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Traveling to Costa Rica: What You Need to Know Before Applying for a U.S. Passport

Date Published:
May 15, 2021
Traveling to Costa Rica: What You Need to Know Before Applying for a U.S. Passport

Traveling to Costa Rica: What You Need to Know Before Applying for a U.S. Passport

Are you looking to travel to Costa Rica? You’re making an exceptional choice.

Costa Rica is an incredible mixture of tropical beaches, luscious rainforests, and rich cultural heritage. The nation has over 800 miles of coastline and houses 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity!

The country even boasts seven wildlife sanctuaries, 20 national parks, and 26 nationally protected areas. If you love surfing and hiking, you’ll struggle to find a better country than Costa Rica! The sheer beauty of Los Suenos and Playa Jaco awaits from the second your plane lands.

Better still, Costa Rica has opened its borders to American families. We understand how tempting a foreign vacation is after the nightmare of COVID-19 in recent times. That’s why we’ve made some tips on getting your passport ready for this beautiful country.

Passport Book vs. Passport Card?

The first decision you must make is whether to get a passport card or a passport book. If you’re flying to another overseas destination, you’ll need a passport book. In contrast, a passport card is perfect if you’re crossing the border via land or sea. Passport cards are convenient and less expensive, but you can’t use passport cards for international air travel.

Check your U.S. Passport Eligibility

Before you head to your Costa Rican paradise, you’ll need to ensure you’re eligible for a U.S. passport. You must be a U.S. citizen by naturalization or birth to apply.

You can use the form DS-11 if you meet one of the following criteria’s

  • You are under 16
  • You are applying for your first passport
  • You damaged your last passport
  • Someone stole your passport
  • The government issued your last passport over 15 years ago

Once you know you’re eligible, you’re a step closer to relaxing on the beach.

Where do I get my U.S. Passport?

Unlike in many countries, you can’t get your U.S. passport online. Therefore, you must submit your completed passport application, including citizenship evidence, passport photo, fees, and a photocopy of your I.D. at any passport acceptance facilities in the U.S.

The process is the same for passport cards and passport books; you must visit in person. Also, if you’re living overseas, you’ll need to submit a DS-11 form.

But what if it’s my first U.S. passport?

First, if it’s your first U.S. passport, you’re going to love traveling overseas. We cannot wait for you to experience Costa Rica’s majestic beauty.

  1. To begin, you’ll need to fill out a DS-11 form if it’s your first passport application.
  2. You’ll need to present a physical government-issued photo I.D.
  3. You’ll need citizenship evidence in the form of a naturalization or birth certificate.
  4. You’ll need a color passport photo with a frontal view of your face.
  5. You’ll need to pay the passport fee directly to the Department of State.

How long does a Passport Application take?

If you choose the routine service, a passport takes between 6-8 weeks to arrive. Alternatively, you might opt for the expedited service. This service will take around 2-3 weeks instead.

Make sure you have your passport ready long before your Costa Rica jungle retreat. You don’t want any stress from a tight schedule.

How much does a U.S. Passport cost?

If you’re getting a passport book, the application fee is $110. However, the application fee for a passport card is only $40.

Alternatively, you can get both the passport book and the passport card for $140. The application fee for a child is $80 for a passport book, $15 for a passport card, and $95 for both.

Trust us when we say it’s a cost worth paying to explore Costa Rica’s endless adventure and family fun.

What if I need to apply for Passport Renewal?

If you’re looking to renew your passport to travel to Costa Rica, you’ll need to fill out a DS-82 form. You’ll also need one color passport photo, your most recent U.S. passport (unless lost or stolen), and the paid fee.

You’ll then send your DS-82 form via mail, and they will send the passport and supporting documents back to you.

Final Thoughts

Although applying for a passport sounds challenging, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you follow the steps above, you’ll have your passport in no time at all. After that, you’re ready to enjoy the incredible Costa Rican beauty with your family. There has never been a better time to explore a tropical paradise, and we would love to help you plan your dream Costa Rica vacation. Call Adventure Tours Costa Rica to schedule your next vacation!