Who is a refugee?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country due to persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, political opinion or gender. Refugees have been victims of serious human rights violations in situations of violence and conflict. They have arrived in Costa Rica looking for the protection they did not receive in their own country. The Costa Rican government is responsible for evaluating cases and determining who will be recognized as a refugee.

Each country sets its own mechanism to determine if a person is a refugee or not.
In Costa Rica, it is set forth in accordance with the General Law on Migration and Aliens No. 8764, which designates the Visas and Refuge Commission as the body responsible for deciding on an application for refugee status. The procedure is also governed by Refugee Regulation Decree N.º 36,831 -G of November 2011.

The Visas and Refugee Commission is comprised of a representative from each of the following government bodies: the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.

The procedure is completely confidential, which means that the information you share with the immigration authorities is for the exclusive use of the institution and will not be shared with external people nor with authorities of your country. In addition, this procedure is personal and free. There is no need for the intervention of any intermediaries.