All international travels need proper documents. If you are traveling to Costa Rica, the following guidelines will prepare you for meeting the country’s unique immigration requirements:
Passport and Visa Requirements
A US citizen does not have to apply for a Costa Rican visa in advance. You can simply present your valid passport and show an onward/ outbound/ exit ticket that proves your intention of leaving Costa Rica at the end of your vacation and gets your passport stamped with a 90-day tourist visa.
Validity of Passport – Points to Remember
You may not think that a missing signature on your passport is a big deal because you can always sign it even in front of the immigration officials. But it is if you are visiting Costa Rica. Check the validity of your passport once, twice or, if needed, thrice. Carrying an invalid passport may mean catching the next flight back home. And what makes your passport invalid? The absence of your signature on it, among many other points. We know, what you are thinking right now! I will sign it on the spot. And THAT is precisely what you are not allowed to do. Yes, that’s true. And their argument? You could have stolen the passport from another person. And why aren’t you allowed to sign it right in front of them? According to Costa Rican immigration rules, there is no way to prove that you are not forging the signature of the person from whom you have supposedly stolen the document. Don’t try to convince them to compare the signature with those on your other ID proofs such as driver’s license or credit cards; your logic is plain unwelcome in this context.
The validity of your passport can also be challenged if it’s torn, smudged or otherwise damaged, or if it lacks sufficient space for new stamps.
And of course, there is no question of accepting a passport that has been already expired or about to expire any time during your stay in the country. Technically, nobody can stop you from entering the country if your passport is valid until only the day of arrival. But you will neither be allowed to travel around using an expired passport nor will you be able to return home using one. So, to be on the safe side, renew your passport at least six months before they are scheduled to expire.
Everybody Needs a Passport
Are you traveling with an infant or a minor? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they might not need a passport. Irrespective of their ages, and whether they are accompanied by an adult, everyone needs a valid passport to enter the country.
While planning your vacation, first arrange for a return ticket not only because having an onward or outward ticket is an official requirement but also because officials randomly choose tourists to check if they have one with them. If you don’t want to find yourself headed home instead of the beach, book a return flight in advance.
Does your passport indicate that you have recently been to Asia, Africa, or South America? Then you will have to present the evidence of a yellow fever immunization. A WHO card or a doctor’s letter will just be fine.
Make a Copy of Your Passport
Get a photocopy of your passport with picture, info, and entry stamp pages. Ask your hotel to make an extra copy and give it to you. Store it in a secure place. If your passport is lost or stolen, you will have some information to kick start the replacement process.
Please note that the immigration requirements may change at any time and without any prior notice. Check the official links provided by the Costa Rican government for the latest updates on immigration requirements before catching your flight. And in case you need any assistance concerning a suitable accommodation, call us at 1-844-My-Hills right away.