U.S. Citizen Services

U.S. citizens are required to enter and exit the United States using a U.S. passport.

If you are overseas and your U.S. passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until June 30, 2022.

You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if:

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
  • Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

All other passport rules and regulations remain in effect. The Department of Homeland Security maintains discretion to reject any bearer in accordance with 22 CFR 53.2(b)(7) and 8 CFR 235.1(b)

Information Regarding American Citizen Services During COVID-19 Restrictions

The U.S. Embassy has opened appointments for routine services to include accepting applications and renewals for full validity U.S. passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, notary services, and applications for social security numbers.  Please visit the U.S. Embassy website at https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ to see the next available appointments for passports, CRBA, and notary services.  Please email the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at FBU.CostaRica@ssa.gov to schedule an appointment to apply for a social security number.  We are currently unable to provide routine in-person services for U.S. citizens.  This includes welfare and whereabouts visits, prison visits, and outreach to U.S. citizen communities across Costa Rica.  U.S. citizens with emergencies may contact acssanjose@state.gov or call +506-2519-2590 during business hours and +506-2519-2000 after hours.

The U.S. Embassy in San Jose requires all visitors to the Embassy to bring and wear face coverings, this includes visa applicants and U.S. citizens.  Visitors must maintain coverings over their mouth and nose during their visit (please note that for security and identification purposes the Embassy staff may request visitors to momentarily remove face coverings).   This guidance includes all visitors over 2 years of age.   Visitors are also requested to follow instructions for distancing and other health measures during their visit.  Visitors that arrive without face coverings or who do not follow health protocols may be asked to reschedule their appointment

Whether you are Residing in Costa Rica or here for a week’s vacation, please enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that we may be better able to assist you in an emergency.

Alerts and Messages

See all Messages and Alerts for U.S. Visitors to Costa Rica.