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Costa Rica

Costa Rica Passport Requirements

U.S. and Canadian citizens entering Costa Rica must present a roundtrip/outbound ticket and valid passports that will not expire for at least six months after arrival. Cruise visitors must present their shipboard ID cards.

Costa Rica passport requirementsSome U.S. airlines may not permit passengers to board flights to Costa Rica without such a ticket. Passports should be in good condition; Costa Rican immigration will deny entry if the passport is damaged in any way.

Costa Rican authorities generally permit U.S. citizens to stay up to 90 days.

To stay beyond the period granted, travelers must submit an application for an extension to the Office of Temporary Permits in the Costa Rican Department of Immigration.

Tourist visas are usually not extended except under special circumstances, and extension requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There is a departure tax for short-term visitors.

Tourists who stay over ninety days may experience a delay at the airport when departing. Persons who overstayed previously may be denied entry to Costa Rica.

U.S. citizens should take special care to secure their passports while traveling as it can be time-consuming and difficult to acquire new proof of citizenship to facilitate return travel should the passport be lost or stolen.

Prior to departure from the U.S., sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID.

All Americans traveling by air outside the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.

While a U.S. passport is not mandatory for sea travel, it is recommended since it is a more readily recognized form of positive proof of citizenship.

The U.S. Consulate General recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings.

A lost or stolen passport is also easier to replace when outside of the United States than other evidence of citizenship.

The most up-to-date information on Costa Rican entry and exit requirements, including visa information, may be obtained from the Consular Section of the Embassy of Costa Rica at 2114 “S” Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 234-2945/46.

A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Costa Rica. The passport must be valid for at least thirty days from the date of arrival in Costa Rica. You should carry a photocopy of your passport and of the Costa Rican Immigration entry stamp at all times.

Costa Rican Immigration authorities state that all foreigners must carry original identification documents; however, local authorities will accept photocopies as long as the original documents are accessible.

Canadian Citizens

Canadians arriving in Costa Rica may remain for a period of up to 90 days without a visa. Those intending to stay beyond 90 days, or applying for residency status, will have to do so outside of Costa Rica.

Travelers overstaying the 90-day period can expect to pay a fine and risk being deported. Persons deported from Costa Rica will not be allowed to re-enter the country for a 10-year period.

These requirements are subject to change at any time. It is the traveler's responsibility to check with the country's embassy or its consulates for up-to-date information.

Sources:

U.S. State Department
  • Canadian Consular Affairs

    Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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    December 15, 2008

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