Residency in Costa Rica

Information on the legal requirements for visiting Costa Rica as well as instructions for non-residents on how to apply for residency...

Residence permit applications are processed by the Department of Immigration and Foreigners (Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería). Residency laws are set out in the Ley General de Migración y Extranjería.

Visas

Citizens of the United States, Canada, and EU countries do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. To enter Costa Rica, they must have a valid passport as well as an outbound ticket to leave Costa Rica (either to their country of origin or to another country).

The passport is stamped on arrival and the immigration stamp in the passport serves as proof of legal status in Costa Rica, allowing a stay of up to 90 days.

Citizens of other countries may be permitted to enter Costa Rica without a visa if they fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • Have permanent residency in the United States, Canada, or EU country
  • Have a student visa, work visa, or tourist visa in the United States, Canada, or an EU country
  • Have refugee status in the United States, Canada, or an EU country

In addition, they must have a valid passport and an outbound ticket to leave the country within 90 days.

Citizens that do not fall into one of the above categories must apply for an entry visa at the Costa Rica representative office in their country of residence. This visa is valid for 30, 60 or 90 days.

  • For information about the visas available and how to apply: Click here