Costa Rica is one of the easiest countries to visit for tourists coming from North America, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries. Entry requirements are straightforward and immigration officials are usually friendly and helpful. Travelers from Asian, African and some South American countries may find they need to do some extra work to secure the proper documents for entry but it's usually a simple process.
When arriving in Costa Rica, you need to show your passport (with at least six month validity remaining), a visa (if required), a return ticket (land or air) and some officials may ask for proof that you have access to funds exceeding USD$200 for your trip. When you leave Costa Rica, short-term visitors will be subject to a USD$26 departure tax. If you stay longer than you're allowed, expect to be delayed and questioned when you leave. You may have to pay a fine, possibly be deported and anyone deported from Costa Rica will be unable to return for at least 10 years.
All travelers require a passport to enter Costa Rica but citizens traveling on the following passports are allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa: Canada, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France and dependencies, Germany, Greece, Holland and dependencies, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, United States of America, Czech Republic and Uruguay.
Of course, immigration and tourist regulations change without notice; consult your local Costa Rican embassy or consulate to find out if you will require a visa on your arrival date. And if you have a passport from another country, check to confirm what applications you need to get the appropriate visa.
Special Note: You will also be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from an infected country, no matter what passport you have. Your local Costa Rican embassy or consulate will have the updated list of countries that require this vaccination.
- Property crime and vandalism are common in Costa Rica and visitors should be vigilant to prevent theft and robbery.
- Violent crime against tourists is increasing but is still a rare occurrence.
- There is a low threat from terrorism but there is always a global risk of indiscriminate attacks against foreign travelers.
- Malaria is present in some areas of Costa Rica. Contact your local travel clinic for more information on anti-malaria medication and other vaccinations before you leave.
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