You may have found yourself thinking “Do you need a visa to go to Costa Rica” if you’re planning on taking a trip there. If you’re a national of certain lucky countries, the answer to that question may very well be “No”.

However, that’s not always the case. The Costa Rica visa policy is divided into four groups:

  1. The first group included visa-exempt nationals who are allowed to travel to Costa Rica with just their passport. The passport must be valid for at least one more day from the date of entry into the country.
  2. The second group also includes visa-exempt nationals who are allowed to travel to Costa Rica with just their passport. However, in this case, the passport must be valid for at least three months from the date of arrival.
  3. The third group includes foreign nationals who need a Costa Rica Consular Visa, which must be applied for at a Costa Rica consulate in their country of residence.
  4. The fourth group includes foreign nationals who need a Costa Rica Restricted Visa. This type of visa has to be approved by the Commission of Restricted Visas.

This article will detail the Costa Rica visa policy by country.

Do You Need a Visa for Costa Rica?

You only need a Costa Rica visa if you are from one of the following countries:

Foreign nationals who need a Costa Rica Consular Visa (Third group)

The following countries have to apply for a Costa Rica Consular Visa at a Costa Rica consulate in their country:

Albania Algeria Angola Arab Democratic Armenia
Azerbaijan Bahrain Belarus Benin Bhutan
Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brunei – Darussalam Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Burundi
Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad
Colombia Comoros Democratic Republic of Congo (Former Zaire) Democratic Republic of Laos Djibouti
Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador Egypt Gabon
Gambia Georgia Ghana Guinea Guinea Bissau
India Indonesia Ivory Coast Jordan Kazakhstan
Kenya Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lebanon
Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi
Malaysia Mali Mauritania Moldova Mongolia
Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nepal Nicaragua
Niger Nigeria Oman Pakistan Papua New Guinea
Peru Qatar Republic (Sadr) Republic of Congo Republic of Macedonia
Russian Federation Rwanda Sahrawi Saudi Arabia Senegal
Sierra Leone Sudan Swaziland Taiwan Tajikistan
Thailand Togo Tunisia Turkmenistan Uganda
Ukraine United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam Zambia
Zimbabwe

 

Foreign nationals who need a Costa Rica Restricted Visa (Fourth group)

Nationals from the following countries have to apply for a Costa Rica Restricted Visa, which requires authorization form the Commission of Restricted Visas:

Afghanistan Iran
Bangladesh Iraq
Cuba Jamaica
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Myanmar ( Burma )
Eritrea Palestine
Haiti Somalia
Syrian Arab Republic

 

Who is Exempt from Costa Rica Visas?

The following nationals are exempt from holding a visa when travelling to Costa Rica:

For stays of up to 90 days

Andorra Argentina Australia Austria Bahamas
Barbados Belgium Brazil Bulgaria Canada
Chile Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France Germany Greece
Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Italy
Japan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta Mexico Montenegro Netherlands New Zealand
Northern Ireland Norway Panama Paraguay Poland
Portugal Principality of Monaco Puerto Rico Republic of South Korea Romania
San Marino Serbia Singapore Slovakia Slovenia
South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom of Great Britain United States of America  Uruguay Vatican City State

For stays of up to 30 days

Antigua and Barbuda Belize Bolivia Dominica El Salvador
Federated States of Micronesia Fiji Granada Guatemala Guyana
Honduras Kingdom Of Tonga Kiribati Maldives Marshall Islands
Mauritius Nauru Northern Mariana Islands Palau Philippines
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa Santa Lucia Sao Tome and Principe
Seychelles Solomon Islands Surinam Turkey Tuvalu
Vanuatu Venezuela

Do You Need a Costa Rica Visa if You Already Have a US/Schengen visa?

Visa-required foreign nationals may be exempt from holding a Costa Rica visa if they already have a valid entry visa for one of the following countries:

  • An EU member state
  • A Schengen country
  • USA
  • Canada
  • South Korea
  • Japan

Additionally, foreign nationals on the third and fourth group are exempt from holding a Costa Rica visa if they have a residence permit (not less than six months) for:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • An EU member state

Do US Citizens Need a Visa for Costa Rica?

If you are a US national, and you want to stay in Costa Rica for a period longer than 90 days, you will need a residence permit. You can get a Costa Rica residence permit in two ways:

  • By applying for a provisional visa (student visa, work visa) at a Costa Rica consulate before you travel to Costa Rica or
  • Enter Costa Rica as a tourist and apply after you arrive in the country at the Costa Rican Department of Immigration (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería).

This applies to all the foreign nationals included in group 1 and 2 that are allowed visa-free access to Costa Rica.

What if I Need to Apply for a Costa Rica Visa?

If you need to apply for a visa to Costa Rica, you can review the application steps and requirements here.