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Costa Rica
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Costa Rica getting new biometric passports

Costa Rica unveiled new passports that were designed by Ticos and feature biometric technology. The travel documents will be released in the first quarter of 2022, authorities said.

The passports contain a chip that contain biometric information, such as the document holder’s fingerprints and demographic information, that help improve security.

“This passport puts us at the height of the latest mobility trends at a global level. It prevents forgery and alteration, which makes it a very secure document as it is high-tech,” said Raquel Vargas, Director of Migration.

Designed with Esencial Costa Rica branding, the passports also showcase various elements of the country:

  • Biodiversity: Islands, hammerhead shark, waves, turtles, corals, butterflies and sloths.
  • Renewable energy: Volcanoes and hydroelectric plants.
  • Education and peace: The independence torch, books, schools and the “Pura Vida” motto.
  • Talent: The oxcart, pre-Columbian spheres, sculptures, Boruca masks, marimba, calypso and the Creole swing dance.

The current passports — sans biometrics and Tico imagery — will remain valid until their expiration date.

Costa Rica: A powerful passport

Costa Rica has the most powerful passport in Central America, granting access to 150 countries, according to the latest version of the Henley Passport Index.

Japan ranks first overall (193 countries), while a United States passport provides access to 187 countries without a prior visa.

Ranking the seven Central American nations by passport strength:

  1. Costa Rica: Visa-free access to 150 countries.
  2. Panama: 142 countries.
  3. El Salvador: 134 countries.
  4. Honduras: 133 countries.
  5. Guatemala: 133 countries.
  6. Nicaragua: 127 countries.
  7. Belize: 101 countries.

The bottom five countries in the 2021 ranking are Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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