San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Visas-made-easy for Christmas in U.S.

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica is looking to simplify the process for foreigners traveling to the states this Christmas season.

Whether it´s to load up on presents during the holiday sales, to visit family or simply to play in the snow, the process might be a little easier this year with added interviews in the afternoon and a reduction in wait time for a visa interview to eight days.

According to an embassy statement, the afternoon appointments are an “unprecedented step” that will allow “as many qualified travelers as possible to enjoy the holidays in the manner they prefer.”

Consular personnel expect to receive 540 applications per day in the coming weeks. To handle the expected surge in requests, embassy officials are asking Costa Ricans who do not plan to travel during the holidays to postpone their appointment.

“Costa Ricans and other third-country nationals can request an appointment now, but can help their countrymen who are making last-minute plans by requesting that their appointment be scheduled in January, when the number of applicants generally drops,” read a statement from U.S. embassy.

According to the embassy, 5,533 Costa Rican citizens applied for U.S. visitors visas in November. Of that number, 4,345 (78 percent) were issued visas.

The U.S. Embassy recommends

Scheduling a visa appointment: Persons needing to schedule a visa interview before Christmas are urged to call 0-800-0521465 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible, and are cautioned not to pre-pay any travel expenses (airlines, hotels, etc.) until after they have been told at the interview whether they are currently eligible for a visa. With the high volume of cases currently being handled, the embassy will not be able to accommodate any direct requests for preferential treatment. 

Preparing for your interview: The embassy encourages visa applicants to be prepared for their interview. It is important for an applicant to arrive on time the day of the interview and present all required documentation needed to apply for a U.S. visa. To learn about the documentation needed for the interview, visit the U.S. Embassy Web site at:

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