Do you need a visa to go to Costa Rica

Do you need a visa to go to Costa Rica? This is one question you may ask yourself if you already have your mind set on visiting the Caribbean Islands soon. 

Planning a vacation requires a lot of effort, and one of the key items to plan for is your visa application. You need to know whether you need a visa or not to travel to Costa Rica; the good news is that we have all the answers you need, so keep reading to learn more.

Visa Exempt Countries

There are 97 nationalities whose citizens do not need visas to visit Costa Rica. To be visa-exempt means to be free from showing a visa at the point of entry, and Visa-exempt visitors only need to show a valid passport, and they will be free to enter the Island.

You can enter and stay for 90 days if you are from a visa-exempt country. Spending 90 days of fun in paradise is an experience that will be worth your while.

Do you Need A Visa To Go To Costa Rica?

Based on the above explanation, you do not need a visa to go to Costa Rica unless you are not from a visa-exempt country. Your nationality will determine whether you need a visa or not.

Who Else Doesn't Need A Visa?

There are categories of travelers who do not need visas regardless of whether they come from visa-free countries or not. This category is those with valid resident permits or multiple entry visas. If you have valid permits or visas from the United States, Canada, or a European Union country, you can show them at the entry point, and the officers will not request a visa for entry.

What To Do If You Are Not From A Visa Exempt Country?

If you are not from a visa-exempt country and don't have a valid residency permit or visa, you must apply for a Costa Rican visa before you travel. To start the process, you must gather all the documents for processing and submit them to the Costa Rican embassy. If there is no embassy in your country or a city near you, the next option is to apply to a visa application center.

Please inquire about your city's licensed visa application center and submit your application to them. They will help with your application from start to finish.

Costa Rica Visa Policy

Most visitors coming to Costa Rica do so as a tourist and must meet the visa guidelines. A tourist visa allows the visitor to stay on the Island for 90 days with the exception of extending their stay, but only if they meet some conditions. The visa policy is divided into four groups which we explain below.

Group 1: Those in this group are visa-exempt visitors who only require their passports to enter Costa Rica. The requirement is that their passport must be valid before their departure date. If it expires before or on the day of their departure, they will be allowed into the Island; if your passport expires before leaving, endeavor to apply for a new passport before traveling.

Group 2: This second group is for those who belong to the visa-exempt list of visitors. They can still travel to Costa Rica without a visa, only their passport, but there is a catch. While the first group must possess passports that expire after their departure, this second group must show passports valid at least three months before their arrival date. Anything below three months will not be accepted.

Group 3: This group is for those who require visas to enter Costa Rica. If you are in this category, you must apply for a visa at the Costa Rica embassy from your country. You can only embark on the trip after the visa is issued. Travelers in this category are not from visa-exempt countries.

Group 4: This fourth group is for those who require a restricted visa to enter Costa Rica. Restricted visas are issued by a special agency called the Commission for Restricted Visas, and only travelers that meet special conditions are issued this visa.

These are the four groups of visitors allowed into Costa Rica, so review all four and choose the one which best applies to your situation.  

Visa Requirements

In case you require a visa, here are the requirements to remember.

  • A valid passport that remains active for the next six months from the time you arrive

  • A return ticket back to your country after your trip

  • Yellow fever vaccine proof if you are from South America or Africa

  • Financial statement to show that you can afford a $100 monthly expense

So do you need a visa to go to Costa Rica? The answer will depend on your nationality, as explained in this article.

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    This article was published by VisaHQ, a world leader in visa processing. Since 2003, VisaHQ has 20 offices in 6 countries and has helped countless tourist, business travellers, diplomats, workers, and students obtain their visa. With a 4.41 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.