Before you travel, you should always check the Costa Rica passport requirements as that is the traveler’s responsibility. Find out if you need a visa and other immigration rules before you hop on that plane. You don’t want to accidentally overstay or buy your ticket just to find out you need to apply for a visa.
Luckily, Costa Rica does not require a visa for many countries. Here is what you need to know about the Costa Rica passport requirements. Make sure to check this as the first step in your Costa Rica trip planning.
This post has been updated 2018. Make sure to check Costa Rica Immigration for the latest updates.
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. I would personally not travel to Costa Rica if my passport was that close to expiring. 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.
Other Costa Rica Immigration Requirements
Every visitor is required to have a valid ticket out of the Costa Rica within the number of their tourist visa. Additionally, they have to show proof they have $100 for every month they are in Costa Rica. Even though the immigration agent may not ask for either of those things, all visitors need to have them.
For the ticket out of Costa Rica, while some people say a bus ticket is fine, an airplane ticket is the guaranteed no problem proof. They do not normally ask you for your ticket at the airport but they will ask you how long you are in Costa Rica for. If you are doing a land crossing either from Nicaragua or Panama, the agent will ask for your printed plane ticket out of the country.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Entry Requirements to Costa Rica
Can enter Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa. You must also be able to show you have at least $300 USD ($100 per month).
LITHUANIA, ANDORRA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA*, AUSTRIA, BAHAMAS, BARBADOS, BELGIUM, BRAZIL, BULGARIA, CANADA, CROATIA, CHILE, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FRANCE *, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, LATVIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MALTA, MEXICO, MONACO (PRINCIPALITY OF), MONTENEGRO, NORWAY*, NEW ZEALAND*, NETRHERLANDS (THE HOLLAD)*, PANANMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, POLAND, PORTUGAL, PUERTO RICO, QATA, ROMANIA, SAN MARINO, SERBIA, SINGAPORE, SOUTH AFRICA, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAN AND NORTHERN IRELAND**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA*, URUGUAY, VATICAN
* Territories are treated equally
** Includes England, Wales and Scotland
Citizens with these passports can enter Costa Rica for 30 days without a visa.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, BELIZE, BRUNEI, BOLIVIA, DOMINICA, EL SALVADOR*, FIJI GRENADA, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, HONDURAS, KAZAKHSTAN, KIRIBATI, MALAYSIA, MARSHALL ISLANDS, MAURITIUS, MICRONESIA, NAURU, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS, PALAU, PHILIPPINES, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, SAINT LUCIA, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, SAMOA, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE, SEYCHELLES, SOLOMON ISLANDS, SURINAM, TAIWAN, TONGA, TUVALU, TURKEY, UKRAINE, VANATU, VENEZUELA
Must apply for a consular visa. Visa lasts up to 30 natural days and can ask for an extension to ninety. Passport has to be valid in more than 6 months of expiration.
ALBANIA, ANGOLA, ARGELIA, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, BAHRAIN, BENIN, BELARUS, BHUTAN, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO (ALTO VOLTA), BURUNDI, CAPE VERDE, CAMBODIA, CAMEROON, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CHAD, COLOMBIA, CONGO (REPUBLIC OF), CONGO (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF, AFTER ZAIRE), COTE D’IVOIRE, COMOROS, CHINA, DIJIBOUTI, DOMINICA REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, EGYPT, GABON, GAMBIA, GEORGIA, GHANA, GUINEA, GUINEA BISSAU, INDIA, INDONESIA, JORDAN, KENYA, KYRGYZSTAN, KOSOVO, KUWAIT, LAOS, LEBANON, LESOTHO, LIBERIA, LIBYA, MACEDONIA, MADAGASCAR, MALAWI, MALI, MAURITANIA, MOLDOVA, MONGOLIA, MOROCCO, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMBIA, NEPAL, NICARAGUA*, NIGER, NIGERIA, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, RWANDA, SAHRAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, SAUDI ARABIA, SENEGAL, SIERRA LEONE, SUDAN (NORTH), SUDAN (SOUTH), SWAZILAND, TANANIA, TAJIKISTAN, THAILAND, TIMOR-LESTE, TOGO, TUNISIA, TURKMENISTAN, UGANDA, UZBEKISTAN, VIETNMA, YEMEN, ZAMBIA ZIMBABWE
Citizens with passports must apply for a consular restricted visa before entering the country. The visa is valid for 30 days. Can extend up to 90 and passport must be more than 6 months of expiration.
AFGHANISTAN, BANGLADESH, CUBA, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, HAITI, IRAN, IRAK, JAMAICA, MYANMAR (AFTER BIRMIANIA), NORTH KOREA, PALESTINE, SYRIA, SOMALIA, SRI LANKA
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.