Visas To The U.S.
Welcome to the official website of the Visa Unit at the U.S. Embassy in San José, Costa Rica.
The Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in San José provides visa services to persons in Costa Rica. Persons who are neither citizens nor residents of Costa Rica may apply for U.S. tourist or business visas in person at the Embassy in San José, but should be aware that the U.S. Embassy cannot assist them with issues relating to Costa Rican visas or immigration.
Visas and passports are two essential documents for most international travel; passports are issued by the country of which the traveler is a citizen, and visas are issued by other countries the traveler wishes to visit. See What is a Visa? for more details. Every person must have the proper documentation when seeking admission into the United States. The type of travel document (s) you will need depends on (1) your citizenship and (2) your purpose of travel.
Please follow the links on this page for information on specific travel document requirements and how to obtain them. For example:
- Persons interested in traveling to the United States as tourists, students, or other short-term visitors should select “Non-immigrant Visas”.
- Persons interested in immigrating to or residing indefinitely in the United States should select “Immigrant Visas”.
Special Notice for U.S. citizens, including Dual Nationals
On 28 August 2014, the Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services in the Federal Register. The schedule included fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services. The changes took effect on 12 September 2014, 15 days after publication in the Federal Register. The revised fees cover actual operating expenses for the all overseas consular posts, domestic passport agencies and other centers that provide these consular services to U.S. and foreign citizens.
The adjusted fees are based on a Cost of Service Study completed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in August 2013. The study established the true cost of providing these consular services, which by law must be recovered through collection of fees.
Persons who are U.S. citizens must enter the United States on U.S. citizen travel documents, regardless of their purpose of travel and even if they also hold citizenship of another country. Persons who may have a claim to U.S. citizenship should clarify their status prior to travel.
Each applicant's eligibility for a visa is determined once an application is made. There is no guarantee in advance that a visa will be issued. Although tentative travel plans may be useful, the Embassy recommends visa applicants not purchase tickets prior to receiving a visa. A visa cannot be issued simply because the applicant has already purchased tickets.
Please be aware that people seeking visas to the United States are sometimes exploited by persons posing as facilitators. If you are in contact with a third party regarding your visa application, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate party.
- Issues/Difficulties Upon Entry to the United States (Traveler's Redress Program)
- Issues/Difficulties relating to Summer Work and Travel Programs. Many U.S. Exchange Visitor Programs are organized and run by private agencies or NGOs in the United States, rather than by a government entity. These agencies and NGOs, however, are subject to certification by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs within the U.S. Department of State.Persons encountering difficulties with an Exchange Program or wishing to file a complaint may contact the Compliance Unit within the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Contact Information.
- Lost or stolen visa? If your passport containing a valid U.S. visa is lost or stolen, you are strongly advised to report the loss or theft to the Embassy.
For security reasons, visa applicants and American citizens are not allowed to enter the U.S. Consulate or Embassy grounds with bags, food (with the exception of snacks for children under six years old), weapons, or any type of electronic devices (including laptops, iPads, iPods, cameras, memory sticks, CDs, etc.) Please do not bring supporting information (photos, transcripts, ultrasounds, etc.) on electronic devices. Please bring only printed information to your appointment.
The U.S. Consulate General in Costa Rica does not have a storage facility for such items. We strongly discourage visa applicants and visitors to the American Citizen Services section from bringing these items to the Embassy.
If you must bring cell phones, you must leave those items with the security guards at the entrance and pick them up upon exiting. The U.S. government takes no responsibility for devices left at the Embassy.
Your cooperation is appreciated.