Getting a U.S. Visa in Costa Rica

Looking to get your US Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in Costa Rica?

Below you will find reviews from others who have, including turnaround times, and appointment wait times.

If you’re looking for more information about the types of visa available and other locations, visit my Immigration section and you can read everything from a step-by-step guide to the E3 visa through to introductions to the best immigration lawyers available.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or email [email protected] – I love getting your questions!

If you’ve recently gone through a visa process (good or bad), I’d love to hear about it so I can help people in the future!

San José, Costa Rica


3 days


4 reviews


 E-3 New
1 Day
San José, Costa Rica - not California. Extremely quick, passport back same day
- Nick (about 10 months ago)


 E-3 New
3 Days
I had my interview at 9.30am and arrived at 9am, however I wish I had gotten there earlier to beat the queues. It was a 2.5 hr wait from when I walked in the door to walking out. I was asked what I studied, where I would be working, why I chose San Jose (shortest wait time) and what I had been doing in NYC 2 months prior (interviewing but NOT working which is allowed on the ESTA). The lady said my passport would be ready within 5 business days but I got it back 3 days later. I elected to pick my passport up from the post office in San Jose centre, Correro Central. It is a bit sketchy so just be careful. I stayed just outside the city centre but I wish I had turned it into a holiday and visited the coast which is where all the beautiful beaches and places are to visit. This was my first E3 though so I wanted to get in and out asap.
- Brittany (about 10 months ago)


 E-3 New
3 Days
Firstly, thanks for building this website, I had so much confidence going to the interview. I spoke to 5 lawyers, each giving me different advice about the Visa and 4 out of the 5 said I was not eligible for the E3 (which was complete BS). So please, do your own research, then go to the lawyers if you need the help. I didn’t use a lawyer to help with the Visa. When booking the interview, the wait time in San Jose says 1 day for all other non-immigrant visa’s. The E3 is considered a visitor visa in their system, which had a wait time of 45 days. Don’t worry, just book the appointment and send an emergency request. I literally booked the appointment on the Friday, wrote the letter on Friday afternoon and was on a flight on Monday night! So, I was in America on a B1 Visa for 6.5 months, yes, I overstayed, but 45 days before my Visa expired, I applied for an extension and was asked to submit further paperwork before the 30th August. (Needless to say, I bought that document with me- which apart from my LCA, it was the only document they wanted to see…They didn’t even ask for my employment contract). I was questioned more about my stay for the previous 6 months, than the actual job, I was asked 3x if I was working whilst on my B1 Visa, each time I responded with the truth- ‘I was working under the provision of my B1 Visa’, which meant I was not employed by a US company or being paid by a US employer. I was also asked if I had ever been arrested, which I hadn’t and the interviewer said, ‘are you sure?’ I said ‘I have never been arrested’. The staff there are so lovely! The person interviewing me was quite rude, but I didn’t really expect much else. There was another person from Australia applying for their E3 Visa and he was being questioned for a very long time, but his answers were convincing. He was asked to present a lot more documentation than I was, so take all the papers that you think you may need. Every-one spoke English, the wait was a few hours, so get there early.. The traffic was a nightmare, so stay close to the Embassy. Then you go downtown to pick up the passport at the post office. Which is in the heart of the typically Central America Markets. All in all, it was a great experience. For a few hour direct flight to and from the US (compared to the 17+ hours to Sydney), it is very well worth it.
- Chris (about 8 months ago)


 E-3 Renewal
5 Days
San Jose was a great renewal experience. I made an early appointment for Monday and after waiting in several lines was done in about 90 minutes. The interview officer even apologized for the wait before telling me my passport would be ready in 4 to 5 days. As promised it was ready in time to fly out the following Friday night.
- Scott (about 2 months ago)