COSTA RICA Onward and Outbound Tickets


Most travel guides, travel sites, and embassies do not tell you that Costa Rica has recently stepped up enforcement of its entry requirements. Immigration now requires tourists to have onward/outbound tickets verifying scheduled departure from the country within 90 days. An onward or outbound ticket is defined as a pre-purchased, verifiable airline or bus ticket to another country.

Specifically, the ICT (Costa Rica’s Tourist Board) states that “All visitors must have an entry and exit ticket, whether it is by air or by land [bus] . . . as a requirement to enter the country.” Consequently, airlines are not letting passengers board a flight to Costa Rica without documented proof of onward travel. Round trip tickets departing within 90 days automatically qualify. However, you must have an onward/outbound ticket if you are:


a) flying into Cost Rica on a one way ticket


b) flying into Costa Rica and flying out of another country, or


c) planning to stay for more than 90 days.


Purchase your onward/bus ticket through TICKETBUSCR.COM before you start your journey. This will give you the documented, verifiable proof you need to board your flight and enter the country.


Purchasing an Costa Rica Onward/Outbound Ticket


Airlines don’t always question your one-way ticket upon check in; but sometimes they do and will DEMAND the purchase of a ticket out of Costa Rica within the 90 days (this can be VERY costly when unexpected so, have a credit card handy) before letting you board the plane


To purchase an onward ticket, we will need a scanned copy of your passport, travel destination, date of travel, and payment via PAYPAL 

When we receive the necessary information and payment, We will send you a confirmation of your bus ticket within 24 hours. If you need it sooner, let us know. If possible, we will “Rush” the process and send your ticket in a matter of hours.

For further verification, print your PAYPAL receipt along with your confirmation of bus ticket when you are asked to document when you intend to leave Cost Rica. This is all you need to board your flight and enter the country.


Entering, Exiting and Re-entering Costa Rica

The New Law

Costa Rica’s new immigration law, Ley de Migración y Extranjería Nº 8764, went into effect March, 2010. It has changed several times since. While parts of the law are not yet enforced and interpretations vary, it is important to know that it is ultimately the traveler who is held accountable for having the proper documents to enter and exit the country.

See the information below for what you need to enter, exit and re-enter Costa Rica as of January, 2012:

Passport: A passport must be in good condition, and, depending upon your country of origin, it must be valid for three to six months.  

The Letter of the Law: Pasaporte en buen estado (la vigencia mínima del pasaportes corresponderá a tres meses para las personas nacionales de los países ubicados en el primer y segundo grupo de las Directrices de Ingreso a Costa Rica y seis meses para aquellas del tercer y cuarto grupo).

Onward (Exit) Ticket: Before being allowed to board a flight or enter the country, tourists must have documented, verifiable proof that they will be exiting the country (continuing their journey or returning from where they arrived, “Tiquete de continuidad de viaje o retorno al país de procedencia”) before their visa expires.

Proof can be in the form of a round trip ticket, a pre-purchased airline or bus ticket to another country or documentation verifying passage by sea. The ICT states that “All visitors must have an entry and exit ticket, whether it is by air or by land (bus), as the case may be, as a requirement to entre (sic) the country.”

A one way ticket: Please note that the definition of a one way ticket includes not only a one way ticket into the country but also

a ticket into Costa Rica with departure booked from another country

a roundtrip ticket with a departure date scheduled after one’s visa expires, typically 90 days after entry.

Visas: Most travelers are automatically issued a visa (stamped on their passport) when they enter the country and not before. Visitors from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are allowed to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Those from other countries should check with their nearest consulate.

Economic Resources:  Tourists must be able to show that they have $100 for every month they will be in the country.

Departure Tax: Travelers are required to pay an exit tax before leaving the country via the airport and at most borders. $28 USD is currently charged those exiting at the airport and those leaving at a border crossing pay less.

 Exit: Tourists are required to exit the county before their visa expires.

Overstaying Visa: The law states that “persons who overstay the time allowed on their visa may have to pay $100 and cannot return for three times as many days as they exceeded the time allotted.”

Re-entry: Tourists can exit and re-enter Costa Rica if they have the documents required to enter the country, including a valid passport and an onward/outbound ticket. The law does not state that tourists need to stay out of the country for 72 hours before re-entry, as is often stated by travel sites.

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