Costa Rica Extends Stay to 180 Days for Group One Visitors

Costa Rica, a favored destination for both tourists and business travelers, has extended its maximum stay period to 180 days for Group One visitors. This significant decision emphasizes the nation’s commitment to offering an extended experience for travelers and professionals, further establishing Costa Rica as a premier destination for prolonged visits and fruitful collaborations.

A Noteworthy Update:
Costa Rica’s official legislative publication, La Gaceta, recently announced a significant change. According to the release dated August 31, citizens from countries that enjoy visa-exempt status, classified as Group One, can stay in Costa Rica for up to 180 days.

While this development may not have received widespread media attention, it translates to fewer border crossings, providing convenience for those wishing to explore Costa Rica’s natural beauty and culture.

Extended Stay Details:
The government’s announcement represents a substantial change for visa-exempt tourists and business visitors from Group One countries. Their maximum stay has been extended from 90 to 180 days per visit.

Key Points:

Group One Countries:
This category includes citizens from visa-exempt nations who can enter Costa Rica with just their passport, encompassing the United States, Canada, and many European countries.

The extended stay rule applies to nationals from Group One countries, as determined by the General Immigration Directorate. This list may evolve over time.

Stay Duration:
While the maximum stay for visa-exempt tourists and business visitors from Group One is now 180 days per visit, the actual duration granted is at the discretion of immigration officials upon entry.

If granted a shorter stay upon entry, foreign nationals, regardless of their group, can apply for an extension of up to 90 days.

Entry Requirements:
All visitors must demonstrate financial means (a minimum of USD 100 per month) and possess a return or onward travel ticket. Additionally, individuals from high-risk countries should present a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate issued at least ten days before arrival.

Beneficiaries of This Change:

Group One primarily comprises countries like the United States, Canada, European Union members, the United Kingdom, and potentially more in the future. Citizens of these nations can now enjoy an extended stay in Costa Rica’s captivating landscapes without the need for visa extensions or frequent travel.


Snowbirds’ Benefit:
Retirees or those seeking refuge from harsh winter climates in Canada and the United States stand to gain significantly. They can now enjoy an uninterrupted, longer stay in Costa Rica’s tropical paradise, engaging with the local culture, traditions, and natural wonders.

Boosting Tourism and Business:
Beyond enhancing the tourism sector, this decision also promotes business opportunities. Longer stays enable tourists to engage more deeply with the country’s culture and natural beauty, while business visitors have greater flexibility to build stronger relationships, explore investments, and foster enduring collaborations.

Driving Regulations Remain Unchanged (for now):
It’s important to note that despite this update, the rules for driving in Costa Rica with an international driver’s license remain unaltered. Foreign nationals can drive for up to 3 months before they must exit the country to renew their visa.

The Bigger Picture:
By extending the stay period, Costa Rica is setting new standards in tourism and business hospitality. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, these initiatives ensure that Costa Rica remains a top choice for travelers and professionals alike, inviting you to experience its charm for an extended period.

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