Costa Rica – Work Permit Applications Delayed

The current processing time of work permit applications is 40 days, however, has been increased by four weeks due to staffing shortages at the Migration Bureau.  There are 20,000 pending cases at the Migration Bureau.  Even once a case is adjudicated, the applicant may have to wait up to 3 months for an appointment to apply for a residency card, and may take 15 days to receive it.

However, work permit renewal applications have not been effected.  Appointments are currently available within 5-10 days, receiving the residency card within 2 weeks.

The timeframes stipulated by law a rarely accurate.  For example, for temporary workers, the expected processing time is 2 weeks, stipulated by law, though in reality, can take more than 6 weeks.  Business executives applying at an unaccredited company have processing times up to 12-52 weeks.  Once companies that are not recognized enter consultation with the Ministry of Labour, they must justify why they are hiring from abroad and must meet a quota of immigration staff.

Immigrants in Costa Rica account for 12% (385,899) of the population of the country.  Of the immigrant population, 60% develop productive work, such as managers, vendors, technicians, and professionals.