Guide to Costa Rica: Documents |

Guide to Costa Rica: Documents

Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of completion of your visit and you should have at least one blank page.

UK and US passport holders currently do not need visas for Costa Rica.

Flying via the United States

If you are flying via the USA you must have a machine-readable passport otherwise you will need a full visa. If you have a line of chevrons and numbers on the photo page of your passport then it is machine-readable.

If you have not entered the USA within the last couple of years you will be asked to provide a scan of all 10 fingers (light scan, so at least no mess). Those who have previously entered the USA will only be asked to scan one finger.

Before you travel you must fill out a copy of the Visa Waiver Form.

Follow links for ESTA (electronic system for travel authorisation).

You MUST fill out the form at least 3 days ahead of travel, regardless of whether you have a machine-readable passport.

Currently (as at late 2009) despite being obliged to complete the ESTA process, you will also be asked to fill in the paper visa waiver form.

It doesn’t make any sense but there are currently two identical systems, one paper, one electronic, running to capture the exact same information.

Don’t complain, don’t ask why, just take a deep breath and follow the rules.

Wise precautions

Before departure from home, please obtain two photocopies of the information pages of your passport and other travel documents, keeping one set in a different place from that of the originals.

A good idea is to scan a copy of your passport into your computer, should you lose your passport you have a copy which can be emailed to you. Although an emailed copy is not a legal document it may aid your application to get a new passport and visas quicker.

Your passport is your most valuable and important document when travelling, it should always be carried with you under your clothing in a small cotton pouch or money belt.

NEVER store your passport in any part of your luggage! You may need to show your passport when checking into hotels, changing money. We suggest that you deposit your passport in the hotel safe while in cities and carry a photocopy of it around as identification.

Ready to explore for yourself?

Discover Costa Rica on a Pura Aventura trip! A cloudforest one minute, the tropics the next – Costa Rica has ecological diversity unlike any other. It has head turning wildlife literally everywhere, from humming birds over breakfast to sea turtles at night. But we also love Costa Rica for being just such fantastic fun…

Find out more