A visa is required. We cannot assist in processing this document, but we provide instructions on how to apply.
All About the Costa Rica Visa
Planning to visit the natural paradise Costa Rica in the near future?
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that citizens of dozens of countries are eligible for a travel waiver, among them Americans, Brits, and Canadians. This allows you to enjoy this nation’s rich culture and biodiversity as a tourist for up to 90 days.
Even if you don’t require travel authorisation, all visitors entering the country do require a current passport. How long the passport needs to be valid depends on your nationality. You must also be able to show immigration officials a return ticket or evidence of onward travel to another destination.
At this time, this country only offers a traditional travel authorisation through its embassies and consulates, there is no electronic travel pass available.
So, if you want to find out if you meet the visa waiver requirements and how to apply for a Costa Rica travel visa via the consulate if you don’t, then keep reading.
This small Central American nation is one of the world’s top destinations for ecotourism. Get ready to enjoy ‘the rich coast!’ with these helpful tips for planning your adventure!
Costa Rica Visa Application Process
Unfortunately, there is no eVisa available to tourists at present.
There are, however, many nationalities that are exempt from requiring travel authorisation (see the full list below in our ‘Requirements and Eligibility’ section.)
The standard process to obtain your tourist visa from the consulate is as follows:
- Contact your local consulate to book your visa application appointment.
- Fill out the official application form that is available from the country’s Immigration Department. This is known in Spanish as the ‘Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.’
- Submit the required documents* which include:
- An application letter addressed to the consulate where you’re applying.
- A passport valid for at least 6 months and a photocopy of the entire passport.
- Your itinerary or a temporary reservation of your ticket.
- 2 passport images.
- Proof that you have sufficient funds for your trip.
- A police record issued within the last 6 months.
- Processing will commence only after all the documentation is submitted. More details on these supporting documents in the ‘Forms and Documents’ section.
- Wait for your paperwork to be processed. In some instances, the consulate may contact you to ask you to obtain additional documents that they deem necessary. They may also request an interview.
- You will be notified about the decision regarding your travel authorisation. If your application is approved, you have 60 days to use the visa to enter the country.
*Please note, some consulates allow applicants to submit their paperwork digitally. If this is the case for applicants from your country, the consulate will explain the application procedure to you when you get in touch with them.
Costa Rica Visa Requirements and Eligibility
Wondering if you require a visa to visit the home of stunning national parks like Corcovado?
Generally, citizens of the United States, Canada and countries in the European Union do not require travel authorisation to enter this nation. If you are a citizen of one of these countries you will automatically be issued a tourist visa at the immigration point of entry.
All adults and children entering this rainforested Central American country will require a current valid passport though.
As well as this, you need to be able to show immigration officials evidence of a return ticket, either to your home country or to another onward destination.
Require consular visa
If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below, you need to obtain travel authorisation from the embassy or consulate before entering this ecotourism hot spot.
To apply, you must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. Visas are granted for a period of 30 days renewable up to a maximum of 90 days.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Papua New Guinea
Sahrawi Arab Republic
Central African Republic
Republic of Macedonia
Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
People’s Republic of China
People’s Democratic Republic of Laos
Require approval from the Director of Immigration
The countries listed below fall under the restrictive category. This means that citizens of these nations must obtain an entry visa before they are allowed to enter this nation. Not only this, applicants that fall under this category must have their application reviewed by the Director of Immigration before it can be granted.
If granted, the travel authorisation is valid for a period of 30 days and renewable up to a maximum of 90 days.
- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, Eritrea
Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Myanmar (Burma), Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic, Somalia
Visa Exempt Countries
Travellers from the following nations can enter this Central American nation without advance visa approval.
All European Union citizens
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
Costa Rica Visa Form and Documents
If you are not eligible for a waiver, you must complete the visa application form and submit some documentation to your nearest embassy or consulate.
Details of all this nation’s consulates around the world can be found on our Costa Rica embassies page.
The application form that you must complete and sign contains the following fields:
- Full name.
- Birth place.
- Birth date.
- Marital status.
- Passport number.
- Place of issue.
- Date of issue.
- Date of expiration.
- Your place of work, the company name and its address and phone number.
- Details of any previous visas (to this country) issued during the last 2 years.
- Name of the hotel where you will stay or the host you will stay with (and the address and phone number).
- Who will cover the cost of your trip and the expenses while you are there.
- Wherever you will be using cash, card or travellers cheques to cover costs while you are there.
- Entry and exit dates.
- The date you first and last entered the country (if you’ve visited before).
- Duration of your last visit (if applicable).
- Date you will enter the country.
- Date you will exit the country.
- Telephone number.
You will also have to indicate your motive for travel. For example, if you are visiting as a tourist, to see family or for another reason.
You will then have to sign and date the form.
Next, you will need to submit some supporting documents.
- An application letter addressed to the consulate that contains the following information:
- The purpose of your trip.
- Your personal information (name, age, date and place of birth).
- Passport number
- Place of residence
- Intended arrival and departure dates.
- Where you will stay while you are visiting the country.
- Contact information.
- The date and your signature.
2. A complete photocopy of all the pages on your passport. Your passport must be valid for a further 6 six months.
3. A return flight ticket reservation. It is advised not to pay for your ticket until your visa application has been approved.
4. 2 passport photos of yourself (measuring 2 inches x 2 inches), taken on a white background with a neutral expression.
5. Proof of sufficient financial means, such as bank statements from the last 3 months.
6. Police clearance certificate (from the last 6 months) from your country of origin.
Those applicants who are visa-holders or Permanent Residents in another country should also submit proof of this.
Important: The documents you submit must be translated into Spanish and legalised.
If you are coming from a place that’s at risk of Yellow Fever, you will also require proof that you have had this vaccine.
In some circumstances, the consulate may require additional documents too.
Costa Rica Visa Status Check
Want to check on the status of your application? The country’s Immigration ministry offers an online system to verify and check the status of your application.
In some cases, applicants may be asked to submit additional supporting documents to process their application. The consulate where you applied will get in touch with you if this is the case.
How Much Is a Costa Rica Visa?
The cost varies depending on your nationality and which category of visa you fall under. Different embassies allow for different methods too so make sure to check the rules for the specific embassy where you’re applying.
As an example, if you apply for a visa via the Consular Officer in the US, the charge is USD 32.00. Alternatively, if the visa is approved by the Immigration Office, the cost will be USD 52.00.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Costa Rica Visitor Visa?
The processing time is usually about 30 calendar days. Make sure to apply in sufficient time ahead of your trip. You don’t want your travel plans to be thwarted because of not applying far enough in advance.
It is recommended that you do not purchase airline tickets until your visa has been approved.
More Costa Rica Visitor Visa Questions and Information
Keep reading for more helpful answers about travel authorisation to visit one of the happiest countries in the world!