Where to seek help

UNHCR Offices

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides aid to millions of people around the world who have been obligated to leave their country to save their lives. The agency promotes the protection of human rights and helps them to reconstruct their lives. UNHCR came into existence after the Second World War. Today, with a team of approximately 7,685 people in more than 125 countries, it helps around 34 million people around the world. In Costa Rica, UNHCR has an office in San Jose and also has a presence in Neily, close to the border of Panama.

UNHCR Office in San José

How do I reach it by bus?
The buses that bring you close to UNHCR are those which start from the San José Coca Cola centre. These are the buses from Pava which say “Airport,” “Hospital,” and “Boulevard.” Once you reach Boulevard Rohrmoser, get off at the building named “Prisma Dental” and cross the Boulevard.

To send text messages: (506) 8311-5442

Tel: (506) 2296-6800 / (506) 2296-0785
Fax: (506) 2231-3604
100 metres west and 100 metres south from the house of Oscar Arias. Rohrmoser, San José.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Click for location
UNHCR Office on the Southern Border

UNHCR has a small regional office in Neilly (located approximately 20 – 30 minutes from the border). The purpose of this office is to strengthen the protection of those persons who have applied for refugee status and who cross into Costa Rica from this border.

Other Contacts

General Directorate of Migration (DGME)

The General Directorate of Migration (DGME) is a public body responsible for the execution of the migration policies which control the entry and exit of personnel into the national territory, promotes the integration of foreigners into Costa Rican society, and regulates the stay and the activities of these foreign personnel in the country, as well as illegal trade of migrants. The process of applying for refugee status is initiated in this office.

Central offices

How do I reach it?
The buses that go to the DGME start from the north side of the Church of Merced, close to the hospital San Juan de Dios; they are the “Transportes Biusa.” Board the buses which say “Rositer Migración por Pista.”

Call centre: 1311

Tel: (506) 2299-8100
Adjacent to Dirección General de Aviación Civil (General Address of Civil Aviation). Uruca, San José.
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Refuge Sub-process
Tel: (506) 2299-8030 / (506) 2299-8100
Located in the Central Office of DGME.
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Regional Office of Peñas Blancas
Tel: (506) 2677-0053 / (506) 2677-00 64 / (506) 2677-0230
Cantón de la Cruz, at the border with Nicaragua.
Regional Delegation of Paso Canoas
Tel: (506) 2299-8007/ (506) 2732-2150
In the office of the Director General of Customs at the border with Panama. Cantón de Corredores, Puntarenas.
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Juan Santamaría International Airport
Tel: (506) 2299-8001 / (506) 2440-0504
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Regional Office of Sixaola
Tel: (506) 2754-2044
50 metres from the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Cantón de Bribrí, district Sixaola, Limón.
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Association of International Consultants and Advisors

The Association of International Consultants and Advisors (ACAI) is a Costa Rican non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1991. ACAI is a partner which executes the programs of UNHCR in Costa Rica. ACAI counts on interdisciplinary services in order to monitor the protection of refugees and asylum seekers living in the country and also helps in their integration. It offers legal aid, psycho-social aid, guidance for job-hunting, and humanitarian assistance among other supports. All of its services are free of cost.

ACAI Office in San José

How do I reach it by bus?
ACAI is located close to Torre Mercedes, a central location through which many buses pass. If you are in downtown San José, you can take the buses from Sabana Cemetery or from the Sabana Stadium, which leave from Central Park to the Colón promenade. The buses coming from Alajuela and Heredia also pass through Torre Mercedes. The buses “Biusa” which come from the Migration Office pass through Colón Promenade, same as the buses which say “Periférica.”

Toll-free Line: 800-800-ACAI (800-800-2224)
To send text messages: (506) 8593-0249

Tel: (506) 2233-3314
Avenue 2 and 4, 24th Street or 150 metres south of the Torre Mercedes building on the Colón promenade (Paseo Colón).
Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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RET International

RET International is an international non-governmental organization (NGO). Its office in Costa Rica focuses on the promotion and execution of human rights of refugees and also of those who have applied for refugee status. This is done via various educative and strategic mediums, specially focusing on comprehensive development, which benefits youth in particular and their families.

RET International

How do I reach it by bus?
Take the buses that go to San Pedro and/or have a stop in front of Mall San Pedro. Get off in the stop before "Fuente de la Hispanidad" (Hispanidad Fountain) and walk towards "Pequeño Mundo" store.

Tel: (506) 2234-2523 / (506) 2234-2806 / (506) 4035-6913 | Mensajes SMS o Whatsapp: (506) 8418-9646
From "Pequeño Mundo" store in San Pedro 4 blocks South, 1 block East and 25 meters South. Los Yoses, San José.
Open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
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