Marriage to a Costa Rican Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Costa Rican citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. The Costa Rican government imposes strict requirements on foreigners who marry Cost Ricans as an indirect way of discouraging Costa Rican citizens from moving to other countries.

You must demonstrate to Costa Rican officials that they are not currently married to anyone else - either you have never been married or all divorces are finalized - that your identity is proven, and that you have never committed any crimes in Costa Rica. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the Costa Rican government either in Costa Rican or via a Costa Rican embassy.

If you want to bring your Costa Rican spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.

See a sample Sponsorship Application


Costa Rican Marriage Basic Requirements

Obtaining a marriage certificate in Costa Rica involves the signing of two documents once the actual marriage ceremony has been concluded.

After the ceremony, paperwork must be submitted to the Civil Registry of Costa Rica. The whole processing of documents includes translation and authentication by the Consulate of the country of residence; it may vary from 10-12 weeks.

The marriage certificate is sent once all requirements are met to the address provided.

Required Information:

  • Full names of both groom and bride
  • Professional occupation should be stated
  • Current address of residence
  • Passport number and nationality
  • Marital status
  • Date and place of birth
  • Mailing address where the documentation should be sent
  • Email address and phone numbers

Required Documents:

  • Original ID of both partners
  • A valid passport
  • 2 witnesses, relatives of each partner are not allowed to act as witnesses
  • Sworn statement of single status, if divorced the name of court that decreed the divorce, and names of the spouse


Costa Rican marriage certificate


Family Members

If your Costa Rican spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Costa Rican Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Costa Rican citizen.


List of Costa Rican Consulates in Canada

Embassy of Costa Rica in Ottawa, Canada

Honorary Consulate of Costa Rica in Vancouver, British Columbia

Consulate General of Costa Rica in Toronto, Canada


Calling Costa Rica from Canada

  • The exit code for Canada is 011
  • The country code for Costa Rica is 506
  • Dial 011 – 506 – local number

Costa Rica does not have area codes. Local numbers are 8 digits long.

  • Landlines begin with 2 or 4
  • Cells begin with 5, 6, 7 or 8


Calling Canada from Costa Rica

  • The international calling code is 00
  • The country code for Canada is 1
  • Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local number


List of Canadian Area Codes

Province Code Province  Code

403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867

236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)


226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec

418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902    


Time Difference

Costa Rica is the Central Time Zone. They do not practice Daylight Saving Time.

Canadian Time Zone

# of Hours

# of Hours during DST

Pacific (BC, Yukon) Costa Rica is 2 hours ahead Costa Rica is 1 hour ahead
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) Costa Rica is 1 hour ahead Same Time
Saskatchewan Same Time Same Time
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) Same Time Costa Rica is 1 hour behind
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) Costa Rica is 1 hour behind Costa Rica is 2 hours behind
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) Costa Rica is 2 hours behind Costa Rica is 3 hours behind
Newfoundland Costa Rica is 2.5 hours behind Costa Rica is 3.5 hours behidn



The official currency of Costa Rica is colon abbreviated as c with two slashes like the American $. It is subdivided into 100 Centimos.  The American $ is also widely accepted as legal tender.



Coins are distributed in 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 Colones while banknotes are distributed into 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 Colones.

The Colon is also sometimes referred to as Peso which is common across Latin America. Costa Ricans call the 100 colon bill “teja,” and the 500 colon bill is known as “cinco teja.”

“Rojo” and “tucan” are the common terms for 1,000 and 5,000 colon bills.


Emergency Information for Canadians in Costa Rica

Costa Rica experiences a lot of rain from April to November, during the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica

Embassy of Canada in San Jose

La Sabana Executive Business Centre
Building No. 5, 3rd Floor
behind the Contraloría General de la República
San Jose

Costa Rica

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 351-1007, San José, Costa Rica

Telephone: 506 2242-4400
Fax: 506 2242-4410

View Larger Map


Canadian Government's Travel Alerts for Costa Rica


Costa Rican Wedding Traditions

One of the most important events of Costa Rican culture is weddings. The rituals involved are elaborate and each family member has a role to play. Marriage customs in Costa Rica are very heavily influenced by Spanish culture, almost all the traditions regarding marriage are similar to most Hispanic cultures.

