The creation of a new figure in the country’s immigration law for students, teachers and researchers from abroad seeks to promote educational tourism in Costa Rica. And it is that the arrivals of foreign visitors for reasons of education and vocational training had a growth between 2015 and 2019, according to the information collected by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) in the main national airports.
The proposal intends that students, professors and researchers can reside temporarily and legally in the country to be able to comply with educational or research projects, and that they can also generate an impact on the national economic reactivation.
“This project creates a new category of students, teachers and researchers, so that they can access a permit to stay in the country and obtain temporary residence to carry out their activities more quickly and easily,” said Montserrat Ruiz, National Liberation deputy who promotes the initiative.
The consumption of a wide range of services derived from education, such as educational tours, lodging and courses in different areas, is part of the benefits that the country would have with the project, according to the deputy.
A period of stay of more than 200 days and up to two years, extendable, is one of the modifications proposed in the project “Law for the promotion, attraction and stay of foreign students, teachers and researchers”.
“This translates into a greater export of services, a contribution to economic reactivation, and people who come to Costa Rica to develop consumption, knowledge, and investment activities. We continue working to create better opportunities and generate greater well-being in our economy,” added Ruiz.
On the increase
The number of foreigners who came to the country for issues related to education or research went from 19,000 in 2015 to almost 77,000 in 2019, according to ICT records.
These temporary residents will be exempt from paying $25 for the use of immigration services related to their regularization in the country, as well as each time they renew their stay, according to the bill.
This tourism niche is one of the four main reasons why foreigners come to the country, only surpassed by leisure, health and business trips, according to the Banco de Costa Rica Tourism Satellite Account.
The United States is the main source market for visitors who come to the country to study or carry out research, driven by the presence of educational centers of international excellence such as INCAE and Texas Tech University.
The University of Costa Rica, the National University and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, as well as private universities, are options that also represent an attraction for students who decide to visit the national territory.