Costa Rica is an incredible country. Whether your goal is to explore the jungle or simply lounge on the beach, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. But do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica? What do US citizens need to get into the country?
According to the Department of State, you definitely need a passport to enter Costa Rica. If you don’t have one, get one before you travel. Equally important, if you have a passport already, check the expiration date. To enter Costa Rica, it’s not enough simply to have a valid passport. Your passport has to be good for at least 30 days after you arrive. If your passport expires in less than 30 days, you won’t get into the country. You’ll also need to show proof that you plan to leave: either a ticket home or a ticket to another country.
The passport requirement for Costa Rica exists even for visitors who arrive on a round-trip cruise from the United States. You will still need a passport to enter the country.
As you plan your Costa Rican adventure, make sure you allow enough time for your new passport to arrive. Currently, it’s taking at least 6 weeks for passport applications to be processed. If you spend an extra $60 for expedited processing, you’ll still be stuck waiting at least 3 weeks for your passport to arrive in the mail.
However, there is still hope if you’ve waited until the last minute or just happened to notice that your passport expires in less than 30 days from the day you plan to enter Costa Rica. If you’re traveling in less than 14 days, you are eligible to make an appointment at a regional passport agency office. These facilities can issue passports in 24 hours or less, but there are few caveats you should be aware of.
First, there are only 21 passport agency offices serving the entire US at this time, although the Department of State plans to open more over the next year. That means you may have to travel a significant distance to get to the office. Second, these offices generally have limited hours of operation, so you’ll probably have to take off work to get there when they’re open. Depending on your employer, this might be easier said than done.
The easiest way to get your passport in time is to use a private company like RushMyPassport. We’ll meet with the Department of State on your behalf to submit your passport application, resulting in processing times as low as 24 hours.