Costa Rica Research Permits

If you’re coming to Costa Rica to carry out field research, Costa Rican law requires that you obtain a research permit.  UGA Costa Rica is happy to help facilitate this process for you.  Please follow the instructions below and contact the UGA Costa Rica Campus Research, Instruction, and Internships Coordinator, , for assistance in obtaining your permits.

Note #1: Research and collection permits are required for faculty of academic programs with courses that involve the manipulation of specimens

Note #2: We are able to help process collection and export permits for research taking place within the Monteverde region for the fees described below. However, an additional $150 service fee will be charged for processing collection and export permits on research being conducted within the Bellbird Biological Corridor, but outside of the Monteverde region. We are unable to process collection/export permits for research projects taking place outside of the Bellbird Biological Corridor, but we will be happy to direct you to the appropriate SINAC office.

Note #3: Research projects that involve access to DNA extraction and manipulation require additional permits. These permits require up to 6 months of advanced notice for proper processing. Additional fees to the regular permit may apply.

When to Apply:

Application materials must be sent to . Complete application materials must be recieved at least 6 weeks prior to the start date of the research project in the field. Applications received after the 6 week deadline will be rejected automatically, without exception.


1. Please gather the following research permit application materials:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 1 Color passport photo (professional grade, chest and face)
  • Copy of Passport
  • Letter from institutional sponsor addressed to SINAC and issued by the head of the institution or department that is supporting your research (dean, director, supervisor, etc). Must be printed on institutional letterhead paper. Form FOI-004-003 download here.
  • Research form FOI-004-001 download here.
  • Research Project Proposal in Spanish with the components below.
    • Title
    • Background
    • Justification
    • Objectives
    • Research methods
    • Expected results
    • Strategy for communication of results to local community
    • Implications of your research for the creation of new conservation policies
    • If the project requires collection of material, there needs to be a list of species that will be collected, the number of individuals per species, the collecting method, methods to process material, uses and destination of the material
  • Calendar for progress. The permit requires a calendar that shows when the researcher is planning to issue a progress report and final report. Use specific forms when applying.

2. Please fill out the UGA CR Research Form and Agreement.

3. Please read and sign the Release, Waiver of Liability, and Covenant not to Sue. (Please sign one form per researcher/assistant.)

4. If you are planning to take specimens out of Costa Rica, please download the Costa Rica Export Permit Form.

5. Please review the list of documents above mentioned and make sure that you have the original signed sheets.

6. Please color scan, at a minimum resolution of 600 dpi, all the documents (including the passport photos) into a single PDF image and email this file to  at .

Research Collection Permit Cost:

$150 USD for one permit valid for the Principal Investigator. There is an extra charge of $35 for every co-investigator or research assistant. If the permit application meets UGACR’s criteria and the documentation for the Government’s permit application is complete, UGACR Staff will email you a secure link for payment via our secure credit card payment system.

Export Permit Cost:

In addition to the cost to process the research collection permit, there is a $100 fee for processing an associated export permit should you desire to export your collections out of Costa Rica. This request must be indicated and the fee paid at the time you request the research collection permit.

Permit Renovation:

Permits are valid for 6 months, and can be renewed. If you need to renew your permit, contact  for assistance. Original research passport and copy of legal resolution must be provided 6 weeks before the next field session for permit renewal. In order to avoid delays, it is better to leave these documents with UGACR Staff before departing Costa Rica.

USA Import Permits

If you have obtained your Costa Rican collection permit and Costa Rica export permit and are planning to import specimens from Costa Rica into the USA, you will need an import permit. Depending on what you want to import, you may need different forms.


There are several different categories from which to choose when applying for import permits. Please visit the links provided to get the most current information and forms. The United States Department of Agriculture is the regulatory agency for importing specimens into the U.S. The USDA site is extremely well laid out, easy to navigate, and provides a comprehensive explanation for all aspects of importation or exportation, including Endangered Species laws and regulations. For a broad overview of importing regulations please visit the USDA Import and Export homepage and explore the many options.  To go directly to the information and forms required per category, please follow the links below.

  • Plants
  • Insects  The USDA considers any and all live insects and other arthropods as Organisms, so don't be thrown off by the "Regulated Organisms and Soil Permit" title.
  • Animals  Be sure to check the requirements for your specimen destination on the State Import and Export page.


The cost of each import permit varries per category and sometimes fluctuates each year.

When to Apply:

Although application deadlines vary, they generally take 4-6 weeks to process, but confirm with the USDA's current time frame on their website.