Costa Rica announces new 180-day entry visas


Image reflecting plane and passport with the text Costa Rica announces new 180-day entry visas.

Effective Friday, September 8, 2023, entry visas for Group One Country tourists entering Costa Rica will, at the discretion of the customs officers, be granted a 180-day visa stamp. It is a privilege. Not a right.

Here again is the crucial paragraph: (Translated)

The Regulations for the Granting of Visas were reformed on June 15, 2023, regarding entry to Costa Rica (articles 7, paragraph 1) v 8), as well as the Immigration Regulations {number 156), increasing the maximum stay for non-residents in the tourism subcategory (Tourist Visa) from 90 to 180 days, for people from countries in the first group countries according to the General Guidelines for Entry and Permanence Visas for Non-Residents.


U.S.A., Canada, UK, Angora, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of South Korea, San Marino, Serbia, South Africa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland.


  1. You must have a valid passport with at least one day of validity remaining. (It is always best to renew passports before six months expiry). You must also show a return ticket (air, water, or ground transportation) proving that you will leave the country within the visa period of 180 days. Therefore, whatever you book for an exit trip, make it for day 180. Otherwise, some customs officer in a bad mood might only grant you the number of days between your entrance date and the date of your outward-bound ticket. Conversely, a trip booked beyond the 180 days is a tip-off to the officer that you intend to overstay your visa. Not good. Use common sense.

    Although that has not necessarily been the general practice with the previous 90-day visas.

    I have heard from many clients crossing back into Costa Rica by land from Nicaragua or Panama say that they were not even asked to show such a return ticket. In such a situation, if you get caught off guard, there are ticket wickets nearby where you can buy a bus ticket to placate the customs officer. But best to be fully compliant and have that done ahead of time.

    Also, when you step up to an airline counter for your boarding pass to board a plane destined for Costa Rica, you will be asked to show either a residency card, citizenship card or an outward-bound ticket. Otherwise, you won’t get on the plane. They are bound by law to insist on such proofs. ($100,000 fine to the airline for non-compliance). These outward-bound ticket rules apply to all civilized countries around the world. Nothing unique to Costa Rica.
  2. If you have overstayed your previous visa, then when you come back into Costa Rica, the amount of days you will be granted on your entry into Costa Rica will be 180 days, minus the amount of days overstay. Not for certain, but the customs officer will have that discretion.
  3. These new visa extensions are now extended to driver’s license validity.  For more on that please see the separate posting here.