Update August 1, 2021 – If you are fully vaccinated you are no longer required to purchase travel insurance to visit Costa Rica but you must still fill out the “Pase de Salud” and include documentation that the last dose of approved (Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was administered at least 14 days prior to arrival.
The pase de salud or electronic health pass for Costa Rica travel is simply a form you fill out with your contact, passport and flight information plus the the policy number for the required travel insurance.
- Every traveler must complete a form with parents/legal guardian doing one for each child under 18.
- You must complete this form at the Ministry of Health website 2 days or LESS before your scheduled arrival.
- The printed form displays information QR encoded (like a 2D barcode) so airlines, security, immigration, customs etc. can scan it for easy access to your history.
The form is relatively simple asking for basic information including passport, contact, insurance OR vaccine, flights and health. The form can only be completed starting two days prior to arrival.
You must certify that you do not have a fever (there are thermal scanning cameras in immigration), cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, sore throat or loss of smell or taste and that you have not been in contact with anyone with the virus. Finally you must state if you have entered any health facility where anyone has been diagnosed with COVID in the past 14 days.
The last requirement is a bit of a minefield since it excludes all health care workers and anyone who has had a check-up or broken leg in the past couple of weeks. Not sure what they are getting at with that question.
The travel insurance requirement is what gives most people problems. There are two possible paths through the insurance information. Either you’ve purchased the official Costa Rican insurance (Grupo INS or Sagicor) in which case you enter the policy number and they verify instantly or you’ve purchased other “international” (any thing but those two is considered “international” even if it’s from a Costa Rican company).
If you have international insurance you must upload an image showing the coverage, timespan etc. and within 24 hours an official from the ministry of health will determine if the coverage complies with requirements and either approve or reject your health pass.
Fines for providing false information or failure to comply with this or any other virus related regulations range from 450,200 – 2,300,000 colones (U.S. $750 – $4,000)
- I travel tomorrow but error says that is more than 48 hours from now – make sure you are entering your arrival date as dd/mm/yyyy so December 15, 2020 is 15/12/2020. This is backwards for U.S. residents used to putting the month first.
- Form does not work – travelers have reported that the form malfunctions with Internet Explorer (Windows) and Safari (Apple) so try using Chrome or Firefox instead.
- Form still does not work – Costa Rican government websites are notoriously unreliable. Wait an hour, clear cache and cookies and try again. If the form still does not work you can attempt to e-mail customer service – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Form never worked – If you absolutely cannot obtain a QR code then print out your COVID travel insurance policy showing 1) effective date, 2) coverage for at least $50k COVID health costs, 3) coverage of $2k or more for quarantine lodging, and 4) payment receipt. The policy must clearly show the name of each covered individual and everyone in your party will need proof.
- No Seat number – If you are on a flight without assigned seats put in a random number. They do not check but do not write “none,” “n/a” or other explanation as the form will only accept numbers.
- Do I have to print the form/QR code? – No. You may display the QR code on your phone but be sure that you have it pulled up before arrival. Your cellular data roaming may not work and it sometimes takes a while to connect to the airport wi-fi. Consider printing a hard copy for backup.
NOTE: The tourist visa issued upon entry to Costa Rica is now reduced from a standard 90 days for everyone to exactly the number of days shown on your proof of insurance. It is extremely difficult and time consuming to extend your visa (impossible according to the U.S. embassy) so if you think you may want to hang around after your vacation consider buying a longer insurance policy!
Every tourist must have insurance that covers $50,000 in COVID related medical costs and $2,000 in quarantine lodging for the duration of their stay. See details on where and how to purchase the best (or cheapest) qualifying policy.
There are three options
- Costa Rica official insurance from National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor of Costa Rica
- International Travel Insurance. One of the most popular (cheapest) options is Trawick which has been reported to work by a number of travelers.
- Personal or work health insurance
The official insurance is automatically accepted. International or Personal insurance must be documented as meeting the minimum requirements and then approved by a ministry of health official.
Initially only the official insurance was accepted and the monopoly pricing was as high as $1,000 for a two week visit. Competition from outside insurance has driven prices down and while the official insurance is still about twice as expensive independent policies may be as little as $2 per day for long stays.
Coverage for a typical 9 day trip costs around $50.