How to obtain a tourist visa for Costa Rica?

Tural Abbasov 21 July 2021 267 views 5 min. read

Where would you travel to if you had a chance to go anywhere in the world? Well, for all the readers who are still not so sure how to answer this question, no need to worry, we have a perfect recommendation for you, one of the most exciting destinations in the Caribbean, Costa Rica! Costa Rica is a Central American country that is one of the most popular worldwide tourist destinations. The north part has a border with Nicaragua, while to the south, it shares a border with Panama. Costa Rica is one of the world's most biologically diverse countries, with around 5% of the world's species. The country's rich, untamed natural environment may be found all around it. San Jose, the country's capital, is home to cultural institutions such as the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Also, do not forget to check out the Caribbean coast for something entirely different, with its tranquil seas and diverse fauna. Now that we have looked at some of the main reasons you should be heading to Costa Rica, you should be dealing with one more thing before packing your luggage and hopping on the plane. We will mainly talk about Costa Rica tourist visas and answer questions such as "How difficult is it to get a Costa Rica tourist visa?" and "How much is a visa to Costa Rica?". First of all, do you need a visa to visit Costa Rica? In order to answer your question, we can simply separate all the nationalities into two big groups like the ones that need to obtain a visa before they visit this magnificent country, and the second group of nationalities is visa-exempt countries. For example, do you need a visa to visit Costa Rica if you are a citizen of the United States of America? No, for American passport holders and most European citizens, a visa to Costa Rica is not required. However, they must have a valid passport and a return ticket to leave Costa Rica within 90 days. But to check the whole list and find specifically the name of your country on the list, do not forget to visit the visa policy section on our website. It is also worth mentioning the fact that besides citizens of those countries listed, holders of a valid tourist visa from the United States of America or Canada that is valid for at least six months upon your arrival to Costa Rica, and as well as holders of a valid residence permit from the United States of America, Canada, or European Union countries are not obliged to get a visa before their trip to the country. Also, bear in mind that this exception does not apply to travellers holding a refugee status in one of the named countries/regions above. In all cases, regardless of your nationality for entering the country, you will need a couple of documents. First of all, a return or onward ticket, proof of economic solvency, at least $100 per day, and a valid passport in good condition are required for entry into Costa Rica.

Costa Rica visa policy

costa rica flag waving

To simplify the whole process for you, let us start by saying that all Costa Rican visas can be separated into two groups for short- and long-term visits. Costa Rican short-stay visas are valid for 90 days. If a person wishes to stay in Costa Rica for longer than 90 days, they must apply for a residency permit. If you wish to apply for a Costa Rica Residence Permit, you must first get an appropriate short-stay Costa Rica visa and then apply for a Residence Permit in the Immigration Department after entering Costa Rica. One of the most popular and frequently applied short-term visa types is a tourist visa. However, there are other visa types like student, researcher, teacher, and volunteer visas. Let me remind you, not everyone who wants to visit Costa Rica needs a tourist visa, and as we have mentioned above, it all depends on your nationality, the purpose of visit, home country, and length of stay. International agreements or treaties dictate the need for a visa. However, the visa does not ensure entrance to Costa Rica, which, like in the United States, is at the discretion of the immigration officer upon arrival. Now that we have made our mind that we specifically need a tourist visa for our visit. So, what are the Costa Rica tourist visa requirements? Most importantly, you will be asked to provide a completed and signed application form. Secondly, three images need to be submitted. The photo should be in passport format, with a bright backdrop and a current whole-face shot. Very importantly, it must be coloured and 3.5 by 4.5 inches in size, with the head taking up 70-80% of the image. You must have a neutral facial expression and be staring directly at the camera with no expression on your face. One of the most important Costa Rica tourist visa requirements is a passport with a photocopy of the front page but remember that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your return from Costa Rica, and there must be at least two blank pages in it. Apostilled and translated into English or Spanish criminal record certificate from the previous six months is also required.

How to get a visa to Costa Rica?

luggage at the airport

According to tourist visa rules Costa Rica, when you visit the country as a tourist, you must also showcase proof of accommodation. Your valid hotel booking for the duration of your trip with the actual dates of your stay, hotel's name, complete address, and important details should be added to the booking confirmation; however, if you are going to stay in a private house or your friend's home, you should submit a copy of the homeowner's resident card and fill out the address on the application form if you are residing in a private residence. Also, do not forget that the embassy may request further documentation, as well. So, how difficult is it to get a Costa Rica tourist visa? Usually, if you follow the guidelines provided for you and all of your documents, getting a visa to Costa Rica is pretty simple. On a usual basis, a Costa Rica short-stay visa for tourism purposes typically takes up to 30 calendar days to be completely processed and sent to you. However, it is also worth mentioning that processing time might differ slightly as it is solely dependent on the nation from which you are applying for a visa. And how much is a visa to Costa Rica? The cost of a Costa Rican short-stay visa varies between $30 and $50, but as it was with the processing time, the charge may differ based on your nationality or the country where you submit your application, too. You will apply for a Costa Rica short-stay visa at any Costa Rica visa application facility or embassies in your home country, whichever is the responsible institution that accepts visa applications. However, if none exist in your country, you must apply to the embassy or consulate closest to your location, usually located in neighboring countries. beautiful aerial view costa rica However, there is a very high chance that after seeing Costa Rica and all its breath-taking beauty, you might not want to go back, and in this case, you will need to go through a simple procedure. As we have already mentioned, this tourist visa is only valid for 90 days so, if you want to stay in the country for a longer term than 90 days, then, in this case, you should apply for a Costa Rica tourist visa extension. But how does the process even go? You can apply to the Immigration Office if you wish to stay in Costa Rica for longer than 90 days. Through Costa Rica tourist visa extension, you will be able to get a residence permit card. Interestingly enough, the Costa Rica Temporary Residence Permit is valid for two years. In short, if you entered Costa Rica with a tourist visa or simply any short-term visa, you could convert your status to Temporary Resident by applying to the Costa Rican Immigration Office. And this process will cost you around 200 USD in this situation. The grounds for seeking temporary residence in Costa Rica should be stated in the request letter that needs to be submitted as one of the requirements to obtain a residence permit. The applicant's full name and last name, nationality, age, occupation, present residence, and place of birth must all be included.

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