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Explaining Costa Rica Provisional Visa

Costa Rica, a central American country famous for ecotourism, has been seeing an increase in international tourists. 

The country has been a favorite holiday destination for travelers who wish to unwind in the midst of nature. 

Apart from tourism, foreigners arrive in the country to pursue various courses and to spend a part of their retirement life in its serene countryside. They need to get a provisional visa to enter the country. 

Here’s what foreigners need to know about the provisional visas for Costa Rica. 

What is a Provisional Visa to Costa Rica 

As the name suggests, a provisional visa is a temporary authorization issued by the Costa Rican government to foreigners who intend to stay in the country for more than 90 days. 

Foreigners need to apply for a Costa Rica provisional visa at its embassy in their home country. The provisional visa will register their details in the Costa Rican immigration authority’s database.

It is an interim permit to enter and live in country till a temporary residency visa is issued by the Costa Rican immigration office.     

There are different types of provisional visas based on the purpose of the visit and duration of stay. Applicants must inform the embassy about the purpose of their visit and type of visa they are intending to get. 

Types of Provisional Visas 

Based on the purpose of the visit, there are different types of provisional visas. The government grants this type of visas to foreign students, rentiers, retirees and close foreign relatives of Costa Ricans. 

Based on the type of provisional visa, the requirements and documents also change. Read on to know more about these visas. 

Students, Teachers and Researchers 

All international students looking forward to taking up courses in various universities in Costa Rica should get a student visa. 

The student visa application process has two parts. First, the applicant needs to get a provisional student visa to enter the country. They need to apply for this at the Costa Rican mission in their home country. This provisional visa grants them permission to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days. 

The next stage is to apply for a student visa or temporary resident permit. This is a legal authorization to remain in the country for the duration of the course. 

Requirements for a Provisional Student Visa 

To start the application for a Costa Rican provisional visa for students, the applicant must have a formal acceptance letter from a recognized university in the country. He/she should also pay the course fee.  

After this, they can schedule an appointment with the Costa Rican embassy. On the day of the appointment, they need to go to the mission with the documents. The documents are as follows: 

  • The completed application form with personal and passport details and applicant’s signature.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Passport.
  • Proof of funds to remain in the country without paid employment.
  • Color photographs in passport size.
  • Provisional visa fee.

After reaching Costa Rica, foreign students must formally register their arrival at the country’s ministry of public security. They need to submit their biometric information.  

Following this they have to arrange an appointment with the immigration office in Costa Rica and apply for a resident permit. They may also need to submit additional documents. There can be a few questions with regard to their stay and nature of visit.  

Note that each of the above-mentioned steps can take 30 to 60 days to complete. Foreign students should start the application process for both the provisional student visa and student resident permit well in advance to receive the documents in time. 

The application fee can vary depending on the mission and the applicant’s country of origin. It can be between $50 and $ 200. 

Visa for Rentiers 

Foreigners who wish to stay in Costa Rica as a rentier need a provisional visa for rentiers to enter the country. The application process for a Costa Rican visa for rentiers has two steps.

Applicants have to first get a provisional visa.

This is a legal authorization to enter the country and stay there for 90 days. They have to get a temporary resident visa for rentiers after reaching the country from the Costa Rican immigration office. 

To get a provisional visa they have to submit proof of funds. They have to have a stable and permanent monthly income of not less than $2,500 to get this visa type for rentier. Note that a rentier is not allowed to work in Costa Rica. Apart from this, they also need to submit their passport and other documents. 

Visa for Retirees 

The pensionado or temporary residency visa for retirees is granted to foreigners who wish to spend a part of their retirement life in the beautiful country and who can prove that they have a regular income of at least $1,000 per month from a permanent source of pension like social security schemes. 

To get this visa, they need to first apply for a provisional visa for retirees at the embassy of Costa Rica. This is a permission to enter the country and stay there for a maximum of 90 days. They can get the residence permit from the Costa Rican immigration office after they enter the country.

For that, they need to pay an additional processing fee along with identity and supporting documents. 

Close Relatives of a Costa Rican Citizen  

This is a temporary entry visa granted to the close relative of a Costa Rican citizen. This is a provisional visa to enter the country. 

Once in Costa Rica, the applicants need to complete the application process for a temporary resident visa at the immigration office. 

Note that all foreigners arriving in Costa Rica on a provisional visa must apply for a temporary residency permit within 90 days.  Extending their stay beyond this period without a temporary residency visa will be deemed illegal and will be punished under Costa Rican law. 

Travelers arriving on a tourist visa can change their visa type to temporary residency by paying the required fee and submitting proof of economic solvency.

All the documents to be submitted along with the temporary residency application must be apostilled by a Costa Rican mission. These documents should be translated to Spanish before submitting.   

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