Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Costa Rica since 2008. In 2021, Costa Rica continued to demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the judicial authorities failed to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 67 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. Costa Rica was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2011-2016, 2020, and 2021 Annual Reports.
Initial Inquiries: In 2021, the Department received two initial inquiries from parents regarding a possible abduction to Costa Rica for which no completed applications were submitted to the Department.
Significant developments: Costa Rica's Supreme Court, with the support of the Department and U.S. Embassy San Jose, successfully hosted a series of virtual seminars on Convention best practices. The seminars brought together Costa Rican Supreme Court judges, Department representatives, as well as legal experts and judges from Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and the United States. Presenters offered legal analyses to raise awareness of the Convention and its core governing principles, and shared best practices for implementing Convention protocols. In September 2021, the Department organized an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) for members of Costa Rica's judicial and legal community. The IVLP focused on how Convention issues are approached in the U.S. legal system.
Central Authority: The U.S. and the Costa Rican Central Authorities have a productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.
Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. On average, it took less than one month to locate a child. As of December 31, 2021, there was one case in which the Costa Rican authorities remained unable to locate one child, representing 50 percent of unresolved cases for 2021.
Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Costa Rican judicial authorities in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases have been pending with the judiciary for over one year, contributing to a pattern of noncompliance.
Enforcement: The United States is not aware of any abduction cases in which a judicial order relating to international parental child abduction needed to be enforced by the Costa Rican authorities.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with Costa Rican authorities to address issues of concern.