by: Robelyn M. Yambao
Requirements and Plane tickets
As a Filipino citizen, you are only required a valid passport and a round trip tickets. I bought mine through KLM airlines because they offer routes that Filipinos are allowed to enter without a transit visa. You will need transits in different countries before arriving Costa Rica since there is no straight flight from PH to CR.
These are the countries that we are allowed to enter without a transit visa: Taiwan, Amsterdam, and Panama.
For more info about the airline, you can visit klm website. The fare is almost $3000 round trip valid for one year but non-refundable nor transferable.
You can use credit card or debit card in booking your tickets. I don't recommend online booking nor calling international number because they are costly, it can reach almost $5000. I booked mine through local landline with Filipino agent because they will give you the base cost or reasonable rate. They can also speak fluent English so you don't have to worry about communication problem. Just visit their office for more info in Makati city.
Facing Immigration Officer confidently
Your flight going to CR is at terminal 3, you should go straight to the KLM counter during your check-In time because your travel tax is already paid in your ticket. Just show your valid passport, valid ID and the ticket booking.
When you are done checking in, you need to pay the terminal fee before entering the Immigration section. This experience was last 2014 so, please be aware of the changes because when I traveled to Vietnam this year 2016 the terminal fee is already included in my ticket but not my travel tax and this is with Cebu Pacific. Take note that each airline has different rules. So, always ask the agent about it to be aware with the changes.
When entering the Immigration section, please be prepared with all your documents like round trip tickets, boarding pass, passport, filled-out departure form, print out hotel booking and other documents related with your travel including another ID.
The officer will ask personal questions and also your purpose of travel. If this will be your first time, you will need to have second interview where mostly they denied and will ask you to re-book your flight if you don't know how to answer them because of lack of documents or whatever their reasons are.
The documents mostly are:
If you have business in the Philippines, show your business permit and latest tax payment.
If your relative invited you, show your invitation letter certified by the embassy with affidavit of support.
If you are financially independent, show your credit card statement or bank certificate.
Tips: Book only short trip if you plan to stay longer just re-book it so Immigration won't suspect you for staying longer in your destination. If you already booked your tickets in the exact number of days allowed in the country which is 30 days, don't show it to them. Two weeks vacation is mostly acceptable or 10 days but if you are confident enough by saying 30 days or more it is also okay as long as you can support yourself. If you can convince the officer that you are coming back to PH then, congratulations!
Arriving at Costa Rica Airport
When you search on the internet, Filipinos are allowed to stay in CR for 30 days. But, in my experience they stamped 3 months. The immigration asked me how long am gonna stay so I said only 28 days since I thought we are allowed only 30 days. But I was surprised when I lived there for almost a year because I was allowed to stay 3 months without exiting the country.
The officer will ask you to show your round trip tickets but sometimes they won't ask anymore but always be prepared.
Tip: Here, you can tell the officer the days of stay at most so they can stamp your passport with 3 months, if short time only you might get one month stamp.
This is all for today, just feel free to comment below if you have more questions about traveling in Costa Rica.
Have a nice and safe trip!!! Don't forget to pray for protection all the time.
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A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.