Before you travel, you should always check the Costa Rica passport requirements. In this post, you will learn about Costa Rica entry requirements and Costa Rica passport requirements.
***Due to the coronavirus, Costa Rica entry requirements have changed drastically. Please read our Costa Rica coronavirus and What to know about visiting Costa Rica during a pandemic post for more information***
Costa Rica Passport Requirements
First of all, you need to have your original passport to enter Costa Rica. It has to be signed, must have enough pages for new stamps and cannot have rips, tears, smudges or holes. If you have a poor passport condition, they may reject it.
Costa Rica Passport Expiration Rules
Previously, passports needed to be valid at least 3 months within the expiration date to enter Costa Rica. And that is 3 months to the last day you are in Costa Rica.
However, in 2016, the Costa Rica Immigration changed the rule so that Group 1 (USA, Canada, European Union and other countries) passports need to have at least one day minimum validity. So your passport could expire in one week and you can still enter Costa Rica if you were going to be in the country for only 5 days. But if you stay for more than 7 days, then you will be in trouble.
You aren’t allowed to travel on an expired passport and many tourists tend to overlook the importance of the passport expiration date. They may not realize that if their passport expires while they’re abroad, they will need to apply for an emergency renewal at their embassy or consulate.
Despite this new rule, my personal recommendation is if you can, renew your passport if it’s less than 3 months. The bottom line is that you need to have a passport that is not expiring within 90 days of your travel date.
If you plan to travel to Panama or Nicaragua, your passport has to have more than 6 months validity. Those countries are much more strict.
Tip: Also make a color copy of your passport and bring it with you in case you lose it or it gets stolen. I like to take a photo of my ID page and entry stamp to have on my phone too.
Costa Rica Entry Requirements (COVID-19)
To enter Costa Rica, every tourist has to fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete the epidemiological survey
- Purchase a travel insurance that covers a minimum of $50,000 USD for medical expenses and a minimum of $2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses.
- Tourists can purchase their own international insurance or from either of these two Costa Rican companies: INS and Sagicor.
- For cheaper international policies, we recommend Trawick Safe Travels Voyager or Safe Travel Explorer, which fulfills the Costa Rican requirements for US citizens and residents. If you aren’t a US citizen/resident, they offer an International Policy.
How Long Can I Stay in Costa Rica and Do I Need a Visa?
How long you can stay in Costa Rica will depend on your passport country. Costa Rica separates countries into 4 different groups, each with their own requirements. Additionally, tourist visas range from 30 days to 90 depending on the group.
However, for the pandemic, the number of days given by immigration for a tourist visa will correspond to how many days of insurance you have purchased. The maximum number of days for a tourist visa is 90 days for countries in Group 1.
USA and Canada passport holders
US and Canada passport holders do not need a visa or a consular visa to visit Costa Rica. Their tourist visa is valid for 90 days. Their passports needs to be valid at least one day upon the arrival date. Visitors will receive a stamp in their passport in immigration from the agent and a written number of how many days they are allowed in the country.
Below you will find the list of entry requirements to Costa Rica for the 4 groups and how long each one can stay in the country.
Costa Rica Immigration
You can read this post on how to go through customs and immigration in Costa Rica (airport).
Costa Rica Embassy Website
To find out all the details for entry requirements to Costa Rica, make sure you check the Costa Rica embassy of your passport country for the most up to date information.