Virginia, US

Oct 19 2020

Electronic Platform Launched for Immigration Applications

Costa Rica

At a Glance

  • The General Immigration Directorate (DGME) has introduced an electronic platform on which foreign nationals in Costa Rica can file initial immigration applications and submit electronic copies of their application documents without a personal appearance.
  • The DGME is rolling out the platform in phases, with a limited number of application types already eligible for the system.
  • The new online process is expected to reduce the overall processing time for eligible applications.

The situation

The General Immigration Directorate (DGME) in Costa Rica launched an electronic platform (called TramiteYa!) on which foreign nationals can file certain immigration applications and submit electronic copies of their application documents without a personal appearance at the DGME.

A closer look

  • Phased roll out. Currently, only certain visa applicants can use the system, such as those applying for residence based on kinship, certain special category visas and domestic employee visas, among others. The DGME will roll out additional application types in phases, with the next phase expected in the next couple of weeks (and which, according to the DGME, may include accredited-company residence applications).
  • Eligibility. Only foreign nationals in Costa Rica without pending visa or permit applications can submit applications online when their application type is available. The cost to use the platform is USD 11.
  • In-person application option remains. Foreign nationals who do not wish to or are not yet eligible to submit their applications online can request an appointment by phone or online. The DGME will schedule appointments after November 30 when it reopens (it is currently closed due to COVID-19).

 

Impact

Foreign nationals who file their immigration applications on the new online system will not need to appear before immigration officials (including to submit biometrics or register with their home consulate, as is required when submitting applications in person).

Immediately upon approval of an application, the DGME will issue an approval resolution digitally (whereas for in-person applications, the DGME can take months after approval to issue the resolution and the foreign national or an authorized third party must retrieve it in person).

Processing may be delayed during the initial stages of implementation of the new system.

Background

In March 2020, the DGME closed for most in-person services and suspended submission of all initial immigration applications authorizing work and residence in Costa Rica. The closures have been extended several times, currently until November 30, 2020.

The DGME is implementing the new online process (the first online system for immigration processing in Costa Rica) to allow foreign nationals in Costa Rica to regularize their status, to minimize person-to person contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to alleviate administrative hurdles and backlogs caused by the closures.  

Looking ahead

Immigration processing for the eligible application types is expected to remain digital when COVID-19 concerns subside. This is one of the several online systems created during COVID-19 that will remain in place after COVID-19, along with Peru, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The Costa Rican government will continue introducing policies to streamline immigration and other administrative processes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, alleviate administrative hurdles and backlogs, and remain competitive to attract foreign talent.

Access Fragomen’s dedicated COVID-19 website for more information on similar online systems, travel restrictions and other COVID-19-related policies.

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 [email protected].