Visas

The visa is the expectation of the right of entry to Costa Rica since the person granted must comply with immigration control at the border, port or airport when entering the country. The granting of a visa is not a guarantee of entry to the Costa Rican territory.

Through the General Guideline for Entry Visas for Non-Residents available at: http://www.migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas.html, Costa Rican regulations divide nationalities into two large groups, divided at the same time into two subgroups. The first group locates those nationalities that do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica, and in the second group, those who do require a visa, whether consular or restricted.

First, review the Guideline to determine if the visa is required. If required, review in the same Guideline the Exceptions for entering Costa Rica and verify if the exemptions apply to the visa requirement, such as, for example, having a multiple entry visa to the United States of America, type B1-B2, D or C1/D.

The visa requirements are those established at the corresponding act and per the current visa guideline.

As mentioned before, the visa is an expectation of a right, does not imply the unconditional admission of the foreign person to the country. The type of visa that the person must apply for is established in the Guidelines for Entry Visas for Non-Residents. The Regulation for the granting of entry visas to Costa Rica (Decree No. 36626-G) indicates four groups*:

Group 1: Admission without a visa:

Passport’s minimum expiration date up to one day and a maximum stay of up to 90 calendar days not extendable.

Nationals of the following countries or territories do NOT need a visa to enter Costa Rica. They can remain in the country for a maximum of 90 days:

Andorra Ireland Puerto Rico
Argentina Iceland Qatar
Australia Israel Rumania
Austria Italy San Marino
Bahamas Japan Serbia
Barbados Latvia Singapore
Belgium Liechtenstein Slovakia
Brazil Lithuania Slovenia
Bulgaria Luxembourg South Africa
Canada Malta South Korea
Chile Mexico Spain
Croatia Monaco Sweden
Cyprus Montenegro Switzerland
Czech Republic The Netherlands Trinidad y Tobago
Denmark New Zealand United Arab Emirates
Estonia Norway United Kingdom
Finland  Panama United States of America
France  Paraguay Uruguay
Germany  Peru Vatican City
Greece Poland
Hungary Portugal

Group 2: Admission without a visa:

Passport expiration date up to three months and a maximum stay of up to 90 calendar days not extendable.

Nationals of the following countries do NOT need a visa to enter Costa Rica. They can remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days:

Antigua y Barbuda Marshall Islands Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Belize Salomon Islands Saint Lucia
Bolivia Kazakhstan Sao Tomé and Príncipe
Brunei – Darussalam Kiribati Seychelles
Dominica Malaysia Suriname
El Salvador Maldives Taiwan
Filipinas Mauritius Tonga
Fiji Micronesia Turkey
Granada Nauru Tuvalu
Guatemala Palau Ukraine
Guyana Russia Vanuatu
Honduras Samoa Venezuela
Northern Mariana Islands Saint Kitts and Nevis

Group 3: Entry with consular visa:

Visa’s validity up to 60 days to enter Costa Rica (after being stamped on the passport, valid for a single entry), minimum passport validity of 6 months and maximum permanence up to 30 calendar days, extendable up to 90 calendar days.

Nationals of the following countries or regions DO need a consular visa to enter Costa Rica and can remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days:

Albania Democratic Republic of the Congo Lebanon Republic of the Congo
Algeria Djibouti Lesotho Rwanda
Angola Domican Republic Liberia Saharawi Arab Republic
Armenia East Timor Libya Saudi Arabia
Azerbaijan Ecuador Macedonia Senegal
Bahrain Egypt Madagascar Sierra Leone
Belarus Equatorial Guinea Malawi South Sudan
Benin Gabon Mali Sudan
Bhutan Gambia Mauritania Swaziland
Bosnia and Herzegovina Georgia Moldova Tajikistan
Botswana Ghana Mongolia Tanzania
Burkina Faso Guinea Morocco Thailand
Burundi, Kosovo Guinea Bissau Mozambique Togo
Cambodia India Namibia Tunisia
Cameroon Indonesia Nepal Turkmenistan
Cape Verde Ivory Coast Nicaragua Uganda
Central African Republic Jordan Niger Uzbekistan
Chad Kenya Nigeria Vietnam
China Kuwait Oman Yemen
Colombia Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Zambia
Comoros Laos Papua New Guinea Zimbabwe

