Visas

Requirements and application procedure

Costa Rica has four different groups of countries, two of them do not need a visa for visiting as a tourist for less than 90 days. Here, we will speak about the general requirements and conditions for applying for a visa.

Visas

Tourism

This are the general requirements for visiting Costa Rica as a tourist:

  • A valid passport in good shape, the validity of it depends on the country and will be indicated in the next section
  • A round trip ticket or an onward journey ticket.
  • Proof of sufficient funds ($100 per month of tourism)

In Costa Rica, there are different types of visa for temporary residency. We will deal with the common ones.
If you need more information for some of the others, you can visit the website for Direction of Migration in Costa Rica: http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas.html . There, you can find information about the different visas and the application requirements in Spanish, English and Russian.
These are the types of visa:

  • Artists permits
  • Consular visa
  • Temporary consular visa for obtaining the temporary residency, special categories and transit
  • Consulted and exceptional visas
  • Restricted visas
  • Visas upon arrival
  • Multiple entry visa
  • Visa applied by registered companies or institutions

Any application for any visa is done at the Direction of Migration in Costa Rica or the Costa Rican consulate. If you cannot deal with the procedure in person, you can give someone of your election a Power of attorney  so that they become your legal representative.
Remember, the consul may ask for additional documents issued in your country of origin as long as they are essential for obtaining the visa. If the documents are issued out of Costa Rica, the consulate must recognise them and if they are not in Spanish, a sworn translation is required.

Stays without consular visa

The first group is for citizens from the following countries do not need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica, they can stay up to 90 days in the country and their passport must have a expiry date of a day:
Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia*, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chili, Chipre, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark*, Estonia, Finland, France*, Germany, Greece, Hungary,  Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Netherlands*, Norway*, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saint Marino, Serbia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, United States of America*, Uruguay and Vatican City  
*Including the dependent territories.
The second group is for citizens from the following countries do not need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica, they can stay in the country up to 30 days (extendable to 90) and their passport must have a expiry date of 3 months.
Antigua & Barbuda, Belice, Bolivia, Dominica, El Salvador, Philipines, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Salomon Islands, Kiribati, Maldivas, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Palaos, Kingdom of Tonga, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Surinam, Tuvalu, Turky, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
People from other countries than these with valid visas for 3 months in the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan or European Union (or Schengen visa in the passport) or with legal permits (residency, work, study or refugees) from said countries may enter Costa Rica without a consular visa.

Limited stay with consular visa

Citizens from unmentioned countries are part of the groups three and four. They need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica and a valid passport for at least six months. This visa gives them right for a 30 day stay, extendable for 90 days. Moreover, there are other small differences amongst these two groups since they are separated groups. In order to see more details about it, you can read this document issued by the Costa Rican government (only in Spanish): http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas/directrices_ingreso/Directriz%20Visas%202012.pdf 
These are the requirements for a consular visa :

  • Request addressed to the Consul of Costa Rica stating: given name and last name, nationality, passport number, residency place, reason for travel, estimated time of stay in Costa Rica, approximate place and date of arrival and departure from the country, occupation, exact address of intended place of permanency in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the applicant, fax to receive notifications, date and signature
  • Valid passport or travel document, with an expiry date of not less than six months and a copy of the entire passport
  • Ticket reservation, return ticket or onward journey ticket.
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate the ability to survive in Costa Rica.
  • Submit valid criminal records and its sworn translation into Spanish if needed.

Once all the requirements are submitted, you must fill out the visa application form can be found on the website: migracion.go.cr , and hand it out to the consulate

Multiple Entry Visa

If you are coming to Costa Rica several times a year it is possible to apply for a multiple entry visa. Application for a multiple entry visa can be made at the Costa Rican National Direction of Migration or at the Costa Rican Consulate.

The following documents are required when applying:

  • Completed multiple visa application form. This form is issued by the Consulates but can also be downloaded from the web pages of several Costa Rican embassies.
  • Birth Certificate. The names of both parents should be on the certificate.
  • Statement of good conduct issued by the police in the country of origin or residence.
  • Certified copies of all passport pages.
  • Businessmen and travel agents should provide documentation that proving their condition.
  • Proof of economic resources.
  • Documents proving family relations with Costa Rica or documents proving a contractual relationship between the applicant and a company or institution in Costa Rica.

Take notice that the Costa Rican National Direction of Migration may ask for additional documentation which can vary per applicant. If documents are issued outside Costa Rica, the Costa Rican consulate should authenticate all those documents.

