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Travel Requirements for Costa Rica

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Contacting the Costa Rican consulate is the first step necessary to make sure you have all the travel requirements and entry documents necessary. An updated passport is the main document you’ll need for international travel. The requirements for visiting Costa Rica vary from country to country. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and most European nations may visit Costa Rica for a maximum of 90 days and no visa is necessary. Citizens of Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand can enter the country without a visa and stay for 30 days. In both cases, visitors can apply for an extension once they are in the country. There are also cases of other countries whose citizens can stay for 30 days but need a visa and some that have restricted visas. Citizens of all other countries should confer with the Costa Rican embassy or consulate nearest them to verify whether they are required to obtain a visa prior to entrance.

Everyone must have a valid passport that will not expire for at least six months of the entry date to Costa Rica, and a departure ticket either returning to their place of origin, or going on to another country. There are special procedures for minors at entry and exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of the child's relationship to the accompanying parents or permission for the child's travel if one or both of the parents are not with them. Everyone must pay a US$26 airport tax upon departure. This can be paid for at the airport (be ready for long lines). If a person overstays their visa, they will be required to purchase an exit visa for a larger amount when they leave (this fee waives the standard airport tax). Note that most travel agents can issue an exit visa for a nominal processing fee. This service is well worth the cost, as obtaining an exit visa yourself will likely keep you standing in lines for the better half of a day. When in Costa Rica, always carry a photocopy of your travel documents in case you need to identify yourself, but keep the originals in your hotel room safety box or in the hotel safe. In the untimely event that you lose your passport, contact your country’s embassy or consulate. They will most likely be able to replace your passport and get you an exit visa within 24 hours.

The requirement for entering Costa Rica with a pet is having a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. The examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to traveling. The required vaccinations are: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and rabies. Customs allows visitors entering Costa Rica to bring in 500 grams of tobacco, 5 liters of liquor, and US$500 in merchandise. Cameras, computers, and electronic equipment for personal use are permitted duty free. Before you make the trip to Costa Rica, always contact your nearest embassy or consulate. They will have up to date information about inoculations and warnings, and they can answer any questions that you may have. Take the time to do that extra bit of research and you’ll avoid unexpected inconveniences.

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