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Travel & Leisure, March 2012

How long does my passport have to be valid?

Check the expiration date on your passport/s.

Although the Costa Rican government now says that you can enter Costa Rica on a passport that expires the next day, our experience is that this could change any minute. Regardless and even if Costa Rica allows you to enter, if your passport expires while you are outside of the U.S. you will have to visit an embassy and go through the process of replacing it. Not the way you want to spend vacation.

A general word to the wise: In years past entrance requirements were much less strictly enforced than they are today. Today, policy on passport validity changes frequently. Airline counter personal in the country of origin are responsible for enforcing entrance requirements before boarding your flight to Costa Rica, but on arrival the Costa Rican immigration officials will have the last call on whether or not you can enter. Although it appears that for now the rules have relaxed, it’s possible that this could change overnight. If you want to be safe, it’s a good idea to have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your date of travel.

We recommend that you check now, while you still have time to get a new one.

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