Costa Rica has redesigned and upgraded its passport to meet the world’s highest biometric standards. It started issuing what is being called the “Biometric Bicentennial Passport” on March 7, 2022. Costa Rica last redesigned its passport in 2015.
Biometric element brings passport into the modern age
Costa Rica’s General Director of Migration and Foreigners, Raquel Vargas, explained that the new passport includes an embedded microchip containing the holder’s biometric data such as facial characteristics, fingerprints, and personal data.
Vargas stated, “This passport elevates us to the highest level in global mobility trends. Its high-tech components prevent forgery and alteration, making it extremely secure… It also meets the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”
The new passport also has holograms, visible figures in intaglio prints, 3D drawing, a latent image, “Esencial” (Essential) mark, a security polycarbonate sheet with personal data, and other features.
Visual design: Celebration of Costa Rica, by Costa Ricans
The visually engaging graphics on the inside pages of the new passport reflect the country’s four trademark pillars:
- Biodiversity: represented by the country’s islands, hammerhead sharks, ocean waves, turtles, coral reefs, butterflies, and sloths.
- Renewable energy: represented by the nation’s volcanoes and hydroelectric plants.
- Education and peace: represented by the torch of independence, schoolbooks, and of course, “Pura Vida.”
- Talent: represented by the traditional ox cart, pre-Columbian spheres, Boruca masks, sculptures, and the music of marimba, calypso, and even the native Creole swing.
Authorities told Costa Rica News that this is the first time that Costa Ricans have created the design of their country’s passport.
Validity period is extended to 10 years
While the previous version of Costa Rica’s passport had a six-year validity period, the new passport will be valid for ten years. Currently-issued passports will remain valid until their stated expiration date. Vargas also noted that biometric technology will be available for the salvoconductos (travel documents) of refugees and foreigners, exit and entry permits for carriers, and permits for individuals living in border areas.
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