UPDATE: As of April 1, 2022 the health pass and all other Covid related entry and travel restrictions for Costa Rica have been eliminated.
- No testing required
- No vaccination required
- No “pase de salud” electronic health pass required
- No travel insurance required
- No QR codes required
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 filing a separate one for each child under 18.
- You must complete this form at the Ministry of Health website 3 calendar days or LESS before your scheduled arrival. The official timeframe says “72 hours or less” but the programmers that coded the form actually used 3 calendar days so you can in fact fill out the form almost 96 hours in advance depending on your flight time.
- 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.
- As of Dec. 1 the QR code is also supposed to function for proof of vaccination status for access to non-essential businesses HOWEVER it’s a very good idea to also carry your printed, physical vaccine card or proof of vaccination when going to restaurants, hotels, tours etc. because some travelers have reported that the QR code does not always work.
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be completed starting three days prior to arrival (for the first several months it was two days so you may see that outdated info in a lot of places).
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. Answering “yes” to this question does not prevent you from visiting, it’s for informational purposes
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 72 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 proof of vaccination -or- 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 proof of insurance for unvaccinated travelers. 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 unvaccinated tourist must have insurance that covers $50,000 in COVID related medical costs ($20,000 if you buy from a Costa Rica company) 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.
Coverage for a typical 9 day trip costs around $$30 – 50 per person.