Wedding Ceremony

A Hispanic wedding is very spiritual and it starts with a Roman Catholic mass where the bride and groom attend mass and are married off by a priest.


Sponsors are individuals who act as mentors to the couple throughout the engagement and marriage. They can counsel the couple when they need advice, and are very actively involved during the marriage preparations sometimes even helping out financially.

El Lazo

This is a symbolic rosary made of beads placed in figure 8 shapes around the couple’s necks after the exchange of vows.

The sponsors place the lasso around the couple’s necks.

Las Arras

This is a tradition borrowed from Spain where the groom presents the bride with 13 gold coins representing his commitment and support to her.

It is also a symbol of the groom’s ability to support the family.


A Costa Rican wedding, much like other Latino weddings have an elaborate family-oriented reception. After the couple has opened the dance, guests make a love-shaped ring around the couple and dance Salsa, Merengue, Mambo and other Latino dances.

Several foods are served at the reception including tapas, rice, beans, paella and chicken. A wedding cake is also cut by the couple and distributed to all guests.


Costa Rican Food for Weddings

Costa Rican cuisine is very similar to most Hispanic country’s cuisines whether it is food for daily use or for special occasions, these are common dishes in Costa Rica.

Gallo Pinto

This one of the most common dishes in Costa Rica that is a delicacy served at any occasion. It is basically Costa Rican rice and beans. The beans are cooked with a variety of spices to add flavor.


Oven-Baked Sweet Plantains

Very ripe plantains are peeled and cut into diagonal slices then sprayed with cooking oil and baked on a cookie sheet. They can be served as a snack with hot beverages or eaten plain.


Crab Salad

Cold and steamed fresh crabs are marinated with dressing then mixed with fresh lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, and any suitable sauce.

Other meats or fish can be substituted with the crab.


Costa Rican Tilapia

Fresh tilapia is marinated with lemon, olive oil and different spices. It is fried together with greens such as cilantro and served with rice. This is a very healthy dish enjoyed by people of all ages.


Heats of Palm Salad

Hearts of palm is a type of vegetable native to Costa Rica which is stemmed and cut into slices. It is used in a variety of dishes including parmesan salad.

The salad is a variety of other vegetable sautéed with spices, and parmesan cheese all mixed with the heart of palm.


Tuna Ceviche

Fresh Ahi tuna is used to make this dish, which is a sandwich like snack. Tuna is marinated with chopped mangos, avocado cubes, and ketchup and refrigerated to chill. They can be served with tortilla or flat bread.


Papaya Juice

Papaya cubes are blended together with ice cubes and water, then a little sugar to taste or honey. This is a perfect beverage on hot weather especially on special occasions.


Cosmo de San Jose

Cosmo is a drink made from guavas and raspberry liqueur and it is a popular drink throughout Costa Rica. Perfect as a cocktail, or just a drink to quench thirst.


Costa Rican Marinade

This is a popular and tasty Costa Rican marinade that can be used to coat meat, chicken, fish or pork. It has a variety of ingredients like lime juice, tomato juice, cilantro and red pepper. It should be left to chill for 24 hours before being used.


Ensalada Palmito

Another famous Costa Rican made from heart of palm, lettuce, lime juice, black pepper and tomato. It can be served together with meat, fish or any other dish or taken on its own.


Bass Ceviche

This recipe is shrimp and scallop marinated for about 1 hour in lemon juice, spices and cilantro before serving.

It is served with crackers or vegetables.


Costa Rican Plantains

Plantains are plants that look like bananas found in South America and some Caribbean islands as well. This recipe is made from fried plantains eaten with meat or rice and beans.


Avocado and Mango Salad

This is an excellent salad accompaniment for other foods like fish or pork. It is basically avocado cut into wedges and mixed with diced mango, chilli and garlic then served as salad.


Religion in Costa Rica

The Roman Catholic Church in Costa Rica is the main religion for more than 90% of the total population making the nation pre-dominantly Catholic.

The country is secular even though the relationship between the Church and state is not very strong, but freedom of worship is allowed.

A Roman Catholic wedding is the only recognized marriage in Costa Rican which is a clear indication that this religion has very strong roots.

