The United States Embassy does not have jurisdiction or influence over the Costa Rican residency process for American citizens. However, below is basic information and links to guide you through the process. Please note that the Embassy does not provide Apostille services. For complete information, please visit the official Costa Rican government website.
- Costa Rican Immigration Visas and Residency requirements (For English, scroll down to the bottom and click on “Visa Instructions in English”).
- Association of Residents of Costa Rica (ARCR) (Note: This is a private website not affiliated with the U.S. Embassy)
- Apostilles (authentications). An apostille must be obtained from either the state or federal authority in which the U.S. document was issued. For instructions on how to receive an apostille stamp on a U.S. document, please visit the following websites: Department of State’s Authentications Office & www.nass.org
- Request your U.S. criminal history or lack thereof (also requires an Apostille)
- Register with the Embassy:
To apply for residency in Costa Rica, the Costa Rican government requires applicants register with the U.S. Embassy. To do this, please complete the following steps:
- Complete the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program process online and print the profile info page.
- Turn in the profile page to the Costa Rican immigration office where you are applying.
PLEASE NOTE: It is no longer a requirement to have the STEP profile or confirmation page notarized at the U.S.Embassy.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.
STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the most current information about the country where you will be traveling or living. You will also receive Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts (where appropriate), as well as American Connections, the Consular section’s quarterly newsletter for American citizens in Costa Rica. You only need to register once, and then you can add and delete trips from based on your travel plans!
By connecting with us through STEP, we will be better able to assist you in the case of an emergency, such as a lost or stolen passport.
We also assist U.S. citizens in other emergencies. For example, after the earthquake in Haiti, we evacuated over 16,700 U.S. citizens. During the civil unrest in Lebanon in 2006 we assisted nearly 15,000 U.S. citizens, and in 2004 we helped thousands more following the tsunamis.
The travel and contact information you enter into STEP will make it easier for consular officers in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to contact you and your loved ones during an emergency—including situations where your family or friends in the U.S. are trying to reach you with important news
We believe that a well-informed traveler is a safer traveler. Our consular officers around the world compile country-specific information, travel alerts, travel warnings, fact sheets, and messages to provide you with timely and accurate travel information about every country where you may travel.
We include reports on possible risks and security threats so that you can make informed decisions about your travel plans and activities.
Stay informed by connecting with us via STEP so you can have safe and enjoyable travels!
Your Privacy Is Paramount
All the personal information you provide to us is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974. This law prohibits us from sharing the information with anyone without your written authorization. Certain exceptions exist, such as when we need to share information on a limited basis in order to protect your safety and welfare in extreme circumstances.