Costa Rica Visa

Costa Rica Visa

Traveling to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not only an incredibly bio-diverse and vibrant country that tourists love, but it is also a prime destination for students, volunteers, investors, and business professionals. It is also popular among retirees as a place to reside later in life.

The eligibility for a Costa Rica visa will depend on the visa type and the applicant’s nationality. There are many nationalities that are able to travel to Costa Rica visa-free for either 30 or 90-day stays. Other nationalities can travel to Costa Rica by obtaining a consular visa. Some select nationalities must obtain a restricted visa (for tourism purposes only) by following a separate procedure.

Validity periods depend on the applicant’s nationality, the visa type, and the intended purpose of stay in Costa Rica. Tourist visas for eligible nationalities allow for stays of 30 or 90 days, while temporary residence permits can be issued for much longer validity periods.  

Costa Rica Visa Types

The following are the visa types offered by Costa Rica for foreign travelers:

  1. Tourist Visa:
    • This visa is for travelers coming to Costa Rica for tourism purposes.
  2. Provisional visas:
    • Provisional visas are reserved for specific categories of travelers who want to stay in Costa Rica for long and short-term stays. The following are the types of Provisional Visas:
      • Special category for students, volunteers, academics, and researchers
      • Provisional visa for rentiers
      • Provisional visa for retirees
      • Provisional visa for anyone with close family ties with a Costa Rican national
  3. Temporary Residence:
    • Temporary Residency can be obtained at the Immigration Office in Costa Rica. The following are the types of Temporary Residency:
      • Temporary residency for a retiree
      • Temporary residency for students, teachers, researchers, and interns.
      • Temporary residency for executives, representatives, managers, technical personnel, and their dependents.
      • Temporary residency for rentiers.
      • Temporary residency for spouses.
  4. Permanent Residence:
    • This is a Permanent Residency for travelers who are relatives of Costa Rican nationals. It is available to parents and children who are under 18 and/or have a disability. Permanent Residency must be obtained at the Immigration Office in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Visa Requirements

To apply for a Costa Rica visa, you will have to submit several documents depending on the purpose of the trip and the visa type.

The following are the basic requirements for all Costa Rica visa types:

Visa request letter 

Applicants must write a visa request letter featuring the relevant information which may include their passport number, travel information, and contact details, among other items.

A complete visa application form 

Visa application forms can be obtained from the embassy or consulate where the applicant plans to submit their visa application OR on their official website

A valid passport

Passports should be valid for at least six (6) months before the travel date and contain two blank pages for official use. Most applicants will also need a copy of the entire passport or travel document.

Personal photo

The personal photos should be recent and adhere to the guidelines of the embassy or consulate where they submit the visa application.

Proof of subsistence

Applicants must have sufficient means of supporting themselves financially for the entire duration of their stay in Costa Rica.

Yellow fever (if applicable)

Foreign nationals of Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, and Venezuela are required to obtain a yellow fever vaccine certificate before traveling to Costa Rica. They must travel to Costa Rica within ten (10) days of the vaccine.

Additional documents may be required depending on the visa type and the purpose of the stay. These requirements may include police records, a birth certificate, or an acceptance letter to an academic institution.

It should be noted that even travelers who DO NOT require a tourist visa to enter Costa Rica must still provide the following documents:

A valid passport

Passports should be valid for at least three (3) months from the date of entry into Costa Rica.

Proof of subsistence

Applicants must be able to support themselves financially for the duration of their stay in Costa Rica.

Onward/return ticket

Tickets must be issued by an authorized travel agency or airline and clearly show the date of departure.

Costa Rica Visa Application Steps

Foreign nationals applying for a Costa Rica visa should follow these steps:

  1. Complete the visa application 

    Applicants must complete the application form accurately with all relevant personal and contact details.

  2. Gather all required documents

    Required documents will depend on the visa type and the applicant’s nationality. These documents include the visa request letter, a valid passport, personal photos, and proof of subsistence, among others.

  3. Schedule a visa appointment (if required)

    Depending on the location of submission, some applicants may be required to schedule an appointment at the relevant Costa Rica consulate.

  4. Submit the visa documents

    All required documents must be submitted to the consulate. 

  5. Receive the visa

    If the visa is approved by the consular officer, the applicant must pay the nonrefundable visa fees to receive their new visa.

Where to Apply for Costa Rica Visa

Costa Rica visas can be applied for and obtained at the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate by completing the application, providing all required documents, and paying any outstanding fees.

Costa Rica Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a Costa Rica visa will vary depending on the visa type, the applicant’s nationality, and the purpose of stay. It will also depend on the consulate where the applicant submits their application.

Costa Rica Visa FAQ

What is a Costa Rica visa?

A Costa Rica visa is a travel document that allows the holder to enter the country for a specific period of time and purpose.

How long does it take to obtain a Costa Rica visa?

The processing time to acquire a Costa Rica can vary depending on several factors. The applicant’s nationality, the purpose of the visit, and the location of submission will all determine the processing time.

Where can I apply for my Costa Rica visa?

Costa Rica visas can be obtained at the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate by completing all forms, providing the required documents as required, and paying the processing fees.

How do I know if I need a visa for Costa Rica?

Nationals of the following countries need to obtain a visa prior to traveling to Costa Rica:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macao, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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