Travel Alert: U.S. Embassy San Jose (4 September 2020)
Location: Costa Rica — Level 4 Do Not Travel
Event: Information on September COVID-19 Restrictions. Information on Revised Requirements for Entry into Costa Rica and Repatriation Flights in September PLEASE READ ENTIRE MESSAGE.
Costa Rica has confirmed 45,680 cases of Corona virus as of September 4, 2020. The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has announced the COVID-19 related measures for September. From August 31 through September 8, the “transition phase,” many commercial businesses in Orange Alert areas must remain closed. Exceptions include: supermarkets, hardware stores, delivery services, vehicle repairs, stores in general, restaurants and beauty salons. The “transition phase” does not impact businesses operating in Yellow Alert areas. In Yellow Alert areas, most commercial establishments can operate normally from August 31 through September 30. From September 9 through September 30, the “open phase,” most commercial establishments can remain open nationwide, including in Orange Alert areas. For an English language summary of what establishments can operate during September, please visit this link.
Vehicle restrictions based on license plates will also continue in September and will be standardized throughout Costa Rica. On weekdays, vehicles with authorized license plate numbers are permitted to drive from 5am to 10pm. On weekends, vehicles with authorized license plate numbers are permitted to drive from 5am to 8pm. The border-area driving restrictions, which have typically been more stringent, will not apply in September. Beaches will remain open nationwide from 5am to 2:30pm regardless of the phase. National Parks will also remain open nationwide regardless of phase. For an English language summary of these restrictions, please visit this link.
The Ministry of Health expanded the list of states from which tourists can enter Costa Rica. As of September 1, 2020, U.S. citizen tourists who are residents of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia may enter Costa Rica. As of September 15, residents from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Colorado will also be allowed to enter Costa Rica. As of September 1, U.S. tourists from authorized states can arrive to Costa Rica via a flight with a layover in a non-authorized state or country. For example, a Colorado resident can fly from Denver to Houston to Costa Rica, as long as they do not exit the airport in Houston.
The Ministry of Health has also modified entry requirements from U.S. citizen tourists. As of September 1, U.S. citizens from authorized states wishing to enter Costa Rica must complete a digital epidemiological health pass, obtain a negative PCR-RT coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of their departure from the United States, and purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19. U.S. tourists must also demonstrate, via a valid driver’s license or State ID card, that they live in one of the authorized states. No forms of documentation establishing residency in these select states other than a valid driver’s license or State ID card will be accepted at this time. Accompanying minors are not required to have a driver’s license. For an English language summary of these requirements, please visit this link.
The Costa Rica Directorate of Migration has announced that Permanent/Temporary Residents of Costa Rica may enter the country via air regardless of where they are coming from but must present the following documentation: 1) Passport, 2) Valid DIMEX, 3) evidence Caja payments are up to date for each person, and 4) a completed Health Pass (Pase de Salud). Costa Rican Permanent/Temporary Residents and Costa Rican citizens must complete a 14-day quarantine. However, the quarantine is waived if 1) arriving from one of a list of authorized countries, 2) have proof of stay for the past 14 days in that country, and 3) carry a negative COVID-19 test (PCR-RT) taken no more than 72 hours before their flight to Costa Rica. For a summary of entry requirements for permanent and temporary residents, please visit this link.