Excerpted from Living Abroad in Costa Rica
Do I need a visa? What about my kids?
North Americans and most Europeans don’t need a visa to visit
Costa Rica. Just make sure your passport is up-to-date and will
have at least three months remaining at the time you enter the country.
To check if you'll need a visa to enter Costa Rica, visit the Costa
Rican Embassy web page.
When you arrive, you’ll automatically get a stamp on your
passport that’s good for a three-month stay. If you need to
stay longer, see Life
as a perpetual tourist.
What about my kids?
Non-Costa Rican Children
In an effort to foil traffic in human beings (child prostitution
rings often operate internationally) and to prevent international
child abduction, many governments have special rules for minors
entering and exiting their countries. Costa Rica officially requires
evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from
the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. In Costa Rica, if one
parent enters Costa Rica with their child or children, she or he
needs to arrive with official permission from the other parent.
Parents must take this very seriously, if they don’t want
to be refused entry or exit, and most likely miss their plane while
scaring up the necessary forms and signatures. To be on the safe
side, parents should carry the child’s birth certificate,
along with a notarized copy of a letter that says both parents agree
to this particular trip.
Costa Rican Children
If your child was born in Costa Rica, or if one or both parents
is a Costa Rican citizen, the child will automatically be a Costa
Rican citizen. So even if your child travels on, say, a U.S. passport,
if she or he qualifies as a Costa Rican citizen, in effect the child
has dual citizenship and will need to comply with entry and exit
requirements applicable to Costa Rican children. To exit Costa Rica
she or he will need an exit permit issued by the Costa Rican immigration
office. This office may be closed for several weeks during holiday
It is also imperative that if a Costa Rican-born child is visiting
this country with only one parent (even if the child lives full-time
in another country, and his or her parents are not Costa Rican),
the child must have the permission of the absent parent (signed
in the presence of a Costa Rican consulate) to leave this country.
Check the Costa Rican embassy web page for more on immigration: www.costarica-embassy.org