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U.S. Embassy still not offering routine visa services for Costa Ricans

August 20, 2020

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica said Wednesday that it has no definite date for resuming routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services.

Their announcement came hours after Costa Rica said it would welcome U.S. tourists from certain states.

“We know that many of you are interested in getting a B-1 / B-2 visa; however, for the moment, we continue without resuming routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services,” the U.S. Embassy said.

“We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but we are unable to provide a specific date.”

Certain Costa Ricans may be eligible for exceptions detailed by the Embassy here.

The U.S. Embassy suspended routine consular and visa services on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps Costa Ricans must take to visit the United States

During non-pandemic times, Costa Ricans (and citizens of many other countries) have to complete an expensive and time-consuming process in order to even be considered for entry into the United States.

Here’s what the process looks like for a Costa Rican who wants to visit the United States as a tourist:

  1. Pay the visa application fee. The fee is $160 and is nonrefundable, even if the visa application is denied by U.S. authorities.
  2. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. All questions must be answered in English using English-language characters. Applicants must upload a quality photograph taken within the last six months as part of this form.
  3. Schedule an appointment with a consular officer. There are often lengthy wait times for an appointment.
  4. Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of the visa interview. Bring a printed copy of the appointment letter, the DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, a current and all old passports, and the original visa fee payment receipt. (Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.)

At the appointment, applicants should also bring the following supporting documentation (original documents preferred):

  • Current proof of income, tax payments, property or business ownership, or assets.
  • Travel itinerary and/or other explanation about the planned trip.
  • Letter from their employer detailing position, salary, how long they have been employed, any authorized vacation, and the business purpose, if any, of the U.S. trip.
  • Criminal/court records pertaining to any arrest or conviction anywhere.

During the visa interview, a consular officer at the U.S Embassy will determine if the Costa Rican is qualified for the type of visa for which she is applying.

In some cases, a Costa Rican who has been denied a B-2 visa can correct the ineligibility and reapply in the future. (He must again pay the application fee.) Some ineligibilities are permanent, meaning any future applications will be denied unless the Department of Homeland Security issues a waiver.

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