How to Apply for a Costa Rica Student Visa

Costa Rica Embassy
Costa Rica Embassy

These are the steps you need to take to get a student visa, if you are a foreigner and want to study in Costa Rica:

  • The First Step in gaining a student visa is to secure a spot at an Educational Institute within Costa Rica.
  • Get a Provisional Student Visa from The Costa Rica Consulate.
  • Get a Permanent Student Permit from the Immigration Department once you arrive in Costa Rica.

The application processing time is usually 30 days, once a visa is issued the applicants have 60 days to enter the country, in which time they should apply for a student permit.


  • A provisional student visa is required for applicants seeking an educational degree in Costa Rica even if they belong to the country exempt from tourist visa requirements.
  • The procedure involves making an appointment with the Costa Rica Consulate and submitting the required documents once you visit the Consulate on your date of appointment.
  • You may be interview by the Consul if they deem it necessary.
  • Visa processing requires 30 days. Once you arrive in the country you must apply for your student permit at the Immigration Department.
  • The student permit is usually sought by the individual or the educational institute that they are associated with.
  • Applicants should make sure they have all the necessary documents for applying for the student permit before they arrive in Costa Rica to ensure the process takes place without any delays.


  • Once the student receives an admission in a Costa Rican school, they should proceed to apply for a provisional student visa and a student permit.
  • Individuals who wish to stay in Costa Rica for more than 90 days are required to possess a Residence Permit which is further divided into categories based on the intent to stay in the country.
  • The student visa lies in the Special Category and is issued by the Immigration Department if a candidate fulfills all the required criteria.
  • To acquire a Costa Rica student visa, applicants must obtain a provisional student visa and the student permit.
  • A provisional student visa grants the hopefuls permission to enter the country and then they may apply for the student permit at the Immigration Department.


  • The Costa Rica consulate located in the home country of the applicants should be contacted for obtaining a provisional student visa.
  • Application for a provisional student visa should include the following items:
  • Write a letter for the acquisition of a special category provisional visa which must be signed by the Consul.
  • Make sure to include information such as your name, DOB, place of birth, and nationality.
  • The letter should further contain information regarding your passport number, occupation, the address of the place where you will reside when in Costa Rica, your contact information, and lastly your signature.
  • Attach a letter of acceptance from the school where you intend to study in Costa Rica.
  • Make sure to attach your birth certificate, certificate of police clearance, and a valid passport. Make copies of all the pages of your passport to attach to your visa application. Costa Rica passport requirements 6 months following entry in the country.
  • Provide proof of sufficient funds for pursuing studies and living in Costa Rica.


  • Applicants should bear in mind to collect all the documents required for a student permit before traveling to Costa Rica.
  • Each document should be translated to Spanish by an authentic translator and the translations should be notarized.
  • All the documents should be legalized in the candidate’s home country via the Costa Rica Consulate or by using the Apostille stamp if the candidate belongs to a country included in the Apostille convention.
  • The candidates should be compliant if the Costa Rica Consulate or the Immigration Department requests any additional information.
  • To attain a student permit application must be sent to the immigration department with the following documents:
  • Filled and signed application form.
  • A letter addressed to the Immigration Department clearly mentioning the reason you are asking for a Special Category Residence Permit i.e. a Student Permit. The letter should be signed in the presence of an immigration official or validated by an attorney. It should contain your full name, nationality, age, occupation, address of residence in Costa Rica in the duration of your stay and contact information.
  • A certificate confirming your enrollment at an educational institute in Costa Rica.
  • Receipt of the submitted application fees.
  • Two recent passport size photographs.
  • Before applying the make sure to register your fingerprints at the Ministry of Public Affairs in San Jose. Make sure to attach proofs of the fingerprint registration.
  • Proof of registration at the Costa Rica consulate.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Proof that you possess adequate funds to study and stay in the country. A certificate issued by a public accountant of economic solvency which indicates the origin of your financial assets or a proof of a scholarship if you possess one.
  • Photocopy of each page in your passport which should be notarized by a public Costa Rica notary.


Foreign nationals who intend to study in Costa Rica should make sure that they have a sound financial background to ensure a smooth stay in the country.


It is important to note that Costa Rica Student Visa does not permit the holder to work. So, supporting your tuition fee by working part-time is not an option.

Moreover, the Costa Rica Work Visa involves a long and tiring procedure which is why many employers avoid hiring foreign nationals altogether.

Costa Rica has extremely strict rules when it comes to hiring foreigners this is because the government wants to dissuade the practice.

Many foreign students assist themselves financially by gaining scholarships or working remotely as freelancers.

For US citizens and permanent residents studying in Costa Rica there is the option to apply for international student loans.

To be eligible the student must be enrolled in a school approved for international loan. The Costa Rica international student loans may cover the entire cost of education which includes tuition, rent, and living expenses.


Costa Rica is located in Central America flanked by Panama and Nicaragua.

Interestingly, while the country has a total landmass of only 0.03% as compared to the rest of the world, it is a sanctuary for over 5% of the world’s flora and fauna making it the biological diverse country on the planet.

Costa Rica is divided into seven provinces:

  • San José
  • Heredia
  • Alajuela
  • Cartago
  • Guanacaste
  • Puntarenas
  • Limón.

The capital province of the country is San Jose.

Costa Rica is a treasure trove for beautiful natural scenery. But there is more to Costa Rica than the sandy beaches, verdant rain forests, steaming hot springs, and magnificent volcanoes.

The country boasts of incredible biodiversity and is home to brilliantly feathered birds such as macaws, endearing sloths, and red-eyed tiny frogs. But the most admirable quality of the country is that it makes sustainability its number one priority.

Costa Rica has long been a favorite for globetrotters as it lives up to its motto Pura Vida i.e. Pure Life. It is the perfect destination to rejoice in nature’s beauty.

Visitors can enjoy various activities as there are some fantastic spots for bird watching and turtle nesting which allow one to connect with Mother Nature. For the adrenaline junkies the country offers attractions such as water rafting, canopy tours, rappelling, and scuba diving.


Costa Rica invests in quality education to ensure a bright future for the country by producing doctors, engineers, and skilled workers in various disciplines to strengthen its foundations.

It has an impressive 94% literacy rate for the population above the age of 15 and allocates 6.9% of its annual budget on education while the global average is just 4%.

Primary education up to the age of 13 is free of cost and mandatory.

There are over 4000 private schools, public universities, and numerous private universities as well.

Education takes the top spot on the national agenda because the country values sustainability.

Costa Ricans realize that education is what shapes the future of coming generations and is pivotal for creating responsible, moral citizens who take fulfilling their civic duties seriously.

The incredible biodiversity found in the country makes it an ideal place for pursuing studies in biological disciplines.


Requirements for a Costa Rica Visa are quite simple and outright. Not all foreigners require a visa to enter the country.

The country exempts visas for some nationalities and a visa exemption is also offered for candidates holding a visa belonging to the USA, Canada, or the Schengen zone.

The number of days an individual can stay in the country varies on the passport the individual possesses but the limit is mostly a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 90 days. 

Click here to check whether your country is visa-exempt or not.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!!

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