Immigration. Travel. Living.

Main reasons why visa in Costa Rica gets denied

As you prepare for your dream vacation to Costa Rica, the last thing you expect is to have your visa application denied. However, thousands of travelers face rejections for Costa Rica each year for a variety of reasons. While disappointing, don’t lose hope. Understanding the common reasons for Costa Rica visa denials and reapplying with the proper corrections can help turn your rejection into an approval. With some adjustments to your application, you’ll be enjoying the rainforests and beaches of Costa Rica in no time.

Flag of Costa Rica
  1. Mismatched information on the visa application

If your application was denied, the most common reason is providing mismatched information on the various forms and documents.

To avoid this issue, double-check that the personal details (name, date of birth, etc.) you provide match your official identification documents exactly. Even small discrepancies can raise red flags.

Ensure the purpose and duration of your trip is consistent across all forms. By ensuring all information is consistent, transparent, and documented across the entire permit application, you can increase the likelihood of your Costa Rica permit being approved. With some diligence and care, you’ll be enjoying the natural beauty of the country in no time.

  1. Lack of financial stability or proof of funds

To obtain a Costa Rican visa, providing evidence of financial stability and sufficient funds for your trip is crucial. Lacking this proof is a common reason for denial.

To demonstrate your financial security, submit bank statements from the previous 3-6 months showing a consistent balance that covers your trip expenses. If employed, include pay stubs. If self-employed, provide tax returns. If relying on a sponsor, submit a letter from them detailing their relationship to you and commitment to funding your trip. Include their financial documents as well.

Those with unstable income or insufficient funds are often asked to provide additional proof like property ownership, investment accounts, cash advances, lines of credit, etc. 

  1. Not having a valid ticket for the return 

Costa Rican immigration officials want to see concrete evidence that you intend to leave the country within the authorized 90-day stay for tourists. Simply telling them you plan to leave before your authorized stay expires is not sufficient. You must provide a copy of your return flight itinerary or ticket.

If you are traveling overland or by sea to a neighboring country after your trip, a bus or boat ticket for onward travel will also suffice.

Some visitors choose to purchase a refundable return ticket solely to enter Costa Rica, to cancel it after successfully entering the country. However, if immigration officials suspect this tactic, it may be considered fraud and also result in a denial or even legal consequences. It is always best to be fully transparent regarding your actual travel plans.

  1. Submitting the wrong type of visa 

When applying for a visa, it is critical to select the correct visa category for your intended purpose of travel. Submitting the incorrect visa type is one of the top reasons for the denial. The country offers several visa types for tourism, business, residency, and other purposes.

To avoid a denial, carefully review the requirements and permitted activities for each pass type on the embassy website. Be certain to apply for the appropriate permit that corresponds to the primary reason and length of your stay. For example, do not apply for a tourist permit if your goal is to explore residency options or conduct extended business activities. Take the necessary time to submit a complete application with all supporting documents to prove your eligibility for the selected pass category.

  1. Missing Supporting Documents 

To obtain a permit, certain supporting documents are required to prove the purpose and legitimacy of your trip. Failure to provide these can result in a denied application. The most common supporting documents that go unchecked are invitation letters and hotel reservations. 

If you are traveling to the country for business or to visit family or friends, a letter of invitation from a Costa Rican resident is typically needed. Furthermore, for some permit types like tourism, evidence of hotel bookings for your entire stay in the country is compulsory. Without confirmed reservations, authorities may question where you will lodge during your trip and deny your request.

To avoid a denied Costa Rican visa due to missing documents, carefully review the requirements for your specific visa class and submit a complete application with all obligatory supporting papers. Doing so will increase your chances of obtaining approval to visit this natural wonderland.

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