Student Visa Process for Costa Rica

According to Costa Rican law, the most appropriate legal status for you during your API program is that of a student, which necessitates a student visa. Your Program Coordinator and the API on-site staff are happy to provide you with assistance throughout the process of soliciting a visa. This process, however, is quite elaborate and expensive for students. 

Over the past several years, the majority of API students in Costa Rica have elected to enter the country as tourists and leave Costa Rica within 90 days of their arrival date for a mandated 72-hour period (in order to renew their tourist visa for a second period of 90 days). Given this experience, API consulted our Costa Rica university partners and determined that the schools will accept this alternative in lieu of requiring each student to solicit a student visa. As such, API offers an international excursion as part of the program cost to satisfy the 72-hour leave period so that tourist visas may be renewed. 

Special note for non-U.S. citizens: 

API welcomes participants who are citizens of countries outside of the U.S. However, non-U.S. citizens may have different entry and visa requirements in Costa Rica and any other countries visited during their time abroad. API can only provide limited guidance on these matters, as we are not familiar with the immigration requirements of all countries for non-U.S. citizens. Your Program Coordinator will be available for some advising, but it will ultimately be up to you to determine the visa requirements that apply to you. We recommend consulting with the International Students office at your U.S. university for guidance on the visa process.