Other Frequent visas

Multiple entry visa

If you are thinking about going to Costa Rica several times in several years, you can apply for a multiple entry visa that will allow you to visit the country as often as you want in a period of time between one and five years.
These are the required documents:

  • Request addressed to the General Directorate of Immigration, subscribed by the person concerned or the legal representative, either authenticated by a notary public or with the signature stamped before the respective officer of the General Directorate or the Consulate of Costa Rica, including the following information of the foreign person applying for the multiple entry visa:

a. Given name and last name

b. Nationality

c. Profession or occupation

d. Date of birth

e. Full name and nationality of the parents

f. Passport number, type, and validity

g. Fax number to receive notifications

h. Indicate the Consulate of Costa Rica to which the visa authorization should be addressed

i. Basis of the claim, explaining why are you applying for the Multiple Entry Visa and the tasks that you will perform

  • Certificate stating that the applicant does not have criminal records either in his country of origin or in the one he has resided for the last three years.
  • Certified photocopy of your passport stating  your identity and personal information.
  • In case you do not reside in your country of origin, a document stating the legal permanency of the alien in a third country.
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Passport photograph of the applicant.
  • Multiple Entry Visa form duly signed

Visas for students, researchers, teachers or volunteers

If you are going to study in Costa Rica, if you are going to work as a teacher or a researcher, or if you are planning to volunteer, you must apply for a special visa. Even if your country is included in the list for stay without a visaIf yor country does need a consular visa, you should check the website: http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas.html  in order to find out about any special conditions.
What you need to apply for this visa, other than what is specified in the section “consular visa” is:

  • Request for special category provisional visa as students, academics and researchers and volunteers including the following information:
    1. given name and last name,
    2. nationality,
    3. profession or occupation,
    4. date of birth,
    5. passport number, type and validity,
    6. exact address in Costa Rica,
    7. fax to receive notifications,
    8. date and signature.
  • Birth certificate
  • Criminal record
  • Valid passport and a certified copy of each page
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Letter of acceptance from the public or private school recognized in Costa Rica, attesting that you will work as a student, academic, researcher or volunteer; indicating your involvement in it and the period that he will be linked to the center.

Visa of possible residency

You must know that if you are thinking about moving to Costa Rica, it is easier to get a residency permit if you apply directly for this visa de posible residente (visa of possible residency) instead of a tourist visa, even if you are from one of those countries that do not need a visa to enter the country. You will only have to pay for the application procedure (50$).

If you want to apply for this visa, these are the requirements:

  • Request directed to the Consul of Costa Rica including the following information
    1. given name and last name,
    2. nationality,
    3. profession or occupation,
    4. date and place of birth
    5. passport number,
    6. place of residency,
    7. reason for the trip,
    8. expected time of stay in Costa Rica,
    9. expected duration of the stay,
    10. exact address in Costa Rica,
    11. fax to receive notifications,
    12. date and signature.
  • Criminal record. If it is not in Spanish, you should bring a sworn translation.
  • Valid passport with at least a validity of six months and a certified copy of each page
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Marriage or birth certificate issued by the Costa Rican civil registration proving that you have some relationship with a Costa Rican or birth certificate if you are underage. This is very important if you want to apply for a permanent residency in the future.

Tourism

This are the general requirements for visiting Costa Rica as a tourist:

  • A valid passport in good shape, the validity of it depends on the country and will be indicated in the next section
  • A round trip ticket or an onward journey ticket.
  • Proof of sufficient funds ($100 per month of tourism)

In Costa Rica, there are different types of visa for temporary residency. We will deal with the common ones.
If you need more information for some of the others, you can visit the website for Direction of Migration in Costa Rica: http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas.html . There, you can find information about the different visas and the application requirements in Spanish, English and Russian.
These are the types of visa:

  • Artists permits
  • Consular visa
  • Temporary consular visa for obtaining the temporary residency, special categories and transit
  • Consulted and exceptional visas
  • Restricted visas
  • Visas upon arrival
  • Multiple entry visa
  • Visa applied by registered companies or institutions

Any application for any visa is done at the Direction of Migration in Costa Rica or the Costa Rican consulate. If you cannot deal with the procedure in person, you can give someone of your election a Power of attorney  so that they become your legal representative.
Remember, the consul may ask for additional documents issued in your country of origin as long as they are essential for obtaining the visa. If the documents are issued out of Costa Rica, the consulate must recognise them and if they are not in Spanish, a sworn translation is required.

Stays without consular visa

The first group is for citizens from the following countries do not need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica, they can stay up to 90 days in the country and their passport must have a expiry date of a day:
Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia*, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chili, Chipre, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark*, Estonia, Finland, France*, Germany, Greece, Hungary,  Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Netherlands*, Norway*, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saint Marino, Serbia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, United States of America*, Uruguay and Vatican City  
*Including the dependent territories.
The second group is for citizens from the following countries do not need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica, they can stay in the country up to 30 days (extendable to 90) and their passport must have a expiry date of 3 months.
Antigua & Barbuda, Belice, Bolivia, Dominica, El Salvador, Philipines, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Salomon Islands, Kiribati, Maldivas, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Palaos, Kingdom of Tonga, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Surinam, Tuvalu, Turky, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
People from other countries than these with valid visas for 3 months in the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan or European Union (or Schengen visa in the passport) or with legal permits (residency, work, study or refugees) from said countries may enter Costa Rica without a consular visa.

