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Foreigners in Costa Rica can now legally drive after three-month limit

April 29, 2020

Tourists with a valid foreign driver’s license can legally operate a vehicle in Costa Rica beyond the typical three-month limit, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) has announced.

In a press release issued Wednesday night, MOPT said the following:

We extend through May 15 the grace period for drivers whose license has expired after March 20, 2020, so that during the period from March 20 to May 15, 2020, they are not fined for this cause. 

The same period of time applies for drivers with a valid foreign driver’s license, with an uninterrupted stay in the country for longer than three months and who should have homologated their license as of March 20. 

In addition, for those who are in Costa Rica as tourists and have entered the country after December 17, 2019, we authorize an extension until July 17, 2020 to renew, in the case that their homologation status is expired. 

[Emphasis is ours.]

Under normal circumstances, foreigners can legally drive in Costa Rica using a driver’s license from another country for up to three months after their arrival. This doesn’t usually cause problems, because Costa Rica issues tourist visas for up to 90 days.

However, Costa Rica has extended tourist visas due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many foreigners in the country unable to drive if they have been here for more than three months.

Foreigners who entered Costa Rica on a tourist visa after December 17, 2019, can legally remain in Costa Rica until July 17, 2020. And now, with a valid foreign license, they can legally drive throughout that period, too.

Update: A previous version of this story mistranslated March and May, because that’s what happens when breaking news happens late at night. 

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