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U.S. Embassy offering third repatriation flight from Costa Rica

April 18, 2020

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica has coordinated with United Airlines to offer a repatriation flight from Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) near San José to Houston, Texas (IAH) on Monday, April 27.

The offering is in addition to Monday’s flight, which is operating on a similar schedule and with the same airline.

Travel company VEMSA is also selling tickets for an April 22 flight from Costa Rica to Miami. This flight will be operated by Avianca, but tickets are only available through VEMSA.

Below is the full alert from the U.S. Embassy:

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The U.S. Embassy in San Jose and the U.S. State Department have coordinated with United Airlines to offer an additional commercial flight from Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica to Houston, Texas (IAH) on Monday, April 27. The flight will depart SJO at 12:00 pm and arrive at IAH at 4:46 pm. This flight is open to public booking; you are encouraged to book ASAP as seats are limited. There may also be a few seats remaining on the United flight from SJO to IAH on Monday, April 20. Please visit www.united.com for further information regarding availability.

Payment and booking will be done directly with United Airlines at www.united.com. The cost of the flight will be based on the passenger’s final destination. This price is set by United Airlines. Passengers can purchase a one-way ticket or round trip.

Passengers wishing to book connecting flights from Houston to other destinations in the United States or beyond should do so independently through United or other airlines. The U.S. Embassy is not able to assist with arranging onward travel from Houston. Policies regarding luggage allowances and seating arrangements will be managed by United Airlines. For additional questions regarding this flight or airline requirements, please contact United Airlines at www.united.com.

Passengers traveling with pets and Emotion Support or Service Animals will need to consult with United Airlines regarding additional fees and space availability. United Airlines does not allow pets to travel as cargo. Proper documentation and veterinary certificates will be required. Find more details when making your booking or by visiting this link. For more information on requirements for pets to enter the United States, please click on this link.

The U.S. Embassy has also been made aware of an additional private charter flight option from San Jose to Miami on Wednesday, April 22. The flight will depart SJO at 10:15am and arrive at MIA at 3:00pm. The flight is currently open to public booking but seats are limited. The flight will be operated by Avianca airlines but tickets will only be available through the VEMSA website by following this link or by contacting VEMSA directly at +506-8457-1000. Please note the website is in Spanish. Passengers looking to book connecting flights from Miami to other destinations in the United States or beyond should do so independently through VEMSA or other airlines directly. The U.S. Embassy is not able to assist with arranging tickets for this private charter flight or any onward travel from Miami.

Health regulations for boarding these flights will be managed according to Costa Rican Ministry of Health guidelines. At this time that includes medical personnel monitoring passenger lines for people with COVID 19 symptoms, and asking passengers with symptoms to self-identify.

Health regulations for arrival at Houston’s IAH airport and Miami’s MIA airport are managed by the airport and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) under guidance from CDC and state health officials. At this time there are no specific measures in place at IAH or MIA. Check with the airport and CBP websites for updates at https://www.fly2houston.com/iah/overview/ , http://www.miamiairport.com/COVID_19.asp, and https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus.

All passengers will be subject to Costa Rica immigration and customs laws and Airline policies.  The U.S. Embassy is not able to intervene if people are stopped for violations or do not meet airline regulations.

U.S. Citizens must have valid passports to enter the United States. If you do not have a valid U.S. passport, please email ACSsanjose@state.gov immediately to apply for an Emergency Passport.

Foreign national passengers must possess an official travel document from their country of nationality and permission to approach a United States port of entry such as a legal permanent resident card, U.S. visa, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) pre-approval. For more information on U.S. entry follow this link: https://www.cbp.gov/travel.

For information on requesting an emergency visa application appointment call 4000-1976, or visit: www.ustraveldocs.com/cr/cr-niv-expeditedappointment.asp.  Note that foreign nationals seeking visas must qualify for a nonimmigrant visa under applicable laws, and that per U.S. Presidential Proclamation, most foreign nationals who have been in areas of highest COVID-19 incidence within the past 14 days must be refused embarkation to the United States. See complete details at www.ustraveldocs.com/cr.

The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor traffic and travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 preventative measures. Please be sure you are enrolled in the Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html to receive the latest updates. You can also find updated information on the U.S. Embassy website at https://cr.usembassy.gov/.

Please be aware that foreigners will not be allowed to enter Costa Rica until after current border restrictions are lifted. People with residency status who depart Costa Rica at this time will not be allowed to re-enter Costa Rica using their residency status until the emergency period is lifted by the Government of Costa Rica.

You can email any additional questions you may have to ACSSANJOSE@state.gov. We will respond to your email as quickly as possible.

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Costa Rican citizens or permanent residents can book tickets for the Monday morning route from Houston (IAH) to Costa Rica (SJO) directly through united.com.

The United flights are being operated by a Boeing 737-800 that can typically seat up to 166 passengers.

Other than the repatriation flights, commercial offerings between the United States and Costa Rica have ceased. No U.S. based airline plans to offer service to Costa Rica until at least early May.

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