Exceptions: Nationals of the previous countries which hold a tourist visa, crew visa or business visa to the United States and Canada, stamped in their passport, with a minimum validity of three months upon entering Costa Rica, do not need a consular visa to enter Costa Rica and can remain in the country for a maximum period of 30 days. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entering Costa Rica.

The only visas that can be used as exceptions to enter Costa Rica are the visas to the United States of America (exclusively type B1-B2, type D or C1/D of multiple entries) or visa to enter Canada (multiple entries). In addition, visas must be non-expired and may not be longer than the term of visit in Costa Rica nor exceed 30 days.

Nationals of the previous countries with a legal status (residence, work permit, study permit) minimum of six months in the United States of America, Canada, and the European Union countries do not require a consular visa to enter Costa Rica. They can remain in the country for a maximum period of 30 days. The passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of entering Costa Rica.

If the two exceptions described above do not apply and would like to know the requirements to apply for a consular visa, please send an email to: concr-ke@rree.go.cr

Group 4: Entry with restricted visa:

Visa’s validity up to 60 days to enter Costa Rica (from the stamp of the passport, valid for a single entry), minimum passport’s validity of 6 months and maximum permanence up to 30 calendar days, extendable up to 90 calendar days, after consulting the visa commission.

Nationals of the following countries must apply for a restricted visa:

Afghanistan Haiti North Korea
Bangladesh Iran Palestine
Cuba Iraq Somalia
Eritrea Jamaica Sri Lanka
Ethiopia Myanmar Syria

If a national of one of these countries and wishing to go to Costa Rica, please request more information by email: concr-ke@rree.go.cr

General requirements for entering Costa Rica:

1. Travel continuity ticket or return to the country of origin.

2. Demonstration of economic solvency, which corresponds to USD 100.00 for each month of permanence in Costa Rica (see document demonstrating economic solvency).

3. Passport in good condition. The minimum validity must be according to the Costa Rican Legislation.

4. The guidelines indicated by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica.

Vaccination against yellow fever

Before entering Costa Rica, any person who has remained in countries at risk must vaccinate against yellow fever, verified by the “International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever”, which is valid from 10 days after vaccination.

In their trajectory to Costa Rica, people who have been in transit through countries at risk, in airports, ports, and inter-border posts in countries of risk are exempted from the yellow fever vaccination requirement.

Are also exempted from the vaccination requirement the people who, having been in countries considered at risk before entering the national territory, have remained for at least six days in a country that is not at risk and have not developed a fever in that period.

The countries at risk are:

In Africa:

Angola Gabon Republic of Congo
Benin Gambia Sao Tome and Principe
Burkina Faso Ghana Senegal
Burundi Guinea Sierra Leone
Cameroon Ivory Coast Somalia
Central African Republic Kenya South Sudan
Chad Liberia Sudan
Democratic Republic of Congo Mali Tanzania
Equatorial Guinea Mauritania Togo
Eritrea Niger Uganda
Ethiopia Nigeria Zambia

In America:

Bolivia French Guyana
Brazil Peru
Colombia Trinidad and Tobago
Ecuador Venezuela

Institutional link: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Paginas/Visas.aspx

Consular Visa

Application: Group 3.

Appointment: Please send an email to: concr-ke@rree.go.cr

Cost: As established by the Arancel Consular.

Approximate duration: The Consul has 30 calendar days to resolve the visa application once all the requirements delivered.

Requirements:

1. Request addressed to the Consul of Costa Rica that includes: Full name and surname, nationality, passport number, place of residence, the reason for the trip, expected time of stay in Costa Rica, place and approximate date of arrival and departure of the country, profession or trade, exact address of the place where he will remain in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the interested party, fax to receive notifications, date and signature.

