Starting in 2021, nationals of Costa Rica will need to apply for an ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens in order to visit the countries of the Schengen Area. The ETIAS, or European Travel Information and Authorization System, is being introduced within the Schengen Area as a visa waiver system that will replace the travel authorization agreements the Schengen Area currently shares with 60 countries across the globe. The purpose of the ETIAS is to improve security at the borders of the Schengen Area, reduce the risk of terrorism within Schengen countries, and enhance public safety and security to both residents and visitors within these countries. The ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens is not a guarantee of entry into the Schengen Area; however, once holders of the ETIAS have been granted entry into a Schengen country, they may travel freely between all 26 of the Schengen member states.
Individuals traveling to the Schengen Area on a Costa Rican passport must obtain their ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens before they arrive in the Schengen Area. Since the ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens can be completed entirely online, however, applicants do not need to visit an embassy or consulate to obtain the visa waiver. Furthermore, the electronic nature of the application process means that Costa Rican nationals can even submit their ETIAS application from outside Costa Rica, if, for example, they are already traveling when they decide to visit the Schengen Area. This makes the ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens more convenient than a traditional Schengen visa.
Once it has been approved, the ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens allows the holder to enter and travel between the Schengen member states for a maximum period of 90 days within any single 180-day period. Costa Rican ETIAS holders are also entitled to leave and re-enter the Schengen Area multiple times during this period, though travelers should note that doing so will not reset the 90-day period during which they are entitled to stay.
What Documents do Costa Ricans Need to Obtain ETIAS?
In order to conform to the ETIAS Requirements for Costa Rican Citizens, applicants from Costa Rica must possess a valid passport issued by the government of Costa Rica. This passport must be valid not only at the time of applying for the ETIAS, but also for a minimum of three months after the date upon which the holder plans to enter the Schengen Area.
In addition to this requirement, Costa Ricans wishing to obtain an ETIAS will also need to be in possession of the following:
- A valid debit or credit card, necessary for payment of the application processing fee
- A functioning email address, required to send and receive all communications regarding the ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens, including updates on application processing, final acceptance or rejection of application, and any necessary processes of appeal in the case that an application is rejected
How to Apply for ETIAS from Costa Rica
The ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens requires Costa Ricans intending to travel to the Schengen Area to complete and submit an online application form which will then be reviewed by European authorities and cross-checked against various European security databases.
In total, the application process should not take much longer than ten minutes. However, it is recommended that applicants carefully review all the information they have entered on the form before they submit their application, as even the most minor error may cause the processing of their application to be delayed or, in some cases, rejected entirely.
When submitting an ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens, travelers will be required to provide a number of items of information about themselves, including:
- Personal information — applicant’s name, date and location of birth, gender, etc.
- Contact details — applicant’s home address, phone number, and email address
- Passport details — passport number, date of issue, expiry date, etc.
- Travel plans/itinerary/schedule — travelers should be able to provide their provisional itinerary for their trip within the Schengen countries, and in particular, identify their intended port of entry into the Schengen Area
The ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens will also require applicants to provide the answers to several questions regarding their criminal history and health status.
Applicants whose ETIAS applications are approved will be sent a confirmation notice by email. Travelers should print a hard copy of this notice and carry it with them when traveling. This is so that they will be able to present it to transport authorities upon leaving Costa Rica or border officials upon arrival at their Schengen port of entry.
The acceptance rate for ETIAS applications is expected to be around 95%. Any traveler whose application is rejected, however, will receive an explanation for this rejection by email. The traveler may then appeal the rejection directly to the Schengen member state to which they intend to travel first. This state will then process the repeal according to its own laws and regulations.
How Long Does It Take to Get ETIAS from Costa Rica?
Most ETIAS for Costa Rican Citizens are approved and delivered within just a few minutes. Occasionally, however, delays do occur, so travelers are advised to submit their ETIAS Application for Costa Rican Citizens well before their intended departure date from Costa Rica.