Tourists entering Costa Rica need to be aware of three things
as always, the rule is “up to 180 days”. Not 180 days. The immigration officer in front of you can give you as much or as little time in Costa Rica as he/she wants. That’s their discretion. It was the same under the 90 day system and will remain the same. Do not expect an automatic 180 every time.
permanent tourists with cars will find that the policy on driving licences has not changed. You are still allowed to drive around with your foreign licence for 90 days, which means you still have to leave the country every 90 days to drive legally. This may be an oversight that they will change, but for now it’s the way it is.
many airlines in the US and elsewhere haven’t got the memo yet. We’ve already heard reports of people with flights out of Costa Rica AFTER 90 days having to change their return flight to within 90 days. This is definitely an oversight that they will be changing very soon, but if you’re coming to Costa Rica in the next week or so, be aware of a possible backlog at check-in.
he idea behind extending Costa Rica’s tourist visa is to encourage longer stays in the country to boost the economy.
It’s something that Canatur (Costa Rica’s National Chamber of Tourism) has wanted for a while. The decision obviously makes things easier for repeat tourists, but it is more about helping everyone else stay longer if they want to and spend more money. It remains to be seen how immigration officials will react to permanent tourists coming and going every six months instead of every three.
“The National Chamber of Tourism says the length of stay is very short to encourage tourist consumption,” said Francisco Gamboa, Costa Rica’s Minister of Economy.
Overall, this is a great idea that will make life easier for tourists coming to Costa Rica.
There is some concern that the new regulation may make the Remote Worker Visa rather obsolete, but in our opinion the benefits of the new regulation far outweigh this. It’s possible that in the long run it could make life more difficult for permanent tourists, especially if fewer people apply for residency as a result of these changes. That’s something to watch and see how it plays out in six months’ time.