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Q&A: Costa Rican Consulate answers questions about airport reopening

August 13, 2020

This story was last updated on August 13.

The Costa Rican Consulate in Miami published answers to a series of frequently asked questions about the country’s airport reopening, which is scheduled for August 1.

Below are the most pertinent questions and answers regarding Costa Rica’s new border policies, translated from this document shared by the Costa Rican Consulates in Miami and Los Angeles.

From what countries is Costa Rica accepting commercial flights?

Starting August 1, commercial flights can arrive from the following countries:

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland.

This set of countries is also what’s listed on the Embassy of Costa Rica’s website.

As of August 13, Costa Rica has further expanded its list of authorized countries.

The list of authorized countries will be reevaluated every two weeks.

Will repatriation flights continue in August?

Yes, repatriation flights can continue to any country not on the above list. The most common repatriation flights have been to/from the United States and other Central American countries.

Can a passenger travel, for example, from the U.S. to an authorized country to then fly to Costa Rica?

A passenger can do this, as long as they remain in the authorized country for at least 14 days without developing symptoms before flying to Costa Rica.

That is to say, a traveler can’t just have a layover in an authorized country.

Note that many countries have established their own travel restrictions and may also restrict entry (e.g. a U.S. citizen cannot easily travel to Canada at this time.)

Are there changes for citizens or residents?

The reopening also applies to Costa Rica residents who are coming from authorized countries. That is to say, Costa Rica will allow entry to residents who live or are residing in those authorized countries.

Costa Rica will also allow entry to people of other nationalities who have remained in an authorized country for 14 days without presenting symptoms.

Can a Canadian, for example, fly to Costa Rica with a layover in the U.S.?

No, because flights from the U.S. are currently only operated as repatriation flights. It is not possible at the moment for a Canadian (or other nationality) to enter as a tourist via a repatriation flight.

Can a U.S. citizen fly to Canada and then enter Costa Rica?

A passenger can theoretically do this, as long as they remain in the authorized country (in this example, Canada) for at least 14 days without developing symptoms before flying to Costa Rica.

That is to say, a traveler can’t just have a layover in an authorized country.

Note that a U.S. citizen cannot easily travel to Canada at this time.

Can private flights from an authorized country enter Costa Rica?

Yes, private flights can come from authorized countries with residents of that country. Similarly, private flights from authorized countries can bring residents of other countries, so long as those people were in the authorized country for 14 days before their flight to Costa Rica.

What about private flights from non-authorized countries?

The only flights that can enter from non-authorized countries are repatriation flights. For the moment, private/charter flights from the U.S. are not permitted unless they are transporting Costa Rican citizens or residents.

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What are the requirements for entry to Costa Rica?

For tourists, there are three requirements:

  1. Travel insurance that covers medical expenses of, at minimum, $20,000 and housing costs of at least $4,000. This insurance must cover medical expenses associated with COVID-19 and must be purchased from an insurer in Costa Rica.
  2. A negative coronavirus test. The sample for the test must be taken 48 hours (maximum) before the passenger departs for Costa Rica.
  3. Complete the digital epidemiological form called “Pase de Salud.” (This form is available at ccss.now.sh and may also be at salud.go.cr in the future.)

Note that tourists must submit their insurance policy number and upload the result of their negative coronavirus test (as a PDF or JPG) as part of the epidemiological form.

Costa Ricans and residents only need to complete the “Pase de Salud” online form. They do not need to purchase insurance or show proof of a negative coronavirus test; however, a 14-day home isolation order will be enforced. They will also undergo a medical check at the airport.

What about travel insurance from a different country?

At the moment, the only accepted insurance is offered by the National Insurance Institute (INS). If a tourist has travel insurance from your origin country, they will still need to purchase the INS plan.

The INS plan varies in cost based on the age of the tourist and their length-of-stay in the country. As an example, the plan is $280 for a two-week stay for a 30-year-old.

Click here to purchase the INS travel insurance plan. (If that link doesn’t work, click here and follow the link for “Seguro de Viajeros.”)

Important update: As of August 5, Costa Rica now accepts other non-INS travel insurance policies. We are still awaiting further details on how this process will work. Click here to read what we know. 

What about Costa Ricans and their spouses?

If the couple returns on a repatriation flight, the same requirement applies to both: They don’t have to purchase insurance or show a negative test result, but they will have to complete a 14-day home isolation.

If the couple is visiting the country, but do not live in Costa Rica (for instance, an Italian spouse of a Costa Rican who live in Italy), they must fulfill the requirements as if they were entering as tourists.

How long is the coronavirus test valid for entry?

The sample for the test must be taken a maximum of 48 hours before the flight to Costa Rica. That is, if the flight is August 5 at 2 p.m., the passenger must have the sample taken after August 3 at 2 p.m.

The test must be a PCR-RT test. The result must be in English or Spanish. A negative test is required for anyone ages 12 and older.

Who needs to self-isolate for 14 days?

Tourists will not be required to self-isolate (quarantine). Costa Ricans and residents, no matter where they come from, do not need to show a negative PCR-RT test nor purchase travel insurance, but they will receive a 14-day home isolation order.

If a tourist is diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip to Costa Rica, they will receive an isolation order at that point.

What if a trip is for fewer than 14 days?

For tourists, as there is no automatic isolation order issued upon their arrival, the length of the trip is irrelevant.

However, if a tourist tests positive for the coronavirus, they will be issued a 14-day isolation order and cannot leave the country until it is complete. (The extended stay would be covered by their insurance plan.)

Costa Ricans and residents cannot leave the country until they complete the 14-day isolation mandated upon their arrival.

Violating a home-isolation order is punished by a fine of three or five base salaries. A base salary is currently valued at about $800.

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Will the reentry rule for residents still be enforced?

All permanent or temporary residents who present their DIMEX will be allowed to enter Costa Rica, so long as they’re coming via a flight from an authorized country in which they’ve remained for 14 days.

The official decree should be published in La Gaceta on August 1. We will have a summary of that legislation when it’s released.

 

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