Citizens from 102 nations now face fewer restrictions when entering Costa Rica, following a change from the General Immigration Administration that reduced the number of countries on the restrictedvisa list from 114 to 12.
People from countries with restricted visa status can enter Costa Rica only as special guests or for business reasons when authorized by Immigration Director Mario Zamora following the recommendation of a special commission. They can’t visit as tourists, according to the daily La Nación. Now, the 12 countries with such restrictions are Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Palestine, Syria, China, North Korea, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
All other countries fall into one of three remaining categories: citizens can enter with a consular visa for 30 days (such as Egypt, Colombia and Nicaragua); citizens can enter with just a passport for 30 days (such as El Salvador, Jamaica and Taiwan); or citizens can enter with just a passport for 90 days (such as Panama, the United States and European countries).
Countries that moved from the restricted list to the 30-day consular visa include India, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
The Public Security Ministry said the 114-country list was a Cold War remnant, and that the Foreign Trade Ministry (COMEX), Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) and universities were consulted in the decision-making process.
For a complete list of countries and their entry requirements for Costa Rica, visit www.migracion.go.cr/visas/directrices2006.doc.