Costa Ricans obey and strictly follow prayers which are signalled by Church bells all over the country. The week before Easter is a national holiday in Costa Rica, everyone is expected to be in their best behaviour and pray constantly.

Other religions in Costa Rica are Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.


Romantic, Historic and Scenic Places in Costa Rica


Proyecto Asis - La Fortuna

Asis Project is an environmental education and nature conservation centre whose main work is to rescue wild animals which have been found wounded or rescued from the black market by wildlife guard.

Tourists get a guided tour of the place and get to see endangered species or different animals. This is a lovely way to spend a honeymoon.


Reno's International Mini Golf and Amusement Centre - La Fortuna

This is a gaming and leisure destination with fun activities to suit all age groups from mini golf to soccer and other games.


Melia Cariari Golf Court - San Jose

This is a championship golf course that hosts pro and amateur tournaments. It is also a lovely destination for couples on honeymoon.


Museo Nacional - San Jose

This is a 19th century museum in Costa Rica that contains a lot of history and culture that tourists can learn.


Tropical Bunegee - San Jose

The tropical rainforest in Costa Rica provides the perfect location for bungee jumping. The Colorado River in Naranjo has a bridge 80 meters high which is a hot spot for bungee jumping enthusiast. This is a fun activity for a couple on a honeymoon in Costa Rica.


Casagua Horse Tours - Tamarindo

The Painted Pony Guest Ranch offers a horseback riding tours and training, they also have guides to spectacular trails throughout Costa Rica, a romantic activity for any couple on honeymoon in the country.


Pinilla Canopy Tour - Tamarindo

Couples who love adventure and the outdoors can visit the tropical dry forest and explore the forest via overhead platforms. Experience guides are always at hand to ensure no injuries, there are other facilities offered like bathrooms, elevator and activities for older children.


Ser Om Shanti Yoga Studio - Tamarindo

This is a massage and yoga haven in Tamarindo that offers yoga services whether for sports or therapy. The instructors are all qualified professionals some of who are bilingual.


Sport Fishing - Tamarindo

Couples can take part in sport fishing in Tamarindo. A boat ride is extra as tourists or couples head out into the water.


WB Surf Camp

This is a surfing school in Costa Rica that gives tourists a chance to learn how to ride waves and surf like pros. It is a fun and interesting way to enjoy a honeymoon holiday for any couple in Costa Rica.


Scenic Areas & Resorts

Arenal Natura Ecological Park - La Fortuna

This is a natural habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna all in one place. There are many activities that tourist can enjoy here from nature walks to activities tailored for kids.


Paradise Hot Springs - La Fortuna

Thermal hot water pools have been created in a volcanic area in the city of La Fortuna de San Carlos. Other facilities are massage and Jacuzzis.


Tabacon Hot Springs - La Fortuna

These are natural hot springs that have been turned hot water baths and pools. There are also very cool and beautiful gardens that add to the charm of this location.


Rio Celeste

This is a secluded and very enchanting environment that is in complete harmony with nature. It features waterfalls and pools which create the ideal place for a romantic honeymoon.


Bringing Gifts to Costa Rica

Duty Free

  • 400 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars
  • 500 grams of tobacco
  • 5 liters of  alcohol

Restricted Items

  • Weapons and ammunition require a permit from firearms and explosive department
  • Motor vehicles imported are liable to higher tax, amount depends on model and year of manufacture
  • Cats, dogs and other pets should have general health and rabies vaccination certificates

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs
  • Pornography


Salaries in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the number of hours worked depends on the nature of work. Working days are categorized into two types normal days referred to as jornadas ordinarias normales, and special working days referred to as jornadas especiales o de excepcion.

Both types can be further divided into day and night shifts, normal working days are 8 to a maximum of 10 per day.

Working on Saturday might be considered as special working days, it can also apply to domestic workers who work till mid-day.

Typical Hourly Wages:

  • Unskilled worker US$ 1.81
  • Semi-skilled worker US$1.96
  • Skilled worker US$2.11
  • High school graduate USD$2.27
  • Specialized worker USD$2.43
  • College graduate USD$2.80
  • University graduate USD$3.43


Sponsoring Your Costa Rican Spouse to Come to Canada

Sponsoring your spouse to come to Canada can be a complicated process. To learn more about it, click the button below:

Learn More