Costa Rica Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa required|
To enter Costa Rica, a passport must be valid on arrival; to be on the safe side visitors should have at least six months left on it, plus plenty of spare pages.
Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days.
Those wishing to stay longer than their allocated time in Costa Rica must leave the country for 72 hours before re-entering.
Business visas are not really issued for Costa Rica. If intending to do business, the normal procedure is to enter on a tourist visa and conduct your business within that time. If you wish to stay longer without leaving the country to renew your visa you can apply for a Business Temporary Residence Permit once you are there.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Costa Rica.
The cost of tourist visas varies according to nationality; check with the consulate.
Provided you have an onward ticket for a flight leaving within 48 hours of your arrival and you do not leave the airport, you do not require a transit visa for Costa Rica.
A temporary residence permit is usually a working visa, and is applied for with numerous pieces of documentation once you are in Costa Rica. It is issued for six months and can then be extended up to a year.
Visas for Costa Rica take approximately four to eight weeks after the documents have been sent to the General Office of Migration in Costa Rica.
Technically visitors are required to be able to prove they have more than US$500 in the bank; in practice, you are unlikely to ever have to show this.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by those coming from a yellow fever country.
The most expedient way to extend your stay in Costa Rica is to leave the country and then get stamped back in to renew your new visa. The easiest way to do this is overland to either Nicaragua or Panama, but bear in mind that you are supposed to leave the country for at least 72 hours and you may be checked on this. Also, Panama has started to get very strict about onward journeys, and will be unimpressed by a declaration that someone is only coming into the country to do a visa run.
If travelling alone with a minor, ensure you have a notarized letter of consent from the absentee parent(s) which gives permission for such travel.
You may bring pets into Costa Rica, but it is a frustrating process. Cats and dogs need the Certificate of Good Health form to prove they have no communicable diseases, and they must have had a rabies vaccination within the last year. You don’t, however, need to quarantine them. The procedure costs several hundred pounds, depending on how you wish to transport your pet.