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December 10th, 2009
I was preparing another of those “My Readers Write” posts that I do every so often, and this topic came up… again. Maybe it is time to give it its own space as apparently it is not clear to some people.
The question is always something like this: “I have heard I cannot fly to Costs Rica using a one-way ticket.”
My answer is, as always, “No, you can NOT unless you are a citizen of Costa Rica or have in your possession a valid and current residency ID card (cedula) proving that you live here. If you try, you will almost assuredly not be permitted to board the plane. If you do make it on board, you may well get caught at THIS end by immigration. Airlines are required to verify that any person attempting to fly and using a one way ticket is, in fact, a legal resident of Costa Rica. Most airlines (read that as all) try to follow the procedure religiously as they are faced not only with large potential fines, but also for paying for the return flight for the passenger when he is refused entry in Costa Rica.
Now please, before you start composing your comment telling me that you, your friend, your friend’s girlfriend and her auntie, etc flew here on a one-way ticket with no issue, please remember my “job” on this blog and in the RCR Web Site is to deal with facts, not luck or urban legend.
Read on if you wish!
First? What is the big deal? Why require a round trip ticket for non residents?
Simple! Like most countries, including the USA, (and actually many grandparents entertaining their grandkids), Costa Rica wants you to come and visit… and then go home.
In my various companies and in the various work I do, I come in constant contact with folks wanting to move here, moving here, returning here, etc. as well as numerous tourists. I see this refusal thing at least once per month! Further, I see a lot of folks refused entry who do not have at least six months remaining on their passports before it expires.
The most recent example was last week when two friends (ages 75+), flying US Air, were refused passage at the Phoenix airport. They were required to buy return tickets (at the last minute attractive price of $1,100.00) in order to continue their flight. They were told they could easily get a refund in Costa Rica losing only $50.00 cancellation fee for each ticket. As a side, that did not go well. US Air apparently is only open in downtown San Jose one day per week, and cancellations cannot be made at the San Jose airport. Oh well. They actually knew this, but forgot in the rush of moving and packing and all the last minute crappola involved in relocating to Costa Rica.
Anyway, while you might get lucky and NOT get stopped, the inconvenience, possibility of missing your flight/connections, maybe not having big $$$ for that last minute return flight, not to mention trying to get your money back… well it is just not worth the risk.
Before you fly here:
1. Make SURE you have a least six months remaining before your passport expires. they may let it pass with only ninety days, but I do not recommend taking the chance.
2. If trying to use a one way ticket, remember that you must prove that you are a legal resident or citizen of Costa Rica. That does NOT mean that you have applied for or are in process of obtaining residency. It means you have that ID card in your grubby little hand!
OK~ Now you have been warned. Any questions?
Filed under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Residency, Costa Rica Tourism, Expatriate Life, Immigration & Residency, Moving to Costa Rica, Questions from Readers, Tourism, Travel, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (24)