Travel, COVID-19

I’m a foreigner in Costa Rica. What should I know about mandatory vaccination in the country?

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Arianna Hernández

As of December 1, Costa Rica will require that people be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars, hotels, stores, museums, movie theaters and other types of businesses. The measure will apply to tourists as well as Costa Ricans and foreigners living in the country.

Businesses will verify data with a QR code that the Ministry of Health will generate for each person. This can work digitally or physically, the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, explained in the press conference on October 13.

Implementing this measure is one more step to give “incentives” to people who have already been vaccinated against the virus and to encourage others who haven’t yet, according to the President’s Office.

The government will gradually relax health restrictions in a responsible way for the last months of 2021, especially for people who are fully vaccinated,” they affirmed.

In this way, Costa Rica joins a list of countries such as France, the United States and Greece, where their residents are required to be fully vaccinated to get into different businesses.

How do you obtain the QR code if you are a tourist in Costa Rica or if you got vaccinated abroad? The Voice de Guanacaste collected questions from the foreign community about the new measure.

I got the vaccine outside of the country. What can I do?

Before implementing the QR code, the Ministry of Health recommended that people (Costa Ricans and foreigners) who got the vaccine outside of Costa Rica certify the doses with the institution.

This procedure can only be done by Costa Ricans and foreigners with a legal residence in the country (permanent, temporary, special and refugees).

To do this, you have to send an email to [email protected] with your first and last name as the subject:

  1. Sworn declaration (you can sign digitally or sign physically and scan it).
  2. A complete copy of the vaccination card (and its respective translation if necessary).
  3. A copy of your identification document.
  4. Complete the vaccination form
  5. Have completed the health pass when entering the country.

The Ministry of Health will review the information and generate a QR code upon certification. If you did this process before the presidential announcement, you can verify in your EDUS virtual user account if your vaccination records and the code appear there. If they don’t appear there, go to the health center where you are registered.

I’m a foreigner but I got the vaccine in Costa Rica. Will I receive the code?

Yes. Since you are already in the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) records, you probably received the vaccination certificate at the email you provided to the EBAIS. If not, you can go to the nearest health center or complete this form, sign it (digitally or physically and scan it), and send it to the email [email protected].

What if I’m a tourist?

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) hasn’t yet published its official plan for the new measure.

However, in August, Minister of Tourism Gustavo Segura affirmed that tourists who enter Costa Rican territory will receive a QR code to demonstrate that they meet the necessary entry requirements. The minister did not set a date to begin applying this measure.

So far, Costa Rica doesn’t require COVID-19 vaccination to enter the country. Tourists that aren’t fully immunized can purchase insurance that covers specific expenses in case of becoming ill and needing to quarantine.

So far, the vaccines authorized for entering the country without insurance are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Neither ICT nor the Ministry of Health have specified whether those are the same vaccines that they will accept to generate the QR code, necessary starting in December.

I’m a foreigner and I own a business in the country. How do I verify the codes?

The authorities promised to give more details in the coming days. For now, they announced that businesses will be able to verify customer QR codes via this link.

 People will be able to upload the code digitally or carry a printed one with them.

Although the Ministry of Health still hasn’t specified what the sanctions will be for businesses that don’t implement the measure, the Public Ministry has authorization to close down and fine any establishment that doesn’t comply with the health protocols indicated by the Ministry of Health.