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Entry Requirements to Travel Costa Rica

Costa Rica has reopened its air borders, allowing tourists and residents to travel in and out of the country. Please keep in mind everyone must comply with the entry requirements established, per category, otherwise you

Costa Rica has reopened its air borders, allowing tourists and residents to travel in and out of the country. Please keep in mind everyone must comply with the entry requirements established, per category, otherwise you will not be allowed in. Every single traveler, including children, must meet the entry requirements. The law makes no distinction regarding children.

We offer a summary of the requirements per category to make your planning easier and safer. Remember that some nationalities are restricted and need a visa, you can read more about this topic here.

Costa Rican Nationals & Residents  

People under these categories may enter the country via air, land, river, or maritime borders. This includes:

  • Costa Rican Nationals

  • Temporary Residents

  • Permanent Residents

  • People with Special Categories or Estancias

  • People with approved Residencies that are yet to process their DIMEX cards

 If you are included in any of the categories mentioned above, you must present the following documentation:

  1. Valid passport.

  2. Valid DIMEX or approval resolution (not applicable to Costa Rican nationals).

    • Valid DIMEX card or, if expired after December 18, 2019, we would suggest carrying a copy of Resolution N° DJUR-0105-07-2020-JM that has extended the validity of the cards until January 11, 2021, for Residents and Special Categories and until February 12, 2021, for Estancias that expired after March 17, 2020.

    • Approval resolution stating that the Residency has been approved. For Temporary Residents and Special Categories, only resolutions notified after December 18, 2019, onwards will be accepted. Resolutions notified prior to that will need to enter as tourists, For Estancias, the notification must have been received after March 18, 2020, onwards.

    • People with Permanent Residency that have expired DIMEX cards can still enter using that card. Identically, people who received an approval Resolution for Permanent Residency prior to December 18, 2019, can still use this Resolution to enter as a Resident.

  1. Prove that the CAJA is up to date or that you hold valid insurance with a minimum coverage of 22 days. This applies to every person trying to enter, including Resident spouses and children (not applicable to Costa Rican nationals). Please note:

    • Regarding CAJA – If your spouse is the main applicant and he/she is registered in CAJA and pays every month, that does not mean that the dependents’ CAJAs are up to date. They can appear as suspended in the system. You can check the system here and carry a print-out, per person, of the results along with the payment receipt of the CAJA payment. If you are entering in September, you can carry the payment receipt for September.

    • Regarding Insurance – If your CAJA is not up to date, you will have the option of securing insurance with a minimum coverage of 22 days. Insurance offered by the National Insurance Institute (INS) and Sagicor complies with these exigencies. The lodging exceptions mentioned in the section Insurance Matters will apply.

    • Residents who enter using Insurance and not CAJA, will have these 22 natural days to visit the corresponding CAJA/EBAIS/Clinic to get their CAJA up to date. The Immigration Police will be in charge of supervising that Residents comply with this obligation. Failure to update the CAJA within these 22 natural days will result in the cancellation of the Residency.

  1. Complete the Health Pass. The link for the Health Pass can be found here. The Health Pass must be completed 48 hours prior to entering the country.

  2. Costa Rican nationals can present just a passport or cedula. Immigration may accept other documents such as a birth certificate.

  3. Nationals, Residents, people with Estancia or Special Categories entering the country through our land, river, or maritime borders, except those who enter by yacht or sailboat, will be required to complete a mandatory 14-natural day quarantine period.

If you have a specific question regarding the Health Pass, you can reach out to pasedesalud@misalud.go.cr

Entry-bans will not apply for Residents who comply with the requirements mentioned above. Residents will be notified of an entry ban upon departure, but if they comply with the requirements mentioned above, that entry ban will be lifted and the person will be allowed to enter. 

Tourists & People with Applications in Progress

People under these categories may enter the country via air (Juan Santamaría Airport or Daniel Oduber Quirós Airport) or through one of our maritime borders (Golfito, Los Sueños, Pez Vela, Banana Bay y Papagayo*). This category includes:

  • Tourists

  • People with applications in progress, meaning people who have a process filed at Immigration, yet to be approved.

