Do you have any reason to visit Costa Rica but don’t know how to obtain a Tourist Visa for Costa Rica? The fact is you are required to apply for a Costa Rica visa before you will be allowed to enter the country.
For this reason, we decided to dedicate this informative piece to providing you with details regarding the Costa Rica Visa requirements alongside the application process and other relevant information that will help you through the process. Don’t hesitate to read through to the end and be enlightened.
How To Obtain A Tourist Visa For Costa Rica (Step By Step Guide)
Costa Rica is graced with lush and attractive landscape and geography making it a country to visit and explore. The country enjoys thousands of visitors and tourists from different countries around the world annually.
If you are going into the country as a tourist, you will need to get a tourist visa permit which will allow you to stay in the country for up to 30 days but can be extended further to 90 days.
However, not all people who wish to travel to Costa Rica need a tourist visa, that is because the criteria will depend on your nationality, the purpose of visit, and your country of residence including the duration of your stay.
Also, visa requirements are based on international agreements or treaties which brings about the Costa Rican visa policy to be divided into four groups:
Group 1 – Visa-exempt foreign nationals or permanent residents of countries that are allowed to travel to Costa Rica with only their passports. But it must be valid for at least one more day from the entry date.
This category included nationals of the United States and member states of the European Union zone. They are permitted to stay in Costa Rica for a maximum of 90 days.
Group 2 – Visa-exempt foreign nationals or permanent residents of countries that are allowed to enter Costa Rica with just their passports.
But it must be valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival. They will be allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 30 days.
Group 3 – Foreign nationals who require a Costa Rica Consular Visa must be applied for at a Costa Rica consulate in their home country or country of residence. The Costa Rica visa allotted up to 30 days to stay in Costa Rica.
Group 4 – Foreign nationals who need a Costa Rica Restricted Visa. This type of visa must be approved by the Commission of Restricted Visas. If approved, the holder will be allowed to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
However, getting an approved visa allows you to travel to but does not guarantee your entry into Costa Rica. The decision depends on the immigration officer upon arrival.
How To Apply For Costa Rica Visa
We mentioned earlier that you will learn the step-by-step process on How to Obtain a Tourist Visa for Costa Rica. In this segment of our discussion, we have outlined and discussed the steps you must follow to apply got Costa Rica Tourist Visa.
There are two ways of applying for a Tourist visa for Costa Rica. Through the Costa Rica Consular Visa or Costa Rica Restricted Visa.
If you are applying through the Costa Rica Consular Visa, follow the steps below:
Step 1 – Contact the Costa Rica consulate for a Costa Rica visa application appointment, you can check here
Step 2 – Submit the required documents as outlined below. Supporting documents may also be required.
Step 3 – Fill in the Costa Rica application form which is available and can be downloaded on the Immigration Department of Costa Rica website.
Step 4 – If required, an appointment date for an interview will be set. You may need to go along with additional documents that the Costa Rica Consulate thinks are necessary.
Step 5 – Wait for the visa to be processed. The visa will be processed only after all the documents are submitted. Also, you will be notified about the decision reached.
Step 6 – Collect your Costa Rica Tourist visa when approved. You will be contacted to come to pick up your approved visa or it can be delivered to you via courier service.
If you are applying through the Costa Rica Restricted Visa, it must be submitted by your family member who is living in Costa Rica or by an appointed attorney.
Restricted visas are issued for family reunions or tourism purposes.
Also, the person applying on your behalf must apply through the Commission of Restricted Visas, by writing a request letter that includes the following details:
- Your personal information (i.e. name, birthdate, etc.)
- Your nationality
- Your occupation
- The purpose of your visit
- How long you will be staying including arrival and departure date from Costa Rica
- Your accommodation itinerary in Costa Rica (including address)
- Address where the Costa Rica visa approval (the nearest Costa Rica consulate)
Requirements For Costa Rica Visa
Furthering our discussion on How to Obtain a Tourist Visa for Costa Rica, there are requirements that you are mandated to meet, this includes vital documents that you are to submit during the visa application process. These are:
- A letter of application addressed to the Costa Rica consulate. It must contain: The purpose of your travel, your personal information, passport number, nationality, place of residence, intended date of arrival and departure from Costa Rica, residential address or hotel reservation, the date, contact information, and finally your signature.
- Your passport is still valid for an additional six months from the date of entry into Costa Rica.
- A complete duplicate (photocopy) of all the pages on your passport.
- Return flight ticket reservation. It is best not to pay for your ticket until your visa application has been approved.
- Two passport-size photos that meet the following specifications:
- The passport size should be 2 inches x 2 inches
- The background should be White
- Neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- No putting on of glasses
- No wearing of a cap or Headgear or anything that will cover your hairline and face is not allowed unless it is for religious purposes and it mustn’t obstruct your face.
- Proof of financial means to meet your needs during your stay in the country. You can provide your bank statements from the last three months, a letter from the employer, of proof of property as evidence of financial means.
- Certificate of police clearance from your country. This is needed in case you have a criminal record.
- Evidence of Yellow Fever Vaccination if you are coming from a place that’s prone to Yellow Fever.
- If you hold a visa or Permanent Resident in another country, provide and submit proof of the visa/Residence Permit.
You need to know that the documents you submit must be translated into Spanish and legalized.
Also, this is a general list of documents that may be required as supporting/other documents may be required as seen fit depending on your case.
How Long Does It Take to Process A Costa Rica Visa?
Knowing how long to process the visa application will help you decide when to apply for a tourist visa application. From what we know, the Costa Rica tourist visa processing time takes about 30 days.
That is why you should apply for the visa early typically 30 days before your due departure date to live in your country of residence in Costa Rica.
How Much Is The Costa Rica Visa Fee?
It is equally important to know the cost of a tourist visa to Costa Rica. The cost of the Costa Rica tourist visa fee is US$52. Nonetheless, the fee is to be paid after your visa has been approved.
Likewise, the visa fee is non-refundable even if your visa application is not approved or if approved and you are denied entry upon your arrival in Costa Rica.
Also, the consulate you are to apply from will notify you of the method of payment and sometimes you may have to make a cash payment at an embassy depending on your circumstance.
Overall, if you have made the payment, ensure you show the receipt as evidence of payment.
From our discussion on How to Obtain a Tourist Visa for Costa Rica, you have been well informed on the visa application process and requirements for the tourist visa as well as the cost of the visa application.
Importantly, your application should be timely and sent not less than 30 days before your scheduled departure to Costa Rica.