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Cablegate: Costa Rica Tightens Previously-Loosened Visa

VZCZCXYZ0024
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #1837 2841617
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111617Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9021
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0139
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI PRIORITY 0081

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 001837

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN, EAP/CM AND CA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CS CVIS PGOV PINR PREL
SUBJECT: COSTA RICA TIGHTENS PREVIOUSLY-LOOSENED VISA
REQUIREMENT FOR CHINESE BUSINESSMEN

REF: SAN JOSE 1783 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) On October 4, GOCR Immigration Director Mario Zamora
told us that the previously-eased visa requirements for
Chinese businessmen seeking to travel to Costa Rica had been
discontinued. Zamora explained that due to GOCR concern that
proving "businessman" status would be a relatively easy task
that would invite fraud, the Immigration Department decided
to eliminate the "businessman" privilege.

2. (SBU) This places most Chinese visa applicants back in
category 4, the toughest Costa Rican visa category, which
requires permission from Immigration to issue a visa.
Chinese travelers with valid US or EU visas, would continue
to be admitted under the lighter category 2 requirements,
which permit entry into Costa Rica, visa-free, for up to 30
days. Zamora said the GOCR remains concerned that illegal
travelers may obtain fraudulent US or EU visas to enter Costa
Rica and then continue their trek to the US from here.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: This is a step in the right direction.
The "businessman" clause allowed for easy forgery of
documentary evidence and placed the GOCR at a disadvantage.
In fact, our Consular Section already received one patently
fraudulent letter from an alleged Chinese labor syndicate
inviting Costa Ricans to visit China via the US. Had the
businessman rule not been reversed, we might have seen many
more such attempts. Despite the warmth surrounding the
establishment of Costa Rican-Chinese relations, Zamora, who
remains a staunch and honest advocate of proper immigration
protection, was able to push back to address this concern.
BRENNAN

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