Costa Rica + 2 more

Costa Rica CBI Fact Sheet June 2022


Costa Rica is host to asylum seekers primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean, and a transit point for others. The last five years the country has experienced an upward trend in the number of asylum applications received because of political unrest and violence in the region. Up to January 2022, the refugee and asylum seeker population reached 172,687. Among the asylum seekers, 90% were Nicaraguans, 4% Venezuelans, 2% Cubans.
Until January 2022, the number of recognized refugees was 10,391.

To address the significant gaps faced by the most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in meeting their basic needs, a multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA) Basic Needs Program is managed by UNHCR under direct implementation.

Costa Rica is in the process of easing its restrictive measures due to the pandemic, therefore, the operation decided to resume on-site deliveries at the Operations office in San Jose and the Field Office in Upala.


  • Beneficiaries are identified during the Registration process through a socioeconomic evaluation.

  • Those who qualify for MPCA receive three months of assistance.

  • The selection criterion is the same for all the country and the amount is calculated based on the family size.

  • The transfer value is different in the GAM than in the North.


  • The Regional Bureau’s CBI and Data, Identity Management and Analysis Unit (DIMA) teams have united under a fourcountry pilot to create a regional needs assessment survey and a targeting toolkit that can be customized for country context and type of assistance provided. The objective is to build a regional assessment that looks at multi-sectoral vulnerabilities. The Costa Rica operation was chosen for the first pilot. An eligibility and target workshop was held, gathering expert consultation for conjoint analysis on prioritized indicators.

  • In line with the global cash policy for the use of CBI as a preferred modality to deliver assistance, the CBI unit is leading a financial service providers market study with the support of the Supply unit to look for alternatives of cash transfers and withdrawals, according to UNHCR programs’ needs, with the purpose of monetizing assistances provided.

  • During the first semester of 2022, CBI and Livelihoods units have been undergoing an external evaluation of the basic needs and livelihoods programs. The purpose is to evaluate the strategic relevance and contribution of both programs to the regional and national objectives during the 2019-2021 period, while providing evidence of UNHCR’s efficiency throughout the implementation.