Every year, more than one million visitors travel to Costa Rica. To determine the requirements of international travelers, you have to contact the Costa Rican consulate or embassy well in advance of the travel dates.
Travelers from the U.S, Canada, and UK who have a valid passport are allowed to stay without a visa for 90 days. The passport must be valid for six months, beyond the period of intended stay. The passports of UK nationals should be endorsed with British Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas).
New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, and Irish nationals can enter Costa Rica and stay for a period of 30 days without a visa. If they stay beyond the free-visa period, they need to apply for extension of stay. Citizens of all other countries should contact the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in their country to verify whether or not a visa is required.
All travelers should hold an onward/return ticket. Anyone who overstays the visa or entry stamp must pay around $45 for an exit visa. An exit visa from the Immigration Department is required for stays of more than 30 days. No exit permit is required for shorter stays (less than 30 days), if the traveler holds a disembarkation card. The travelers should pay the airport departure tax of US$26, either at the airport or through a travel agent.
If a child is traveling without one or both of the lawful parents, then documentary evidence of child’s relationship with the accompanying traveler should be produced. In the case of pets, a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, taken at least two weeks prior to the travel – is required. The certificate should show the pet’s vaccination against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and rabies.
When in Costa Rica, you must carry a photocopy of the travel documents to avoid unexpected inconveniences. If you lose your passport while in Costa Rica, contact your country’s embassy or consulate to obtain a replacement within 24 hours.