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As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?

Visitors from the following countries are allowed to stay for 90 days without a visa:
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, United States and all European countries EXCEPT Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Visitors from these countries are allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa:
Australia, Belize, China, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, the Philippines and Venezuela.
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What kinds of visas are available?

Student Visas (TRPs): A student TRP allows you to stay in Costa Rica to study at a Costa Rican school or university for a specific period of time, depending on your career goals.

Business Visas/TRPs: The employment TRP is granted to upper management executives, business people, board members of a foreign or international company, ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, technicians, scientists or people who intend to work for a Costa Rican company or an international company with offices in Costa Rica. You will be required to leave Costa Rica upon labor contract expiration.

The company must be accredited by the immigration department of Costa Rica. The company will be 100 percent responsible for your stay as well as for your departure. It takes between 90 and 180 days to process your temporary resident permit request.

Diplomatic Visas: Diplomatic visas are issued to diplomats or officers holding diplomatic passports only. Diplomatic visas are six-month (6-month) multiple-entry visas. It takes one to two days to issue this type of visa.

Official Visas: Official visas are issued to officers holding Official passports, Organization of American States (OAS) passports and Laissez Passers only. Official visas are six-month (6-month) multiple-entry visas. It takes one to two days to issue this type of visa.
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What is required to obtain these visas?

Tourist Visas: You may request a tourist visa by taking the visa request documents in person to the nearest Costa Rican consulate or by mailing the documents – at the consulate’s own discretion – via U.S. priority mail or private courier (FEDEX, DHL, UPS, etc.). Additional requirements apply if you mail the documents.

It takes two (2) business days to issue your visa. Your visa is a 30-day, one-entry visa and once it is issued you will have 30 days within which to use it. If you do not enter Costa Rica during that time, your visa will expire and you will need to get a new one.

Student Visas: The tourist visa will allow you to enter Costa Rica and stay for either 30, 60 or 90 days. Once you enter Costa Rica as a tourist, you will have two choices:

1. Attend school until your tourist-permitted stay expires:
If you come to Costa Rica to take short-term courses, classes or language training programs that require you to stay in Costa Rica for less than 30, 60 or 90 days or your permitted stay, you can just register at the school, pay the tuition and attend classes. Schools do not require you to have a student temporary residence permit.

If your studies require you to stay in Costa Rica a bit longer than your permitted stay, you can cross the border into one of Costa Rica's neighboring countries (ensuring that the port-of-exit official stamps your passport with the exit seal), and then come back into the country. When you re-enter Costa Rica you will be granted another 30, 60 or 90 days to stay as a tourist.

If you are a foreign student who requires visa issuance authorization to get a visa to enter Costa Rica and want to stay longer to finish your studies, you will need to contact the immigration department of Costa Rica and request an extension of stay.

2. File for a temporary residence permit (TRP) and attend school:
If you are pursuing a vocational career, a formal primary or secondary education, a B.A., B.S., MBA or Ph.D. degree at a Costa Rican university/school, it is recommended that you file for a Student Temporary Residence Permit at the immigration department within the first 30, 60 or 90 days of your stay and upon enrollment at a school accredited by the immigration department of Costa Rica.

A student TRP allows you to stay in Costa Rica to study at a Costa Rican school or university for a specific period of time, depending on your career goals. Your TRP must be renewed every time you register for new classes, depending on your school's academic program (two-month terms, three-month terms, four-month terms, six-month terms or annual). It takes between 90 and 180 business days to process your TRP request and issue a reply.

If you try to enter and exit Costa Rica during your studies as suggested in the first choice, you may not be able to obtain your degree because proof of residence is required for all non-Costa Rican citizens at the time that they complete studies and attempt to register as a professional in Costa Rica.

Once your temporary residency permit is approved, you will be required to make a guarantee deposit equal to U.S. $100.00, then take the receipt to the immigration department to pick up your temporary residence permit. You must renew your temporary residency permit every time that you register for new classes. You must bring your renewal application, a certified copy of your transcripts and a current school registration letter to the immigration department.

