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Visas for Costa Rica

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Do you need a visa to travel to Costa Rica? What are the types of visas available? Find out in this article.

Before traveling to Costa Rica, it is best to inquire whether or not you will need a visa so as to enter the country legally. Nationals of some countries are exempted from the visa requirement to make a maximum of 30 or 90 days stay respectively. On the other hand, different types of visas are available, varying according to the duration and purpose of a stay. In general, the purpose will have to be supported by related documents.

Types of visas

Foreigners traveling to Costa Rica can apply for one of the following visas: tourist visa (extension can be obtained after a certain number of days in the country), the visa upon a company's request, the artist visa, the Consular visa, consulted the visa, the exceptional visa, the family reunification visa, the multiple entry visa, the temporary or permanent residence visa, the visa for religious people and their dependents, the limited visa, the transit visa, the crew members visa, the visa for students, researchers, teachers and volunteers.

Conditions

Regardless of the length and purpose of your stay in Costa Rica, you must:

  • have a return ticket to your home country or another destination after your stay in Costa Rica
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay (US$ 100 per month for a tourist, for example)
  • a valid passport (the validity period depends on a group system set up by the Dirección de Ingreso of Costa Rica).

For more information on these groups, you can refer to the General Directorate of Migration website.

Main visas

Multiple entry visa

The multiple entry visa can be requested from the General Directorate of Migration either in person or via a legal representative. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • your full name
  • your nationality
  • your occupation
  • your date of birth
  • your parents' full name and nationality
  • your passport number, type and validity period
  • a fax number or an address where you can receive notifications
  • the address of the Costa Rican consulate to which the visa authorization must be addressed if approved
  • the purpose for the request of a multiple-entry visa
  • a criminal record certificate issued either in your home country or in your country of residence since the last three years
  • a certified photocopy of your passport
  • if the request is made via a legal representative, you must provide a notarized letter stating that you are providing sufficient authority to your representative to perform immigration procedures
  • if you do not reside in your home country, you will need a document certifying that you are a legal permanent resident in a third country
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay, issued either in your home country or in your residence country
  • 3 passport-size photos.

Temporary or permanent resident visa

To apply for a temporary or permanent resident visa at the nearest Costa Rican consulate to your place of residence, you are required to produce the following:

  • your first and last name
  • your nationality
  • your passport number and address
  • the purpose of the trip (you must clearly justify your request for temporary resident visa)
  • the estimated duration of your stay in Costa Rica
  • the approximate location in the country and your scheduled arrival date
  • your occupation
  • your exact address in Costa Rica
  • your date and place of birth
  • a fax number or an address where you can receive notifications
  • a criminal record certificate (to be translated into Spanish if it has been issued in another language)
  • your passport or other travel document (along with a copy), that should be valid for at least six months following your departure from Costa Rica
  • a marriage certificate issued by Costa Rica's Civil Registry or a birth certificate in the case of a minor, proving his kinship ties with the Costa Rican resident
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself in Costa Rica, and in the case of a minor applicant, proof that his host can support him financially.
  • date and signature.

Note that the visa is valid for 60 days as from is date of issue.

 Good to know:

To be able to apply for a visa for a minor, you must yourself be a temporary or permanent resident in Costa Rica. You can either apply for the visa online if the online system has been activated in your country, or in person at the consulate.

Once you have reached Costa Rica with your temporary visa, you have to apply for a resident permit according to your category.

Student visa

The student visa is a temporary visa that applies not only to students but also to academics, researchers and volunteers. It is signed by the consul or authenticated before a public notary. To apply for this visa, you are required to produce the following:

  • your first and last name
  • your nationality
  • your passport number
  • your address
  • the purpose of the trip (you must clearly justify your request for temporary residence visa)
  • the estimated duration of your stay in Costa Rica
  • an approximate location and your scheduled arrival date
  • your occupation
  • your exact address in Costa Rica
  • your date and place of birth
  • a fax number or postal address where you can receive notifications
  • a criminal record certificate (to be translated into Spanish if it has been issued in another language)
  • your passport or other travel document (along with a copy) valid for at least six months following your departure from Costa Rica
  • a birth certificate
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay
  • the letter of acceptance from a public or private school that is recognized in Costa Rica, certifying that you are a student, academic, researcher or volunteer (also indicating the duration of your stay)
  • date and signature.

Tourist visa

You can apply for a tourist visa extension at the General Directorate of Migration before your original visa's expiry date. You are required to produce the following:

  • your first and last name
  • your nationality
  • your passport type and number
  • your exact address and telephone number in Costa Rica
  • your parents' name
  • your place and date of birth
  • justification regarding your application for tourist visa extension
  • a fax number or an address where you can receive notifications
  • three recent passport-size photos
  • a certified photocopy of your passport (to be accompanied by a Spanish translation)
  • a copy of your return ticket showing your departure date (must be certified or authenticated by the official receiving your request)
  • proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the country
  • in case you are following a specialized medical treatment, you must provide a letter from the hospital/private medical care center along with the corresponding medical certificate which clearly indicates your need to extend your treatment in Costa Rica
  • the receipt of payment of the sum of US$ 100 dollars (or its equivalent in Colons) to the bank account number 242480-0 in Banco de Costa Rica.

 Warning:

No exception applies! Tourist visa extensions never exceed an additional 60 days.

 Useful links:

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

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