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Admissions: Pre-Arrival Guide: Arrival Information

A person, (if you're a Regular Course student and you participate in the Big Brother Program; this will be your Big Brother/Sister), will meet you at the airport if you have notified them of your flight information. Be sure to include your travel information in the Big Brother Form. If there are changes in your flight schedule, let them know immediately. (It would be helpful for your Big Brother to have a picture of you.) He/she will be waiting for you outside the terminal while you go through the following steps:

  1. Enter the terminal and follow the crowd to immigration.

  2. Immigration: Present your passport and immigration form (that you will receive and fill out on the plane) so that your entry into Costa Rica can be properly documented. Be sure you have your itinerary for leaving Costa Rica handy, as they may ask for it.

  3. Baggage Claim: Proceed to the Baggage Claim area. Load your baggage on one or more carts. *If your baggage is missing, do not leave the baggage area until you have filled out a form for the missing pieces at the claims area. Lost luggage usually arrives in a day or two.

  4. Customs: Get in line at the customs checkpoint and wait for clearance.

  5. Inspection: When passing through the Customs Inspection area give them the customs declaration slip and simply do as you are requested. Do not speak Spanish! If and only if the Customs Official opens your luggage and questions the contents, then present your introductory letter in Spanish from the Institute to the Customs Official. Like all countries, Costa Rica has a complex set of laws concerning the conditions under which various items may be imported. Customs officials have flexibility in applying these laws! The official could handle your baggage in any of the following ways:

    1. Not open any of your luggage.
    2. Spot check one or two items and wave the rest of your baggage through without charging any duty.
    3. Open and carefully inspect each item, give a tax value to everything and stamp the value in your passport. If the total duty exceeds the $100 you are allowed, you will be required to pay the excess duty.
    4. It is possible the official will note some duty in your passport, but this usually amounts to less than your allowance so that you pay no actual duty. However, no matter what, don't argue with him! If you run into a problem, you could ask to go see your Big Brother/Sister who is waiting for you outside the door.

  6. Porters: After clearing customs, at the exit, a baggage handler will offer to help you. If you have more than two bags each, please use a porter. The tip is normally $1 per bag. Watch your bags at all times.

  7. Leaving the building: As you exit the customs area doors, you can go right or left because there are two lanes and both go to the street. The taxi booth where you hire a taxi and pay is to the left out the doors. If you do not see your Big Brother or a sign with the Institute, go to the area of the left exit and wait.

Note: If your Big Brother/Sister doesn't arrive at the airport, or your flight is delayed or canceled and you cannot first contact your Big Brother/Sister, please call the Institute at 2227-7366.

You will receive the Admissions Coordinator and Big Brother Coordinator contact information in a packet via email once you've been accepted as a student. Make sure to take this information with you, along with the Institute's phone number, on your flight!




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