Entering Costa Rica Legally

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The information presented here is tailored towards the individual that wants to immigrate to Costa Rica, but actually has no business/organizational pretext for moving to or being there.  In other words, it’s for someone that simply would like to immigrate to Costa Rica.

For Canadian and American citizens, a visa is not required for entry into Costa Rica.  If you are of one of these two nationalities, consider yourself one lucky prospective immigrant.  Just have a valid passport and a clean criminal record.

For all other candidates, the visa process is mandatory.  The Costa Rican government doesn’t make it difficult to obtain a visa.  They confer a wide variety of visas, which you can browse on their official immigration website.  Or simply view the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 5.47.03 PM

The turn-around time for the administrative review of the visa application is within 30 days.  This makes the Costa Rican visa process highly streamlined, as it’s common for visa applications to take up to 3 – 6 months in other countries.

The only real challenge to the visa applicant is to prove what the Costa Rican government calls “financial solvency.”  Proving financial solvency is to prove that you have the means to sustain yourself financially.

Within the context of certain visa categories, the Costa Rican government does allow for proof of financial solvency through businesses, other organizations, and even individuals, willing to vouch for or assume responsibility for you.

Bringing along minors comes under the “exceptional visa,” and doesn’t seem to complicate the process at all, but it’s worth noting two stipulations.

The person requesting on behalf of the minor must first be an approved applicant his/herself.  Otherwise, the individual cannot legally make the request for the minor.

If you are bringing along a minor that has been party to a divorce, the parent staying behind is not granted all benefits and rights normally applicable.

The Costa Rica entry requirements are simple and non-excessive.  Below are the main qualifiers in order of consideration.

•     Clean Criminal Record

•     Birth Certificate

•     Passport

•     Visa (Canadians & Americans Are Exempt)

Legally, most documents will specify that you correspond directly with the Consul of Costa Rica, but there are other official institutions such as the Costa Rican General Directorate of Immigration and other international embassies to help facilitate.  You may apply in person or online, if your home country allows for application submission through electronic portals.  While I didn’t read anywhere that applying through the mail is accepted, I would assume that is an option as well.

One thought on “Entering Costa Rica Legally

  1. I run at 5:00 am, 3 miles, from 3 to 4 times a week ..My entire exreicse is very early in the morning, everyday. What do you suggest I should eat?? Should I eat before I run????or after???? ..All a eat is a tuna cheese sandwich with a dietary sumnelpept for muscle growth.

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