The government of Costa Rica approved on October 27th the creation of the Special Category of Complementary Temporary Protection, which aims to provide opportunities to stay legally in the country and carry out work activities to foreigners who are denied recognition of the refugee status and who are in a vulnerable condition. The measure, which was announced this Thursday by the government of Costa Rica, will benefit citizens of Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban nationality.
In a document, the government explained that the decision to offer the Special Category of Complementary Temporary Protection responds to its concern over the increase in recent years of people who have been forced to migrate to other countries in the region as a survival mechanism, therefore, many of them, in the absence of legal, regular and safe channels to migrate, resort to clandestine means provided by irregular migration, through risky land and sea routes.
“Costa Rica has registered a considerable increase in applications for refugee status by persons of Venezuelan nationality since 2014. For its part, the political situation in Nicaragua has led to a significant increase in requests for legal permanence by its citizens. Likewise, in the last two years there has been a significant increase in refugee applications submitted by Cubans, who are changing their migratory behavior, seeking to settle in Costa Rica.
However, not all of these people meet all the elements of the definition of a refugee, a percentage of these applications being denied. “This means that there is a population that is in an irregular situation and without the possibility of returning to their country due to the situations that are being experienced in those nations,” the document reads.
The text indicates that the current situation of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba prompted the Costa Rican State to carry out a differentiated approach to the migratory situation of people who, due to their own conditions, will not achieve the recognition of refuge or the authorization of legal stay, but can not leave the national territory, both due to the situation of the Pandemic caused by COVID-19 and because of the precarious situation in their countries of origin.
Requirements to qualify for the Special Protection Category
The granting of this category will be subject to compliance with the following requirements:
a) Form of application for legal permanence in which the qualities of the interested person, their claim and their signature are indicated, which must be stamped in the presence of the Public Official of the General Directorate of Migration and Aliens or duly authenticated by a lawyer or by a Notary Public.
b) Prove of entering and residing regularly and having remained in Costa Rica since before March 18th, 2020. This requirement must be met with one of the following documents:
b1. Assurance before the Costa Rican Social Security Fund. This document must indicate from which date it is insured.
b2. Payment of national or municipal taxes.
b3. Certificates of study in any educational center in the country where it is indicated that the person has been enrolled.
b4. Certificate or other document issued by IMAS stating that you have requested or are a beneficiary of any of the services of that institution. This document must indicate the date on which the benefit was requested or granted.
b5. Proof of any United Nations agency indicating the previous status of refugee applicant.
c) Proof of payment in favor of the government for fiscal stamps (¢ 125 + ¢ 2.50 for each folio) in accordance with the Law for the Financial Balance of the Public Sector No. 6955, of February 24, 1984 and its reforms.
d) Proof of fingerprints issued by the Ministry of Public Security for people over 12 years of age, for which the proof that appears in the refugee file will be used. If it is not included in the refugee file, this requirement will only be required when it is possible to obtain it from the Fingerprint Office of the Ministry of Public Security, due to the closure of those offices as a result of the administrative measures adopted by virtue of COVID-19.
e) Birth certificate of the foreign person issued in the country of origin duly legalized and authenticated, or issued by the consulate of the country of origin of the foreign person. However, in case of material impossibility of presenting any of these certifications, a declaration may be presented in a private document in which the foreign person indicates under oath his name, nationality, place and date of birth and name of his parents. In the latter case, the sworn statement will be included in the form referred to in subsection (a) of this article.
f) Certification of criminal records of the foreign person issued by their country of origin, or by the Consulate of the country of origin of the foreign person, or by the country where they have legally resided the last three years, duly legalized and authenticated. In the latter case, the interested party must also additionally demonstrate the legality of their stay in that country, by means of a certified copy of the immigration document obtained within the indicated period.
g) Photocopy of the first page of the passport of the foreign person, or, failing that, the identity card of their country of origin, where their photograph is recorded, which must be certified either by confronting it with the original before an official of the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration, or by means of an extra protocol act of a Notary Public. Failing that, the identity of the person may be accredited with the refugee applicant document that was issued at the time to manage said migratory category and a sworn statement from the foreign person indicating their full name, date and place of birth, parents’ names and any other related to their identification and affiliation that they consider pertinent.
Costa Rica will accept expired passports of Venezuelans
The request must be submitted to the Refugee Unit of the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration at the headquarters of La Uruca, by prior appointment at the Call Center or the DGME website.
The general processing of applications will be that established by the General Migration Law, as well as that determined by the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration by reason of its powers of administrative self-determination.
Once the resolution of granting authorization of legal stay in the country under the category of complementary protection has been notified, the interested foreign person must appear at the Documentation Sub-process or another office authorized for that purpose, by appointment, with the documents indicated in the following article, to be documented.
After 90 days of notification of the resolution granting the indicated authorization, without the foreign person having attended to fill out their documentation, the process of cancellation of the granted immigration status will begin.
The first documentation of the person who access this migratory category will be made through a migratory accreditation card for which they must provide the following documents:
a) Proof of payment in favor of the government for 25 dollars or its equivalent in colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank, in accordance with article 33 paragraph (4) of the Law.
b) Proof of payment in favor of the government for 10 dollars or its equivalent in colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank, in accordance with article 33 paragraph (5) of the Law, because the validity of the special category will be two years.
c) Proof of payment in favor of the government for 30 dollars or its equivalent in colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank, for the issuance of the document that certifies legal permanence, in accordance with article 252 of the Law.
d) Proof of payment in favor of the government for 30 dollars or its equivalent in colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank, for the issuance of the document that certifies the legal permanence, in accordance with article 253 of the Law.
All deposits must be made in the name of the person who was granted the supplementary protection. In the case of family groups, an individual deposit must be made for each person who was granted this complementary protection.
The Special Category of Complementary Protection may be authorized for biannual periods, and may be renewed for identical periods. However, prior to the renewal of the document, the income and expenses of the foreign person will be verified, in accordance with article 36 of the General Migration Law.
In the event that irregular entry or exit is determined after the granting of this special category, the foreign person must provide to that sub-process or office, document and reliable evidence that justifies the reasons why such movement is not recorded. In case the reasons are not justified, the renewal will not be authorized.
This category will not be authorized, nor will it be renewed, to the foreign person who has served a sentence for a malicious crime in the last 10 years, in Costa Rica or abroad, as long as the crime is recognized as such in our legislation. Neither to one that constitutes a threat to public security and order.
In the event that the foreign person does not carry out the pertinent procedures to renew their special category within the three months following its expiration, according to article 129 paragraph 10 of the General Migration Law, the migratory category will be extinguished for all legal purposes, without the need for any cancellation procedure.
The foreign person who intends to renew their Special Category of Complementary Protection must provide the following:
a) Proof of payment in favor of the government for 38 dollars or its equivalent in colones at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank, for the issuance of the document that certifies the legal permanence, in accordance with article 251 of the Law, being delivered from of the first renewal a Dimex.
b) Current proof of your enrollment in the insurance of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund. Foreign persons who are not direct insured must provide proof of affiliation to the insurance system of the Protection Costa Rican Social Security Fund.