If you don’t already have a passport, you need to acquire one as soon as possible. The processing time for passport applications takes between 4-6 weeks, although it can take longer. Find the application, current processing times, and directions at the U.S. Department of State website.

If you do already have a passport, please make sure that it is valid until at least May 15th of the year that you are participating in the semester program. It will need to be longer if you plan to continue to travel after you finish your QERC semester.

You should bring two color or black and white photocopies of your passport (the page with information and your photo). Copies are accepted forms of identification, and are easier to replace if lost. As you travel to Costa Rica, keep your passport with you in a handy, but safe place, as you will need your passport to exchange money, fill out forms, go through Immigration, etc.

Students do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in Costa Rica or Nicaragua.


Get the details from your insurance carrier about whether or not their services are also offered in Costa Rica. Be aware in Costa Rica, the cost of medical services must be paid for in advance by the patient, and reimbursed by insurance. Get clear instructions about the information you’ll need to provide them about your visit to the doctor.

QERC also requires that students have an international health insurance plan.


Notify Bank and Credit Card accounts you will be traveling in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Failure to do so will normally trigger a fraud alert, and make it tricky for you to access your money. You can find the exact dates of travel by accessing the Academic Calendar. We also recommend that you find out the costs or any regulations your bank may have regarding the use of an ATM in a foreign country. Students will have some, although very limited, access to ATMs throughout their time in Costa Rica.

Make certain your finances are in order; including endorsement of checks, signing of loan papers, and any bill which must be paid during your time abroad.


Students can fit all they need for their semester at QERC in one checked bag. Most students lament how much they brought about half way through the semester- so we recommend packing light! To find our list of packing recommendations, click here.