Costa Rican Authorities Start Checking for Departing Visitors’ Entry Stamps

September 28, 2010

Immigration authorities have begun checking the entry stamps in tourists’ passports at the country’s international airports to ensure that they have not overstayed their visas.

Under the new Immigration Law, tourists are required to pay $100 for every month they stay beyond their 90-day limit. If they fail to pay, they must stay out of the country for a period of three times the time for which they were in Costa Rica illegally.

However, according to Immigration Department spokeswoman Heidi Bonilla, tourists who have overstayed their visa won’t be required to pay a fine until the Immigration Law takes full effect, which could be anytime between now and Dec. 13.

“The truth is that authorities are not yet applying the fine,” she said. 

Although the law went into effect on March 1, immigration officials have dragged their feet in drafting the law’s regulations, which are the rules that will interpret the law and govern how it will be administered. Bonilla said that Dec. 13 is the deadline for the regulations to be published.

According to one traveler, the point where authorities review the entry stamp is right before the security check for travelers, after tourists have already paid their exit fee and checked in with their respective airlines.

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