Virginia, US

Jun 14 2019

Concessions for Venezuelan Nationals Forthcoming

Costa Rica, Venezuela

At a Glance

The Costa Rican General Immigration Directorate has introduced concessions for Venezuelan nationals applying for a visa or residence in Costa Rica, to take effect on June 27, 2019. Key concessions include:

  • Venezuelan nationals in the country legally will be able to file an application with an expired passport;
  • Venezuelan nationals will be able to use apostilled birth certificates issued at any time, instead of the requirement to have them issued within six months of the visa or residence application;
  • Venezuelan nationals will be able to use apostilled police clearance certificates up to one year after their issuance, instead of the previous six-month validity;
  • Venezuelan nationals will not need to apostille digital police clearance certificates and will be able to instead certify them through a Venezuelan consular post in Costa Rica; and
  • Venezuelan nationals will be exempt from the post-arrival consular registration requirement.

 

Additionally, also effective June 27, 2019, Venezuelan nationals will be authorized to enter Costa Rica with a Venezuelan passport valid for at least one day at the time of entry, instead of the current three-month validity requirement.


The situation

The Costa Rican General Immigration Directorate has introduced several directives to be implemented on June 27, 2019 that will relax regularization and entry requirements for Venezuelan nationals.

A closer look

  • Regularization of immigration status. Venezuelan nationals will benefit from the following new rules when applying for visas or temporary residence in Costa Rica:
    • Authorization to file an application with an expired passport, if immigration authorities can verify in their system that the foreign national is in the country legally;
    • Ability to use birth certificates issued at any time, instead of the requirement to have them issued within six months of the visa or residence application;
    • Ability to use apostilled police clearance certificates up to one year after their issuance, instead of the previous six-month validity;
    • Ability to use non-apostilled digital police clearance certificates, certified by the corresponding Venezuelan consular post in Costa Rica, where currently only apostilled certificates are accepted; and
    • Exemption from the post-arrival registration requirement at the Venezuelan Embassy in Costa Rica.
    • Main impact. These changes should reduce the overall visa or residence process by two to three months or more. Importantly, the changes will allow many Venezuelan nationals to obtain legal status in Costa Rica whereas before they were not able to enter or remain in Costa Rica due to the above existing documentary restrictions.
  • Shorter passport validity period. Also effective June 27, 2019, Venezuelan nationals will be authorized to enter Costa Rica with a Venezuelan passport valid for at least one day at the time of entry, instead of the current three-month validity requirement. Other requirements, such as the requirement to carry at least USD 100 for every month of legal residence in the country and a return ticket to their place of origin or next travel destination, still apply. Additionally, Venezuelan nationals continue to be eligible for visa-exempt status for entry to Costa Rica.
    • Impact. More Venezuelan nationals should be able to enter Costa Rica and regularize their status, also allowing Costa Rican employers to hire more Venezuelan nationals.

 

Background

  • Pulling back concessions. Although countries like Peru have eliminated some concessions due to problems handling the high influx, Costa Rica is continuing to take measures to alleviate the challenges faced by Venezuelan nationals in maintaining legal status in countries outside Venezuela. Some of the challenges are due to current significant delays in obtaining and renewing Venezuelan passports, and in obtaining document apostille in Venezuela.

Looking ahead

Solutions for issues surrounding the high influx of Venezuelan nationals into Latin American countries continue to be fluid and governments are changing their approaches and practices regularly. Fragomen will report on relevant developments as they occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to lar@fragomen.com.