Business Visas: A tourist visa will allow you to enter Costa Rica and stay for 30, 60 or 90 days. Once you enter Costa Rica as a tourist, you will have two choices:

1. Conduct your business until your tourist permitted stay expires:
Business people who want to enter Costa Rica to do business for a short period of time (less than 90 days) usually enter Costa Rica with a tourist visa and conduct business without getting a temporary residency permit due to time constraints.

If your business will require you to stay in Costa Rica a bit longer than your permitted stay, you can cross the border into one of Costa Rica's neighboring countries (ensuring that the port-of-exit official stamps your passport with the exit seal), and come back into the country. When you re-enter Costa Rica, you will be granted another 30, 60 or 90 days to stay as a tourist.

If you are a business person who requires visa issuance authorization to get a visa to enter Costa Rica and want to stay longer than 30 days, you can file for an extension of stay at the Immigration department of Costa Rica.

2. File for an Employment Temporary Residence Permit (TRP):
The employment TRP is granted to upper management executives, business people, board members of a foreign or international company, ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, technicians, scientist, professionals, or people who intend to work for a Costa Rican company or an international company with offices in Costa Rica. You will be required to leave Costa Rica upon labor contract expiration.

The company must be accredited by the immigration department of Costa Rica. The company will be 100 percent responsible for your stay as well as your departure. It takes between 90 and 180 days to process your temporary resident permit request.

If you are looking for employment in Costa Rica, you can start by posting your resume in the classified advertisements of Costa Rica.

Once your temporary residency permit is approved, you will be required to make a guarantee deposit equal to US $100.00, then take the receipt to the immigration department to pick up your temporary residency permit.

If you are a professional, you will be required to register with the proper professional association in Costa Rica.

Diplomatic Visas: In order to apply for a diplomatic visa, we suggest that the interested person take the following documents to the Consulate General of Costa Rica:

  • A diplomatic passport valid for at least six (6) months.
  • A letter from the embassy or mission of the country of the interested party, addressed to the Embassy of Costa Rica, requesting a diplomatic visa for the interested party.
  • A diplomatic visa issuance notification issued by the Embassy of Costa Rica addressed to the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • If you are a citizen of certain countries, you must submit a letter to the Consul General of the Consulate General of Costa Rica requesting a diplomatic visa issuance notification.

Official Visa: In order to apply for an official visa, we strongly suggest that the interested person take the following documents to the Consulate General of Costa Rica:

  • A passport valid for at least six (6) months.
  • A letter from the embassy or organization of the interested party, addressed to the Embassy of Costa Rica requesting an official visa for the interested party.
  • A visa issuance notification issued by the Embassy of Costa Rica addressed to the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Visa issuance notification.

If you are a citizen of certain countries, you must submit a letter to the Consul General at the Consulate General of Costa Rica requesting a diplomatic visa issuance notification.
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Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
As a Dependent of a Principal Applicant, spouses are not allowed to work. Spouses are allowed to work if they can get a sponsor company on their own to change their immigration status to Principal Applicant.
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What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
You must get a temporary resident identification card (Cedula de Residencia) issued by the immigration department of Costa Rica.
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Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
If you intend to remain in Costa Rica, it is a very good idea to get your Costa Rican driver license. Go to the nearest MOPT office with your current unexpired driver license, your passport with a current entry stamp, a physical examination certificate and cash. For further instructions:
http://www.csv.go.cr/web/cosevi/homologacion-licencias-conducir-extranjera
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What items should I avoid bringing into the country?

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Narcotics and drugs
  • Explosives
  • Used tires
  • Pornographic or subversive material

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Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
Laws are subject to change so always check with the proper authorities to ensure that any information you have is current and valid.
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IMPORTANT NOTE:
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.

 

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