VisaGuide » North America » Costa Rica Visa » Who Needs a Visa?
Complete list of countries that are exempt from obtaining a visa to go to Costa Rica

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:

AlbaniaAlgeriaAngolaArab DemocraticArmenia
AzerbaijanBahrainBelarusBeninBhutan
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBrunei – DarussalamBurkina Faso (Upper Volta)Burundi
CambodiaCameroonCape VerdeCentral African RepublicChad
ColombiaComorosDemocratic Republic of Congo (Former Zaire)Democratic Republic of LaosDjibouti
Dominican RepublicEast TimorEcuadorEgyptGabon
GambiaGeorgiaGhanaGuineaGuinea Bissau
IndiaIndonesiaIvory CoastJordanKazakhstan
KenyaKosovoKuwaitKyrgyzstanLebanon
LesothoLiberiaLibyaMadagascarMalawi
MalaysiaMaliMauritaniaMoldovaMongolia
MoroccoMozambiqueNamibiaNepalNicaragua
NigerNigeriaOmanPakistanPapua New Guinea
PeruQatarRepublic (Sadr)Republic of CongoRepublic of Macedonia
Russian FederationRwandaSahrawiSaudi ArabiaSenegal
Sierra LeoneSudanSwazilandTaiwanTajikistan
ThailandTogoTunisiaTurkmenistanUganda
UkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUzbekistanVietnamZambia
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:

AfghanistanIran
BangladeshIraq
CubaJamaica
Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaMyanmar ( Burma )
EritreaPalestine
HaitiSomalia
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

AndorraArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBahamas
BarbadosBelgiumBrazilBulgariaCanada
ChileCroatiaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmark
EstoniaFinlandFranceGermanyGreece
HungaryIcelandIrelandIsraelItaly
JapanLatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourg
MaltaMexicoMontenegroNetherlandsNew Zealand
Northern IrelandNorwayPanamaParaguayPoland
PortugalPrincipality of MonacoPuerto RicoRepublic of South KoreaRomania
San MarinoSerbiaSingaporeSlovakiaSlovenia
South AfricaSpainSwedenSwitzerlandTrinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom of Great BritainUnited States of America UruguayVatican City State 

For stays of up to 30 days

Antigua and BarbudaBelizeBoliviaDominicaEl Salvador
Federated States of MicronesiaFijiGranadaGuatemalaGuyana
HondurasKingdom Of TongaKiribatiMaldivesMarshall Islands
MauritiusNauruNorthern Mariana IslandsPalauPhilippines
Saint Kitts and NevisSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSanta LuciaSao Tome and Principe
SeychellesSolomon IslandsSurinamTurkeyTuvalu
VanuatuVenezuela   

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.

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