Updated 3 years ago

Find, in this article, some information regarding the conditions and formalities related to traveling to Costa Rica.

Like most countries worldwide, Costa Rica has also set a series of conditions and formalities to be filled in so that foreigners can travel there. These are rather simple, provided you know where to start from. In fact, formalities will generally depend on the length and purpose of your stay in the country of “¡Pura Vida!”. Moreover, the passport, which must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled departure date, is a compulsory document.


Nationals of the following countries holding a valid passport are allowed to make a maximum of 90 days stay in the country without having to obtain a visa:

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

Nationals of the following countries holding a valid passport are exempted from the visa requirement for a maximum of 30 days stay in Costa Rica:

Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bolivia, Dominica, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Kiribati, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Maldives, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Suriname, Tonga, Tuvalu, Turkey, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

However, once they have to request an extension of stay from the Immigration office in case they wish to stay for up to 90 days.

Finally, nationals of countries which are not listed above are required to apply for a visa at the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate to their place of residence in their home country before traveling.

To make a one year stay in Costa Rica, you will be entitled to a six months visa which is renewable for another six months. Find more information in the article Visas for Costa Rica.

 Good to know:

A foreigner traveling with a minor child has to produce a notarized consent letter written by the absent parent.

Extension of stay

The request for an extension of stay has to be made before the first visa's expiry date at the Directorate General of Immigration. Alternatively, you can leave Costa Rica (for a maximum of 72 hours minimum) so as to get a new stamp. For instance, you can travel to Panama or Nicaragua.


In case your stay exceeds the minimum allowed and you wish to renew your visa, make sure to inquire on the fees that apply with the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in your home country. In general, these vary from one country to another.

In general, you are required to pay a departure tax of US$ 27 (or an equal amount in Colones) in person on leaving the country through the Costa Rica International Airport. This tax can be paid either by card or in cash.


The absence of a visa stamp on a passport is liable to imprisonment and repatriation.


Before traveling to Costa Rica, nationals of the following countries have to be vaccinated against yellow fever and produce a vaccination certificate on their arrival:

Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela, Peru, the Republic of Guyana.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Formalities in Costa Rica Forum
Migration Department www.migracion.go.cr
Embassy of Costa Rica in the US www.costarica-embassy.org
Embassy of Costa Rica in Canada www.costaricaembassy.com
Government of UK – Travel advice www.gov.uk

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.