libertario party, which elected Ernesto Chavarría, a stockbreeder from Nicoya. More >

Elections 2010 – The Community Opinion

What do you expect from the next Government?
That they stop benefiting large corporations, giving them all types of subsidies. They make duty-free zones and the businesses pay nothing. What they do is come here and give mediocre jobs to Costa Ricans and the government celebrates as if what they are doing is a great aid. The reality is that little by little we are losing our natural resources and autonomy. More >

Airport Crime – Nosara Businessman Sentenced
to 18 Years for Homicide

On February 25th The Judicial Court of Nicoya sentenced 54-year-old Nosara businessman Jorge Arturo Sirias Sequeira to 18 years in jail for the homicide of 22-year-old Maikol Rojas Murillo.

The events occurred the night of April 19th, 2009 in a street adjoining the Nosara landing strip.
More >

Water Board Election Postponed Due to Legal Technicality

The election of officers to the Water Board (ASADA) of the American Project, planned for Feb. 11, was postponed after lawyers discovered legal errors in the constitutional documents that established the ASADA in 2004.

The error can be corrected and the documents for that period can be rerecorded, but until that is done only the memberships of the 12 founding board members from 2004 are currently valid, according to the attorney for the ASADA, Andres Gonzales Anglada. Therefore, all those holding water meters will have to reregister with the ASADA in order to vote, he said, because their current registrations are invalid. More >


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