In the past year I have heard over and over and confirmed by emails and entry stamps how Costa Rica’s immigration service is cutting short the visit of many U.S. citizens, allowing them a “visitor” stay of only 10 or 15 days instead of the customary 90.

Many of them have been visiting Costa Rica on and off for years.

What was even more disturbing, U.S. citizens are being asked to produce their return ticket out of the country. Americans do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. However, they, like all other visitors must have a current valid passport and a return ticket out of Costa Rica. (Either to return to your country or to go to another country).

Entering Costa Rica or any other country for that matter on a one way ticket is not generally accepted. Airlines are required to ensure that the traveller has a return ticket out (most airlines will not accept a bus ticket), demand that you produce and airline ticket, many will not sell you a one way ticket or allow you to board a flight into Costa Rica unless you can prove residency in country.

On several occasions I have received emails from readers (U.S. citizens) who say they were asked to “produce their return ticket out of Costa Rica”. I also found on several boards/forums for Americans travelling to Costa Rica, advising them to have their return “eticket” printed out for handy reference, or spend time with an airline representative to print it out at the airport.

However, that does not seem to be the case with Europeans and Canadians, for example.

I consulted with several Europeans and Canadians who recently arrived in Costa Rica and they tell me of no problems at the immigration counter in San José.

The consulted were men arriving in Costa Rica alone. No third degree, they say.  Nor where they asked to produce a return ticket.  They got the customary questions of how long will you be in the country, the purpose of their trip, where they will be staying, etc.

Not one reported getting short of the customary 90 days visitor stay.

Not being an American I do not have first hand experience of the problems I am hearing more and more often.

I welcome your comments on this subject.


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