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Costa Rica
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Costa Rica vaccine mandate: What we know (updated)

Costa Rica will impose a Covid-19 vaccine mandate starting January 8, 2022, with a transition period that begins in December.

As of December 1, commercial establishments may choose to operate at 100% capacity, welcoming only vaccinated guests, or they can operate at 50% capacity with no vaccination requirement.

Beginning January 8, most commercial establishments must require proof of vaccination, with exceptions only for some essential services.

Vaccine mandate transition period

Starting December 1: Hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, shops, museums, art and dance academies, gyms, spas and adventure tourism may operate at 100% capacity if all their clientele over 12 years of age have the complete vaccination scheme. Vaccine status must be verified through Costa Rica’s vaccine QR code or the printed vaccination certificate.

If unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people are admitted, the capacity of the business must be capped at 50%.

All establishments must have a visible identification on the outside that shows the mode of operation of the business.

“These provisions seek a balance between the need to protect health and life with sanitary measures and, on the other hand, stimulate greater economic activity and promote the employment that Costa Ricans need,” said Augustin Castro, Communications Minister.

Costa Rica vaccine QR code

Individuals in Costa Rica will show their vaccine status by using a QR code that will be embedded in Costa Rica’s digital vaccine certificate. The QR code will not require an ongoing internet connection and can be printed or displayed via a cell phone.

Which venues will require vaccination?

As of January 8, vaccines will be required to enter: Restaurants and food courts; bars and casinos; stores and commercial centers; museums; gyms; hotels; worship sites; event halls; adventure tourism activities; theaters and cinemas; sporting events.

Remember, some businesses may choose to require the vaccine certificate as of December 1.

Vaccines will NOT be required to enter supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, banks, and other services deemed essential. While we don’t have a full list of what constitutes an “essential” business that would not require a vaccine, the government has in the past classified the following as essential:

SupermarketsSuppliersDelivery services
PharmaciesBakeriesAgricultural supplies
Medical centersButchersVeterinarians and hygiene
PulperíasVegetable storesBanks
Funeral homesFarmer’s markets

To whom does the vaccine requirement apply?

Everyone ages 12 and older will need proof of vaccination to enter the indicated venues or participate in the indicated activities. This includes citizens, residents and foreign tourists.

Remember there is a separate mandate that requires public workers in Costa Rica to be vaccinated against Covid-19. This applies to workers and not guests. (In other words: Staff at public hospitals need to be vaccinated, but you don’t need to be vaccinated to go to the hospital.)

Do I need to be vaccinated to enter Costa Rica?

You do not need to be vaccinated to enter Costa Rica. However, as of January 8, you will be unable to participate in many activities or enter many businesses unless you are vaccinated.

Do tourists need to be vaccinated?

According to Outlier Legal: Tourists will use their Health Pass (the form used to enter the country) and a copy of their vaccination card to enter businesses. Only those who are fully vaccinated will be able to enter these places.

In other words, tourists who got vaccinated abroad do not need the vaccine certificate QR code. They will instead use a different QR code — the one on the Health Pass, which has been a requirement to enter Costa Rica for more than a year.

Effectively, the only change for vaccinated tourists is that they should keep their Health Pass and a copy of their vaccine certificate handy throughout their visit to Costa Rica.


How do I get my vaccine certificate QR code?

The vaccine certificate with the QR code will be available to the public on November 8, 2021. Here’s how to get it if you are a citizen or a resident:

If you already have a vaccine certificate

As of November 8, people who have already received a vaccine certificate from Costa Rica should visit https://usuarios.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/ and enter the assigned PIN. (This information will be shared via email.) In turn, the vaccination certificate will be updated with the new QR code and security standards. Those who have forgotten or misplaced their PIN can retrieve it on the same website.

If you don’t have a vaccine certificate

Those who completed their two-dose vaccination schedule in Costa Rica more than 8 days ago and have not received a Covid-19 vaccination certificate via email can request it at the following link:
https://www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr/index.php/vigilancia-de-la-salud/certificado-de-vacunacion-covid-19

The issuance of the certificate takes an average of 10 business days.

On November 8, the individual can update their vaccine certificate to include the QR code following the steps indicated above.

If you got vaccinated abroad

Costa Ricans who got vaccinated abroad should submit a sworn declaration to the Health Ministry in order to receive their vaccine certificate (and, as of November 8, the QR code). The declaration should include: copies of the foreign vaccine card, a Spanish translation (if applicable; this does not need to be an official translation), and the Health Pass used to enter Costa Rica.

These requests for certification of vaccines placed outside Costa Rica may take longer than 10 business days, taking into account the review of the documentation submitted.

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