2. Passport or travel document, valid with an expiration date not less than six months and a full copy of all the passport pages.

3. Tentative reservation of the ticket, ticket or return ticket or continuation of the trip.

4. Proof of the economic means for their subsistence during their stay in the country.

5. Provide a valid criminal record. If in another language, provide a proper translation into the Spanish language.

6. The Consul may request, if necessary, any additional documents issued in the country of origin of the applicant when their presence is essential for the analysis in the granting of the visa. If the Consul has any doubt about the documents presented, may request clarification and may also request a personal interview with the applicant.

7. Proof of deposit of the consular fee.

Institutional link: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Documentos%20compartidos/Visas/Visa%20Consular.pdf

Restricted Visa

Application: Group 4.

Appointment: Please send an email to concr-ke@rree.go.cr

Cost: As established by the consular tariff “Aranceles Consulares.”

Approximate duration: Once all the requirements are submitted, the Consul sends them to the Restricted Visa and Refugee Commission of the General Migration Office of Costa Rica. The process will take at least six weeks but will depend on several factors. The process can take up to 3 months.

Requirements:

1.    A request addressed to the Commission on Restricted Visas, signed by the applicant, the applicant’s relatives residing in Costa Rica or the applicant’s attorney, indicating their qualities and the relationship to the applicant as we as the applicant’s: Full name and surname, nationality, profession or trade, specify the reason for the visit, estimated length of time of stay in Costa Rica, exact address intended in Costa Rica and telephone, approximate date of arrival and departure, the relationship of kinship with the requested foreign person, fax to notify response to the visa application, date and signature (the request must be signed before a competent public official or authenticate the request by a public notary, providing the corresponding stamps). In addition, it must indicate the Costa Rican consulate to receive the visa authorization is approved. If there is no consulate in the country where the foreign person is, the response will be sent to the closest consular office.
2.    Passport or travel document, valid with an expiration date not less than six months. In addition, a copy of the entirety, legalized or apostilled, and duly translated into Spanish.
3.    Copy of the identity document of the person requesting the foreign person, who must be confronted with an official, or failing that, an authenticated copy of the document.
4.   Proof of economic means for their subsistence during their stay in the country.
5.    Certification of criminal records from the country of origin duly legalized and translated into Spanish.
6.   Certification issued by the competent authority of the country of origin of the requested person, demonstrating the link between the requesting the link between the visa applicant and the person who wishes to enter Costa Rica.
7.    Marital status certificate issued by the country of origin, legalized or apostilled and translated if applicable.

Institutional link: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Documentos%20compartidos/Visas/Visa%20Restringida.pdf

Consulted Visa

Application: Foreigners who require a consular visa (group 3) to enter Costa Rica, who submit an application to an Honorary Consul or who, for special reasons, must be authorized by the General Migration Office of Costa Rica.

Appointment: Please send an email to concr-ke@rree.go.cr

Cost: As established by the consular tariff.

Approximate duration: Once all the requirements are submitted, the Consul sends them to the Restricted Visa and Refugee Commission of the General Migration Office of Costa Rica. The process will take at least six weeks but will depend on several factors. The process can take up to 3 months.

Requirements:

1. Request addressed to the Consul of Costa Rica that includes: Full name and surname, nationality, passport number, place of residence, the reason for the trip, expected time of stay in Costa Rica, place and approximate date of arrival and departure of the country, profession or trade, exact address of the place where he will remain in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the interested party, fax to receive notifications, date and signature.

2. Passport or travel document, valid with an expiration date not less than six months. In addition, a copy of all its pages.

3. Tentative reservation of the ticket, ticket or return ticket or continuation of the trip.

4. Proof of the economic means for their subsistence during their stay in the country.

5. Provide a valid criminal record. If in another language, provide a proper translation into the Spanish language.

6. Birth certificate, duly legalized or apostilled and translated into Spanish.

7. The Consul may request, if necessary, any additional documents issued in the country of origin of the applicant when their presence is essential for the analysis in the granting of the visa. If the Consul has any doubt about the documents presented, he/she may request clarification and may also request a personal interview with the applicant.

