Visa For Costa Rica: Entry Requirements, Custom for U.S. and Canadian Expats

Regarding pursuing new horizons in tourism or residency, Costa Rica is an inviting destination for US and Canadian citizens in their travel plans. Understanding the intricacies of visas, residency, and legal requirements is paramount for those seeking to explore international travel in a tropical paradise. This comprehensive guide offers essential information regarding visas to visit Costa Rica, distinguishing between various visa types and shedding light on temporary and permanent residency application processes.

Attorneys supported by the U.S. Embassy of Costa Rica: Expert visa and travel advice “safety and security.”

We are lawyers registered with the US. Embassy; with us by your side, you will be able to hire expert visa advice. We care about your safety and security; we take care of the client and advise travel, places to visit in Costa Rica, investment opportunities, the establishment of partnerships, and more. So we provide travel advice, attached to the Costa Rican law focused on being your Costa Rican immigration agency.

Types of Visas According to the Groups of Entry to Costa Rica

First Group: ENTRY WITHOUT VISA: They have a maximum stay of 90 calendar days, not extendable, and may enter with a minimum validity of 1 day in their original passport. The United States of America and Canada are in this group, and their territorial dependencies receive the same treatment. This applies to visitors to Costa Rica tourism travel, business travel, medical evacuation, travel health, and adventure sports, with or without travel insurance or medical insurance.

Second Group: ENTRY WITHOUT VISA but maximum stay up to 30 calendar days. (extendable up to ninety calendar days, according to the applicable costa rican authorities).
Minimum Passport Validity: 90 days
Some of the countries in this group are Belize, El Salvador, Russia, the Philippines, Guatemala, Maldives, Suriname, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Third Group: Consular Visa
Validity of the Visa: A SINGLE ENTRY.
Once the costa rican government authorizes, the visa will be up to sixty days from the date of entry stamp on the passport. Minimum validity of passport: 180 calendar days.
Maximum stay: up to thirty calendar days, extendable to ninety calendar days to leave Costa Rica. Some countries subject to this group are Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Egypt, India, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Popular Republic Of China, and Thailand.

Fourth group: Restricted visa entry group.
Validity of the visa: a single entry to be legal in Costa Rica.
The term to enter Costa Rica: once the visa is authorized will be up to sixty days from the date stamped in the passport. Mandatory validity of passport: 180 calendar days.
Maximum stay: up to thirty calendar days, extendable to ninety.
This group includes some countries such as Cuba, Iran, Jamaica, Palestine, and North Korea.

Exceptions for entry group with consular visa or restricted visa:

Nationals of countries with these types of visas, who have visas or residencies that allow multiple entries in any category, including refugee and asylum category and type D and C1/D visas only, with a minimum validity of 90 calendar days in the United States of America and Canada, may enter Costa Rica.

Do you need an entry or transit visa? In cases where the person is only in transit to another country and is originally from a restricted visa country, a transit visa is required.

Visa for Indians

India is in the third group of visa types for Costa Rica, so they will have a single-entry visa and will have a period of 60 days to enter with a maximum stay in the country of 30 calendar days extendable up to 90 days, the passport must have a minimum validity of 180 days.

Exception: In Costa Rica, we do business with Indian companies, and we receive many visitors of Indian nationality but with permanent residence in the United States:

If the Indian person has permanent residence in the United States or Canada, the rules of these two countries apply, and they can be exempted from the visa to enter Costa Rica. The visas of the United States of America type C1, C2, and C3 correspond to transit visas and are not accepted.

Visa Application:

You must complete a visa application form and send it to the Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate in your home country to apply for a visa. You must also provide the required documentation, such as a valid passport and other travel documents, such as photographs and proof of funds.

The processing time for a visa varies depending on the type of visa and the embassy or consulate to which you apply. However, you should expect to wait at least 2-3 weeks for your visa to be processed in certain countries.

Visa vs. Temporary Residency vs. Permanent Residency: Custom for you

The visa constitutes an authorization to enter a country. In the case of Costa Rica, there is a regulation called Entry Visa Guidelines, which establishes, depending on the country, that is, the nationality, what type of visa the person must apply for.

There are two main types of Costa Rica residence permits: permanent and temporary.

On the other hand, a Temporary Costa Rica Residence Permit is issued for a more extensive list of purposes. The subcategories of Costa Rica residence permits offered to foreign nationals include retirees, rentiers, investors, and foreign workers.

A Permanent Costa Rica Residence Permit is issued for the following reasons:

  • If you have a Costa Rican family member that’s related by blood (parent, sibling, or child)
  • After you have lived in Costa Rica with a temporary residence permit for at least three years.

A permanent residence permit is indefinite, while a temporary residence permit is issued for a maximum of two years and is renewable; the visa is not required.

Through new laws such as Digital Nomads and Tax Exemption, Canadian and U.S. citizens are encouraged by the government of Costa Rica to stay in our country.

Extending Your Stay in Costa Rica

Application for residency offers a bridge to an extended stay in Costa Rica. AG Legal guides you through the application process, ensuring a smooth transition to your new “pura vida” life.

Stay without a visa: When you, as a foreigner, file a residency application, the file number assigned to you by the Costa Rican authority serves as a document that validates your stay in the country legally; you do not have to leave the country or need a valid visa.

When your residency application is pending, you can also plan travel abroad, make emergency travel, and enter or leave Costa Rica with the airline of your choice to the destination of your choice without any problem.

Answering Key Questions About Costa Rica Visa Requirements

Which countries require a visa according to local law?

Explore whether your nationality requires a tourist visa before visiting Costa Rica. Here is the complete official list of countries that require a VISA from the C.R. immigration authorities:

To read the official country list issued by immigration, please click here

Suppose you have a Costa Rican child born in the USA., Canada, or Costa Rica. In that case, you can go to the nearest Bureau of Consular Affairs to meet their requirements and request a Costa Rican travel passport with both parents’ written consent.

Travel advice for Costa Rica: Always try to consider times of the year prone to the rainy season in tourist areas and natural disasters, and also remember that Costa Rica is no longer a Covid-19 alert, so you do not need vaccination so that you can take advantage of your visit period, but if something were to happen to you (hopefully not) remember that in Costa Rica we have an excellent health service, with the best doctors and hospitals in the whole Central American region.

Entry restrictions: If traveling to Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, you will need the YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION. The countries considered at risk are 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. You can travel to Costa Rica ten days after the shot.

If you purchased a tour operator months before your trip, verify that you can enter Costa Rica about these entry rules.

Can a US permanent resident travel to Costa Rica?

As mentioned above, US permanent residents from other countries can easily explore Costa Rica’s offerings without VISA; just hold a passport and the document that validates your permanent US residency. Preferably, contact the embassy of Costa Rica or AG Legal in advance for information on any changes to entry into Costa Rica.

What travel documents do you need to fly to Costa Rica from the US?

U.S. nationals must have a current valid passport and a return ticket to exit Costa Rica within 90 days. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country). A US passport must be valid for at least one day from entry into Costa Rica. Again, you do not need a visa.

What are the consequences of an overstay in Costa Rica?

A fine of USD 100 will be applied for each month overstayed. For example, if you overstay by one month, you will have to pay a fine of USD 100, which will be waived if you apply for residency.

Partner with AG Legal: Attorneys registered with the US Embassy in Costa Rica.

Visit AG Legal’s Immigration Law Services to explore how our seasoned team can assist you throughout the visa and residency process. Remember that we are registered with the USA embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, to provide A service with accurate support in your Costa Rican immigration process, so you can go bungee jumping, relax in the mountains or enjoy the beach legally.