The government has increased the length of a consular visa for Nicaraguans from 30 days to 90 days.
The change is effective next Monday, according to a message Friday from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.
The reason for the change was not explained in detail except that the message said the increase in the length of the legal stay was a result of weeks of discussion among officials.
The action is seen as a friendly overture to Nicaraguans. The action also reduced the workload of Costa Rican officials in Nicaragua. The action has to be seen also as an effort in parallel with a $100 fine for overstaying a visa for a month. The Nicaraguans were primary targets of such fines.
Oct. 1 is the first day that a fine will be collected. Clearly the government was thinking of thousands of Nicaraguans who had to return home to obtain another visa.
The Nicaraguan workforce is vital to the economy. They are the bulk of domestic and construction workers.
Since last Dec. 11 through the end of last week the consulate in Managua has issued 130,651 visas, immigration reported. In addition, some 32,000 visas were issued in Chinandega and 10,000 more to Nicaraguans in Panamá, the agency said.
The agency said that the new rule would save Nicaraguans here significant amounts of money because they would not have to return home every 30 days to renew their visas. Nicaraguans send home from Costa Rica about $282 million to families at home each year. The immigration agency said that these funds contribute to the social peace in Nicaragua.