If you are under any of the categories mentioned above, you must present the following documentation:

  1. Insurance that covers hospitalization and accommodation in case you require quarantine due to COVID19. Insurance offered by the National Insurance Institute (INS) and Sagicor complies with these exigencies. The lodging exceptions mentioned in the section Insurance Matters will apply.

  2. Valid passport.

  3. Round-trip ticket or reservation showing an eventual departure from Costa Rica via air.

  4. Complete the Health Pass, one per family can be completed. The link for the Health Pass can be found here. The Health Pass must be completed 48 hours prior to entering the country.

  5. If the foreign national has a restricted nationality (you can read further on the matter here) and requires a visa to enter Costa Rica, he/she will not be allowed to enter unless he/she presents a valid US, EU, or Canadian visa (please refer to the article pertaining to restricted nationalities). This cannot be a transit visa.

If you have a specific question regarding the Health Pass, you can reach out to pasedesalud@misalud.go.cr

*The rules for entry via maritime borders has a special set of rules. Please reach out to us if further information is needed.

Special Notes for minor Children of Costa Rican Nationals or Residents

Minor children of Costa Rican nationals or Residents who do not have Residency or legal status in the country will be allowed to enter accompanied by their parents, through any of the borders. This includes air, land, river, or maritime borders.

The pertinent birth certificate to show the link between the child and the Costa Rican or Resident parent will be mandatory. The document must be in English or Spanish. Documents in any other language will require an official translation. 

Children who have restricted nationalities but are children of Costa Rican nationals or Residents will still be allowed to enter, even if they lack the Consular entry visa.

We suggest that the child meets the rest of the entry requirements such as the insurance and that their Health Pass is completed to avoid any delays or inconveniences at the port of entry.

Insurance Matters  

Regarding insurance, the insurance should cover you for the duration of your stay. The way this is currently calculated is by using the round-trip ticket or reservation. Hence, if you enter using a round-trip ticket or reservation showing a stay of 2 months, the insurance shall cover you for those 2 months.

The maximum coverage that you will receive, per the information shared by insurance companies, is 90 days which is the maximum stay, for most nationalities, under a tourist entry stamp (even though the validity of certain entry stamps have been extended until March 02, 2020). In conclusion, they will base the insurance coverage on the duration of stay per the round-trip ticket or reservation.

Per ICT’s confirmation, if a foreign national will enter the country with international insurance, it is essential that sufficient documentation is provided (in English or Spanish) to ensure that the policy guarantees:

  1. Coverage for medical expenses in case of contracting COVID19. The insurance policy shall cover you for at least $50,000 USD in medical expenses.

  2. A minimum coverage of $2,000 USD for lodging.

Alternatively, the INS or Sagicor insurance can be purchased.

Many expats have reached out regarding lodging coverage asking if it is plausible to avoid this part of the insurance if they have a house or a rental in Costa Rica. We called the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and received written confirmation on September 1st  stating that this will be possible however, they also clarified that this is not supported by any Decree, Resolution, or Circular. 

This means that if you wish to enter using proof that you have a home or a rental (it must be for more than 1 month, in your name. It cannot be an Airbnb or similar), we cannot assure you that it will be accepted since this is not supported, in writing, by any current ruling or law. ICT’s written confirmation is not equivalent to a Decree, Resolution, or Circular. We know of some people who have already entered this way; however, the situation is so unstable at the airport that we cannot assure you a smooth entry. Ultimately, if the documentation you provide is not enough, you can purchase the insurance upon arrival.

Residents Entering with Outdated CAJAS

Residents whose CAJAs are not up to date may enter the country by purchasing insurance with a minimum coverage of 22 days. Upon entry, Immigration will issue these Residents a notice stating that they have 22 natural days to update all CAJA matters, per family member. Failure to comply with this instruction will result in the cancellation of your Residency.

For minor children, as long as the parents appear to be duly registered in CAJA, the children’s CAJA coverage will be deemed up to date. The CAJA system that Immigration and the ICT check is this one: https://sfa.ccss.sa.cr/servMedicos/validarDerechos.do. Try searching by name only. This will inform you if your CAJA, and every family member’s CAJA, is up to date.

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ibrenes@outlierlegal.com

Attorney with more than 10 years of experience in customer service, team management and team building at an international level. Has worked immigration cases in various countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.

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