Limited stay with consular visa

Citizens from unmentioned countries are part of the groups three and four. They need a consular visa for entering Costa Rica and a valid passport for at least six months. This visa gives them right for a 30 day stay, extendable for 90 days. Moreover, there are other small differences amongst these two groups since they are separated groups. In order to see more details about it, you can read this document issued by the Costa Rican government (only in Spanish): http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas/directrices_ingreso/Directriz%20Visas%202012.pdf 
These are the requirements for a consular visa :

  • Request addressed to the Consul of Costa Rica stating: given name and last name, nationality, passport number, residency place, reason for travel, estimated time of stay in Costa Rica, approximate place and date of arrival and departure from the country, occupation, exact address of intended place of permanency in Costa Rica, date and place of birth of the applicant, fax to receive notifications, date and signature
  • Valid passport or travel document, with an expiry date of not less than six months and a copy of the entire passport
  • Ticket reservation, return ticket or onward journey ticket.
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate the ability to survive in Costa Rica.
  • Submit valid criminal records and its sworn translation into Spanish if needed.

Once all the requirements are submitted, you must fill out the visa application form can be found on the website: migracion.go.cr , and hand it out to the consulate

Multiple Entry Visa

If you are coming to Costa Rica several times a year it is possible to apply for a multiple entry visa. Application for a multiple entry visa can be made at the Costa Rican National Direction of Migration or at the Costa Rican Consulate.

The following documents are required when applying:

  • Completed multiple visa application form. This form is issued by the Consulates but can also be downloaded from the web pages of several Costa Rican embassies.
  • Birth Certificate. The names of both parents should be on the certificate.
  • Statement of good conduct issued by the police in the country of origin or residence.
  • Certified copies of all passport pages.
  • Businessmen and travel agents should provide documentation that proving their condition.
  • Proof of economic resources.
  • Documents proving family relations with Costa Rica or documents proving a contractual relationship between the applicant and a company or institution in Costa Rica.

Take notice that the Costa Rican National Direction of Migration may ask for additional documentation which can vary per applicant. If documents are issued outside Costa Rica, the Costa Rican consulate should authenticate all those documents.

Other Frequent visas

Multiple entry visa

If you are thinking about going to Costa Rica several times in several years, you can apply for a multiple entry visa that will allow you to visit the country as often as you want in a period of time between one and five years.
These are the required documents:

  • Request addressed to the General Directorate of Immigration, subscribed by the person concerned or the legal representative, either authenticated by a notary public or with the signature stamped before the respective officer of the General Directorate or the Consulate of Costa Rica, including the following information of the foreign person applying for the multiple entry visa:

a. Given name and last name

b. Nationality

c. Profession or occupation

d. Date of birth

e. Full name and nationality of the parents

f. Passport number, type, and validity

g. Fax number to receive notifications

h. Indicate the Consulate of Costa Rica to which the visa authorization should be addressed

i. Basis of the claim, explaining why are you applying for the Multiple Entry Visa and the tasks that you will perform

  • Certificate stating that the applicant does not have criminal records either in his country of origin or in the one he has resided for the last three years.
  • Certified photocopy of your passport stating  your identity and personal information.
  • In case you do not reside in your country of origin, a document stating the legal permanency of the alien in a third country.
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Passport photograph of the applicant.
  • Multiple Entry Visa form duly signed

Visas for students, researchers, teachers or volunteers

If you are going to study in Costa Rica, if you are going to work as a teacher or a researcher, or if you are planning to volunteer, you must apply for a special visa. Even if your country is included in the list for stay without a visaIf yor country does need a consular visa, you should check the website: http://migracion.go.cr/extranjeros/visas.html  in order to find out about any special conditions.
What you need to apply for this visa, other than what is specified in the section “consular visa” is:

  • Request for special category provisional visa as students, academics and researchers and volunteers including the following information:
    1. given name and last name,
    2. nationality,
    3. profession or occupation,
    4. date of birth,
    5. passport number, type and validity,
    6. exact address in Costa Rica,
    7. fax to receive notifications,
    8. date and signature.
  • Birth certificate
  • Criminal record
  • Valid passport and a certified copy of each page
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Letter of acceptance from the public or private school recognized in Costa Rica, attesting that you will work as a student, academic, researcher or volunteer; indicating your involvement in it and the period that he will be linked to the center.

Visa of possible residency

You must know that if you are thinking about moving to Costa Rica, it is easier to get a residency permit if you apply directly for this visa de posible residente (visa of possible residency) instead of a tourist visa, even if you are from one of those countries that do not need a visa to enter the country. You will only have to pay for the application procedure (50$).

If you want to apply for this visa, these are the requirements:

  • Request directed to the Consul of Costa Rica including the following information
    1. given name and last name,
    2. nationality,
    3. profession or occupation,
    4. date and place of birth
    5. passport number,
    6. place of residency,
    7. reason for the trip,
    8. expected time of stay in Costa Rica,
    9. expected duration of the stay,
    10. exact address in Costa Rica,
    11. fax to receive notifications,
    12. date and signature.
  • Criminal record. If it is not in Spanish, you should bring a sworn translation.
  • Valid passport with at least a validity of six months and a certified copy of each page
  • Proof of financial means to demonstrate your financial solvency
  • Marriage or birth certificate issued by the Costa Rican civil registration proving that you have some relationship with a Costa Rican or birth certificate if you are underage. This is very important if you want to apply for a permanent residency in the future.

Further reading

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