Costa Rica is a captivating destination that beckons travelers from all corners of the globe with its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and abundant wildlife. For those planning to visit this Central American paradise, there's great news on the horizon. As of September 8th, 2023, Costa Rica has introduced a significant update to its tourist visa policy, offering longer stays to tourists from specific countries. This change aims to make Costa Rica even more welcoming to visitors while promoting sustainable tourism and growth.
Extended Stay for Tourists
Under the amended Article 7 of the "General Regulations for Entry and Stay Visas for Non-Residents," tourists belonging to the "first group" of specific countries can now enjoy an extended stay of up to 180 days from their entry date. (This first group which is referred includes: GERMANY, ANDORRA, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, BAHAMAS, BARBADOS, BELGIUM, BRAZIL, BULGARY, CANADA, CROATIA, CHILE, CHIPRE, DENMARK, UAE, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, QATAR, USA, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, HUNGARY, IRELAND, ICELAND, ISRAEL, ITALY, JAPAN, LETONIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITUANIA, LUXEMBURG, MALTA, MEXICO, MONTENEGRO, NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND, NETHERLANDS, PANAMÁ, PARAGUAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, MONACO, SAN MARINO, PERÚ, PUERTO RICO, SERBIA, SOUTH AFRICA, UK, SOUTH KOREA, GREECE, RUMANIA, SANTA SEDE, SINGAPUR, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, UKRAINE, URUGUAY).
Before, the maximum stay was only 90 days. This means that you can savor the beauty of Costa Rica's landscapes, wildlife, and culture for nearly half a year without the need for visa extensions or complicated paperwork.
It's important to note that the exact number of days approved for each person will still be determined by the officer of the General Directorate responsible for entry control.
For travelers initially granted less than 90 days of stay, Costa Rica's updated immigration regulations now allow a one-time extension of up to 90 days. This extension option is a convenient way for tourists to prolong their stay, immerse themselves in the country's wonders, and explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer. However, it's crucial to remember that those initially granted 90 days or more cannot further extend their stay.
Driver's License Updates
If you plan on driving during your stay in Costa Rica, take note that your driver's license from your home country will only be valid for 90 days. Unfortunately the transit laws do not coincide with the immigration laws hence this catch 22. To keep your driver's license current, you will need to exit and re-enter the country every 90 days. So just take a 2 day trip to either the county of Panama or north to Nicaragua and you are good to go for the rest of your time.
Costa Rica's new tourist visa updates, effective as of September 8th, 2023, bring exciting opportunities for travelers to experience this breathtaking destination for longer periods. The extended stay for "first group" tourists and the option to extend short-term stays all contribute to making Costa Rica an even more attractive destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment.
However, it's essential to stay informed about the latest immigration policies and adhere to the rules and guidelines set by Costa Rican authorities. Whether you're drawn to the lush rainforests, stunning beaches, or vibrant culture, Costa Rica welcomes you with open arms and extended visas for an unforgettable experience.