Embracing Automation: Costa Rica’s Move to Stampless Passports

In a world increasingly embracing digital solutions, the concept of Stampless Passports is gaining traction. This innovative approach, recently adopted by Costa Rica, signifies a significant shift in immigration procedures, enhancing efficiency and convenience for travelers.

In a significant move towards automation, Costa Rica’s Immigration Department (DGME) has announced a major change in its immigration control procedures. Effective January 16, 2023, Costa Rican citizens and residents will no longer receive stamps on their passports when passing through air and sea immigration controls. This article delves into the details of this new development and its implications for Stampless Passports for travel.

The Shift Towards Automation

The DGME’s decision to eliminate passport stamps for Costa Ricans and residents is part of a broader initiative to automate the technological systems that gather essential data from citizens and residents at the country’s borders. By adopting Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD), Costa Rican authorities aim to reduce the use of physical documents, reduce administrative costs associated with manual procedures, and enhance transparency and efficiency in public administration.

Enhancing User Experience

The DGME is committed to improving the user experience by providing a reliable and accessible database on its website. This online platform will allow citizens and residents to review their records and movements or request a certification.

Understanding the New Provisions: CIRCULAR DG-02-01-2023

The new provisions apply differently to various points of entry and categories of travelers:

1. Air Travel

  • At Juan Santamaría and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airports, the entry stamp at the immigration control is now obsolete for nationals and residents. However, non-resident foreigners (tourists) will continue to receive passport stamps indicating their legally permitted stay duration in Costa Rica. The departure immigration process remains unchanged.
  • At Tobías Bolaños International Airport, entry and departure stamps for nationals and residents are eliminated. Again, non-resident foreigners will still receive passport stamps.

2. Sea Travel

The entry and departure stamp at the immigration control is also eliminated for nationals and residents traveling by sea. Only necessary entry certificates will be stamped. Non-resident foreigners will continue to receive passport stamps.

3. Land Travel

The current immigration control process remains unchanged for land travel.

Checking Migratory Movements

The DGME is taking steps to guide users through this transition. Immigration officers will inform all Costa Ricans and residents about the procedure to request their migratory movements record from the DGME. The DGME website will provide these records, and requests can also be made through the email: [email protected]

Certifying Migratory Movements

To obtain a certification of your migratory movements, you must make a request through the DGME website. Once processed, you must email [email protected] with the voucher number of the application and proof of payment. The payment of $1.41 USD plus ₡15 Colones should be made to the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) account CR86015201001025489683.

Implementation Timeline

The DGME issued the memo on January 10th, and it was published and made effective on January 16th, 2023. From this date onwards, residents and citizens will not receive passport stamps.


The introduction of Stampless Passports in Costa Rica marks a significant milestone in the evolution of travel procedures. This move not only streamlines the immigration process but also paves the way for a more seamless and efficient travel experience. As we continue to embrace digital transformation in various aspects of our lives, it’s clear that innovations like Stampless Passports are set to become the norm, redefining the future of global mobility.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need an exit stamp from Costa Rica?

As of the new regulations implemented on January 16, 2023, Costa Rican citizens and residents do not require an exit stamp when leaving the country through air and sea immigration controls. However, the process for non-residents and tourists remains unchanged.

Do you have to go through customs in Costa Rica?

Yes, all travelers entering Costa Rica must go through customs. This process involves declaring any goods you bring into the country and may involve a search of your luggage.

Can I travel to Costa Rica with a criminal record?

The decision to allow entry to Costa Rica for someone with a criminal record is at the discretion of the immigration officer. It’s recommended to contact the Costa Rican embassy or consulate in your home country for specific advice.

How long does it take to clear customs in Costa Rica?

The time it takes to clear customs in Costa Rica can vary depending on the time of day, the number of arrivals, and whether your luggage is selected for inspection. Generally, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

How does the US know when you leave the country?

The US primarily relies on passenger manifests from airlines and other transportation companies to track when and where citizens leave the country. Additionally, if you enter another country, that country may share entry data with the US.

How do I get my arrival departure record?

You can request your arrival-departure record in Costa Rica from the DGME website. After your request is processed, you can review your records online or request a certification.

Does Costa Rica have an exit fee?

Yes, Costa Rica has an exit fee, often called a departure tax. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the fee was $29, but check the current rate before your travel is recommended.

What happens if you don’t get an exit stamp?

If you don’t get an exit stamp when required, it could cause problems when you try to re-enter the country or enter your next destination, as it proves that you left your previous location legally.

How do I get a tourist stamp in Costa Rica?

As per the new regulations, tourists will continue to receive a stamp on their passports upon entry into Costa Rica. This stamp, which includes the legal time they are granted to stay, is typically given at immigration control at the point of entry.



Looking for a Loan? – Click HERE.
Looking for Real Estate? – Click HERE.
Looking for Profitable Investments? – Click HERE.

Add Your Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.