The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. You may stay as a visitor for up to 90 days under a tourist visa waiver, although the exact period is at the discretion of the immigration officer on arrival. If you plan to work, or stay for a longer period, then multiple exit and entry isn’t an approved alternative to obtaining the relevant visa for your circumstances. You should check the requirements with the Costa Rican authorities.
The immigration authorities are strict about foreigners who have overstayed. Fines of $100 per month of overstay and restrictions on return can be applied under local law.
Your passport should have at least one day’s validity from the date you are leaving Costa Rica. If you hold a passport other than a British Citizen passport, different regulations may apply.
Evidence of onward travel
Entry to Costa Rica may be refused if you are unable to produce evidence of return or onward travel (for example a return air ticket).
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Costa Rica.
There’s a departure tax of $29 when leaving the country by air. Most airlines include this in ticket prices; a few have still not done so. Check with your airline or travel company whether you need to pay this separately. If so you can pay by cash or credit/debit card in dollars or local colones.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Travelling with children
Under Costa Rican law, children under the age of 18 born in Costa Rica are automatically considered to be Costa Rican citizens, even if travelling on a British passport. Either notarised written consent from both parents or a Costa Rican passport is required in order for the child to leave Costa Rica. Contact the Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate for further information on laws regarding the international travel of Costa Rican children.