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Country analysis

Costa Rica


The social, economic, and political instability in Nicaragua has motivated the migration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica. By the end of 2022, approximately 10% of the total population (680,000 people) had emigrated to Costa Rica in the south and to the US in the north.

As at December 2022, the Costa Rican Government had established a new protocol for asylum applications. It states that Nicaraguans can only request protection in person within 30 days of entering the country. At the same time, only 50 quotas per day are granted, which delays the asylum process and hinders people’s access to basic goods and services.

These measures were first taken after the Costa Rican Government announced not having the economic capacity to receive new Nicaraguan migrants. With the imposition of the reform of the refugee status application process in Costa Rica, Nicaraguan migrants are in need of shelter, drinking water, NFIs, medical care, and sanitation kits while they wait to be attended to by the authorities.

Many Nicaraguans stay with relatives in San José, the capital city. The majority live in La Carpio neighbourhood, an overpopulated shantytown of San José. In this area, access to drinking water is scarce, and housing arrangements and WASH facilities, including the sewage system, are inadequate.

Overall priorities revolve around the lack of effective access to documentation, health services, education, and work. There are also reports of small recurring events of xenophobia by the host community

(M&R accessed 18/12/2022, El País 04/02/2023, LP 07/02/2023, LP 16/11/2022, EP 31/01/2023, El Diálogo 04/2022, UN 25/03/2022)

The social, economic, and political instability in Nicaragua has motivated the migration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica. By the end of 2022, approximately 10% of the total population (680,000 people) had emigrated to Costa Rica in the south and to the US in the north.

As at December 2022, the Costa Rican Government had established a new protocol for asylum applications. It states that Nicaraguans can only request protection in person within 30 days of entering the country. At the same time, only 50 quotas per day are granted, which delays the asylum process and hinders people’s access to basic goods and services.

These measures were first taken after the Costa Rican Government announced not having the economic capacity to receive new Nicaraguan migrants. With the imposition of the reform of the refugee status application process in Costa Rica, Nicaraguan migrants are in need of shelter, drinking water, NFIs, medical care, and sanitation kits while they wait to be attended to by the authorities.

Many Nicaraguans stay with relatives in San José, the capital city. The majority live in La Carpio neighbourhood, an overpopulated shantytown of San José. In this area, access to drinking water is scarce, and housing arrangements and WASH facilities, including the sewage system, are inadequate.

Overall priorities revolve around the lack of effective access to documentation, health services, education, and work. There are also reports of small recurring events of xenophobia by the host community

(M&R accessed 18/12/2022, El País 04/02/2023, LP 07/02/2023, LP 16/11/2022, EP 31/01/2023, El Diálogo 04/2022, UN 25/03/2022)

current crises
in Costa Rica


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

CRI002 - Nicaraguan refugees

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.2 Medium

Access constraints

0.0