There do not seem to be any surprises in immigration rules

There seem to be no startling pronouncements in the immigration department’s 366 pages of regulations to support the year-old law.

The regulations seem to validate the current situation, although there are large sections on obscure themes, such as special permits for persons living along the national borders who travel back and forth frequently.

Non-residents must present a forwarding ticket and show they have adequate money to be admitted into Costa Rica, according to the regulations. That is the rule now, but the regulations spell this requirement clearly. Travelers must show they have at least $100, but those coming to Costa Rica must show they have $1,000, the regulations say. That amount can be changed every year.

The money can be in cash, bank accounts, travelers checks or be invested in a pre-paid tourism trip, according to the rules.

The regulations seem to favor medical tourism. There are special ways in which non-residents can extend a stay if they are a medical patient.

The document also supports the immigration law that does not let those with 90-day visits extend them while still in the country. This was a key argument for the immigration law because foreigners here believed they could visit the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería, pay $100
and get 90 more days to be in the country legally.

$100 was cheaper than a trip to Nicaragua to renew a visa.

Most tourists from First World countries get a 90-day visit when they arrive in Costa Rica. Under the law and now also the regulations these visitors cannot renew their visa while inside the country. In fact, someone from such a country who might be granted a lesser amount of days upon arrival can only extend the visit for the full 90 days.

Some expats theorized that they could ask for an 80-day visa from an immigration clerk and then pay money and get 90 more days administratively. That is not the case.

The regulations do not include any of the draconian measures that perpetual tourists fear. The former immigration director spoke about requiring tourists to stay out of the county for 10 days before renewing a visa or having them go to different countries in order to return legally to Costa Rica. A quick reading of the 366 pages did not show any such rules.

The regulations were well hidden in the Friday La Gaceta. A reader managed to find them after the official newspaper’s Web site came to life Monday morning.

The file is HERE!

The public has until Feb. 10 to comment on the regulations. A special e-mail address has been created for suggestions. It is

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