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Living Abroad in Costa Rica
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Young girl in Tortuguero
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 periods.

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




For more information, see Living Abroad in Costa Rica.

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