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Want Residency? Must Register

Costa Rican Immigration now requires all foreign nationals applying for residency in the country to show proof of registration with their national embassy. After discussions with the U.S. Embassy, immigration officials have agreed to accept a printout of an e-mail confirmation from the U.S. Department of State’s automated registration system as proof that U.S. citizens have registered with the embassy.

To register with the U.S. Department of State’s Web site, U.S. citizens should go to The site provides step-by-step instructions for filling out the registration form. It is important to provide all requested information, including next-of-kin contact information (in the United States and/or Costa Rica). Each family member should register separately.

Once you have registered, you can update your information as necessary and will receive a confirmation e-mail. The information you provide is safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure and will not be shared with anyone unless you give the embassy written authorization to do so. You may print the e-mail confirmation and provide it to Costa Rican Immigration as proof that you have registered.

Please note that this is a requirement of the Costa Rican government. The U.S. government does not require its citizens abroad to register. However, travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. government to citizens living or traveling overseas. Besides being necessary for Costa Rican residency purposes, registering with the U.S.

Embassy is useful for a number of reasons, whether your stay in Costa Rica is long- or short-term. In the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, the embassy will know how to reach you with important situational updates and will be able to contact designated family members or friends on your behalf.

Although the majority of U.S. citizens travel abroad without incident, each year U.S. consulates and embassies around the world assist nearly 200,000 citizens who are victims of crime, accident or illness, or whose loved ones need to contact them in an emergency. We cannot assist you if we do not know where you are.

This column is submitted by the U.S. Embassy to address frequently asked questions about consular-related matters. Please send inquiries to



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