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Message for U.S. Citizens in Costa Rica: Don’t let the elections pass you by

As the U.S. presidential elections approach, we’re sharing a message from the U.S. Embassy in San José about how citizens abroad can vote.

The 2020 U.S. presidential election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020, but citizens should act now to ensure their vote is counted.

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If you plan to vote in the November 2020 election it is important to ACT NOW!  Don’t wait, return your voted ballot right away! Remember U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States – but you can get assistance in requesting and returning your absentee ballot.  Many states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 3.

The Department of State is committed to assisting overseas voters in casting their ballots.  For instructions on how to vote from Costa Rica please see our website .  For general overseas voting information please see the Department of State’s web site Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad or

Never received your ballot?  If you registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration deadline, but have not yet received your ballot, complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline.  If your regular ballot arrives later, complete and return it as well.  Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline.  Your vote will not be counted twice.


Note that the U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail their completed ballots before Election Day and at least one week prior to your state’s deadline.  To allow processing time between Department of State and U.S. Postal Service systems this means ballots must be received in the Embassy no later than October 9, 2020.  Ballots received after that date will be forwarded but may arrive too late to be counted.  Please also check the regulations in the state in which you vote as deadlines may differ, and you may have alternative voting options such as electronic voting or by fax.

The above timeline is based on current local and U.S. conditions, which are subject to change.  Should conditions change and impact the timeline we will alert you.  We strongly recommend you submit your ballot as far in advance as possible.

If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a U.S. postage-paid envelope (provided with the ballot) or an envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. If you are currently in Costa Rica, you can return your completed ballot to the United States via the U.S. Embassy, San Jose. There is a secure box outside the main entrance where you may drop off your election-related materials in person, Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm. Please ensure the envelope is correctly addressed, sealed, and has sufficient U.S. postage.

If you would like to mail your ballot to the U.S. Embassy in San Jose to be forwarded to the U.S., we recommend using the courier service that Correos de Costa Rica offers, more commonly known as EMS.

In order to mail election-related materials to the United States, you will need two envelopes. Address the first envelope to the U.S. Embassy, San Jose at the mailing address below. Address the second envelope to your local state election office and enclose your ballot inside. The second envelope needs to be postage-paid or have sufficient U.S. postage to be delivered to your local election office from the U.S. sorting facility where it will be mailed. Seal the second envelope, place it inside the first envelope, and mail the package to the U.S. Embassy. The address to send the ballot is below:

U.S. Embassy San Jose Costa Rica
Attention: ACS Unit
Vía 104, Calle 98
In front of Plaza del Oeste
San Jose, Costa Rica.

Missed the U.S. embassy shipment deadline?  Consider returning your ballot to the United States via a commercial express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL or return your voted ballot electronically if allowed by your state.  Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 3 prior to payment and shipment.  Check your state’s voting procedures at for guidance.

Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax.  Review your state’s voting procedures at carefully for guidance.

 Returning your ballot by international mail delivery.  If using Costa Rica’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.  Ballots sent via regular international mail from most countries at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines, so you may need to consider another method. 

HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING.  Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to confirm your overseas voting plan.  Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot.  Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting. 

Need help or have questions?

Please contact Costa Rica’s Voting Assistance Officer at  You can also contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program directly if you encounter issues with local election officials by emailing or toll free by phone from many countries around the world.

Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at

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