Costa Rica: (a) Information on whether an individual in possession of an expired "Refugee Travel Document" is considered a refugee in Costa Rica; (b) can the travel document be renewed at a Costa Rican consulate
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 November 1991|
|Citation / Document Symbol||CRI9669|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Costa Rica: (a) Information on whether an individual in possession of an expired "Refugee Travel Document" is considered a refugee in Costa Rica; (b) can the travel document be renewed at a Costa Rican consulate, 1 November 1991, CRI9669, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6acc332.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
According to an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) branch office in San Jose, Costa Rica, Costa Rican authorities issue travel documents to refugees in accordance with the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (6 Nov. 1991). The interested refugee must submit an application to the Ministry of the Interior which in turn forwards the application to the Migration Department (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería) (Ibid.). The travel document is issued by the passport division of the Migration Department (Ibid.). The individual's exit must be authorized with the issuance of an exit visa (Ibid.).
Before the travel document is issued, the individual can specify the validity period necessary (Ibid.). The validity period of a standard travel document is one year (Ibid.).
The source consulted was not aware of any case in which an individual was no longer considered a refugee by the Costa Rican authorities upon returning to Costa Rica with an expired travel document (Ibid.). A refugee in Costa Rica who travels abroad with a travel document issued by the Costa Rican authorities can return and maintain refugee status (Ibid.).
The travel document issued to refugees can only be renewed by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería in Costa Rica (Ibid.).
According to an official of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Ottawa, the travel document in question would continue to be valid even after the expiry date if the individual, before departing, obtains a re-entry visa (as well as an exit visa) (7 Nov. 1991). Refugee status will be recognized if the individual returns with both of the above-mentioned visas (Ibid.). The Embassy of Costa Rica normally does not renew the refugee travel document (Ibid.).
Further information on the subject could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.
UNHCR, San Jose, Costa Rica. 6 November 1991. Telephone Interview with Official.
Embassy of Costa Rica, Ottawa. 7 November 1991. Telephone Interview with Official.