Costa Rica’s Tourist Visa now extends to 180 days
Updated: Nov 8
Good news for visitors to Costa Rica who dream of staying longer than 90 days! In an effort to give a major boost to the tourism industry, as well as to positively impact the larger economy, Costa Rica has announced that tourist visas can now be issued for 180 days – a full six months! Here are some of the potential impacts for various types of visitors to Costa Rica.
For tourists considering a home purchase here, Costa Rica's Tourist Visa now means you can spend up to six months here without having to leave for a “border run” (leaving the country briefly and then returning to get a new visa). For visitors and home owners looking to spend several months a year here, this could be very attractive. Note: It is still recommended that property owners in Costa Rica consider applying for residency as entry to Costa Rica as a tourist isn’t guaranteed. For U.S. citizens interested in learning more about residency, here is a link to the US Embassy in Costa Rica. For non-US citizens, consult the embassy website for your country for more information.
Costa Rica has a digital nomad visa, which, if you qualify, allows for you and your family to live in Costa Rica for one year on a digital nomad visa. The visa can be renewed once (as long as you still meet the requirements), meaning you can conceivably live in Costa Rica without having to do any border runs for two years. However, with the tourist visa stretching to six months, some digital nomads might simply opt for this. It does require a border run every six months, but is potentially less complicated than jumping through the hoops required for a digital nomad visa. Costa Rica is hoping to attract more location-independent travelers, and this new policy could be a win-win for everyone. An even newer law just passed will also allow you to drive on your foreign driver’s license for the same length of time as your tourist visa (up to the 180 day limit). For more information about Costa Rica’s digital nomad visa here is a link to Visit Costa Rica, an informative website created by the Costa Rican tourism board.
One of the benefits of this new policy for Costa Rica is that fewer people will overstay their visas, which is a violation of Costa Rican’s immigration laws. Those who overstay are at risk of being fined, deported and banned from re-entry to the country. While this doesn’t happen often, it certainly could, and everybody seems to know someone to whom some version of this has happened.
There are also economic benefits. Tourism accounts for somewhere between 4–6 percent of Costa Rica’s GDP. Anything the country can do to support visitor-friendly policies is bound to be good for businesses that depend on tourist and expat spending. The types of businesses that stand to benefit include hotels, restaurants, transportation companies, tour providers, and retail businesses, not to mention increased revenue from visits to Costa Rica’s many national parks.
We would love to help you discover the magic of Costa Rica, whether you are coming for one week or six months! We offer tours, transportation, vacation packages and more. We also love customizing a vacation to your specific budget, interests, timeline, etc. through our custom itinerary service. To learn more about Costa Rica, we have many interesting articles on our Costa Rica travel blog. If you couldn’t tell, we are passionate about Costa Rica! Come visit us!