Institutional link: http://www.trundialmigratorio.go.cr/Normativa/Reglamentos/Reglamento%20para%20el%20otorgamiento%20de%20visas%20de%20ingreso%20a%20Costa%20Rica.pdf

Provisional Visas for Religious people and their dependents

Application: Applies for any foreign person of any nationality (except those found in countries of group 4) to enter Costa Rica as a religious person.

The required visa within sixty days, from the respective notification to the applicant or his representative, is valid to enter the country only once.

Appointment: Please send an email to concr-ke@rree.go.cr. There are consulates with digital system enabled and others that have physical documents presentation. The Consulate in Nairobi has not yet enabled the digital system.

Cost: As established by the consular tariff “Aranceles Consulares“.

Approximate duration: Once all the requirements are delivered, the Consul has 30 calendar days to resolve the visa application.

Requirements:
1. Application for a provisional temporary residence visa as a religious person, including full name and surname, nationality, passport number, place of residence, profession or trade, the exact address in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the interested party, fax to receive notifications, date and signature.

2. Original birth certificate of the person requesting the visa.

3. Criminal record certificate of the foreign person requesting the visa. If in a different language, it must have a translation into Spanish.

4. Passport or travel document, valid with an expiration date not less than six months. In addition, a copy of all of it.

5. Letter from the religious congregation to which the foreign person belongs, indicating the work and the period for which he will remain in Costa Rica.

6. Verification of economic means for their subsistence during their stay in the country.

7. Certification issued by the Department of Worship indicating the religious congregation’s registry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.

8. The Consul may request, if necessary, additional documents issued at the country of origin of the applicant when their presence is essential for the analysis in the granting of the visa.

9. Proof of payment of the consular fee

Institutional link: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Documentos%20compartidos/Visas/Visa%20Provisional%20Religioso%20y%20Dependiente.pdf

Provisional Visas for Permanent or Temporary Residents

Application: Foreigns who wish to enter to apply for permanent or temporary residence for having the first-degree link with Costa Rica, as stipulated in article 78 subsection 2) and article 79 subsection 1) of Law 8764, may apply at the consulates of Costa Rica or before the General Migration Office, for a provisional, permanent or temporary resident visa. The visa must be used within sixty days, from the respective notification to the applicant or his/her representative, and is valid to enter the country only once.

Appointment: Please send an email to concr-ke@rree.go.cr. There are consulates with digital system enabled and others that have physical documents presentation. The Consulate in Nairobi has not yet enabled the digital system.

Cost: As established by the consular tariff “Aranceles Consulares“.

Approximate duration: When all the requirements are delivered, the Consul has 30 calendar days to resolve the visa application.

Requirements:

1. Application addressed to the Consul of Costa Rica, which includes: full name and surname, nationality, passport number, place of residence, the reason for the trip (must indicate that it is a visa application as a provisional resident), expected time of permanence in Costa Rica, place and approximate date of arrival in the country, profession or trade, the exact address of the place where they will remain in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the interested party, fax to receive notifications, date and signature.

2. Provide a valid criminal record. If in another language, must provide a proper translation into the Spanish language.

3. Passport or travel document, valid with an expiration date not less than six months. In addition, a copy of all of it

4. Provide the certificate of marriage or birth that demonstrates the relationship of the Costa Rican person with the applicant or the birth certificate of the minor resident abroad. The Civil Registry of Costa Rica must issue this.

5. Proof of economic means for their subsistence during their stay in the country.

6. The Consul may request, if necessary, additional documents issued in the country of origin of the applicant when their presence is essential for the analysis in the granting of the visa.

7. Proof of payment of the consular fee.

Institutional link: https://www.migracion.go.cr/Documentos%20compartidos/Visas/Visa%20Provisional%20Residente%20Permanente%20y%20Temporal.pdf