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Foreigners in Costa Rica can now legally drive until November 18

July 16, 2020

Tourists can legally operate a vehicle in Costa Rica with a valid foreign driver’s license until November 18, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) has announced.

“A grace period is granted to drivers who are in the country as tourists, so that they can drive using their country’s license until November 18, 2020,” MOPT said in a statement. This applies to tourists who entered the country after December 17, 2019.

Tourists must carry their passport as proof of their immigration status — in addition to their foreign license — when driving, MOPT said.

Permanent and temporary residents who should have homologated their license after March 20, 2020 have until November 18 to do so.

“An extension is granted for drivers who are in the country as refugees, permanent [or] temporary residents, with work permits, or Costa Ricans who had to homologate their foreign license after March 20, so that they have until 18 November 2020 to carry out the homologation process, which can be applied even if their license has expired,” MOPT said.

Finally, Costa Rican licenses set to expire this year have been automatically extended as follows:

Costa Rican driver’s license renewals

Expiration date on license

Date of extension

From March 20-31, 2020

Extended until July 31, 2020

From April 1-30

Extended until August 31

From May 1-31

Extended until September 30

From June 1 to July 31

Extended until October 31

From August 1 to September 30

Extended until November 30

From October 1 to November 30

Extended until December 31

From December 1 to Jan. 31, 2021

Extended until January 31, 2021

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.

But the coronavirus caused Costa Rica to enact border restrictions in mid-March that will last until August 2, forcing subsequent changes in immigration and driving policies.

Homologation reservations are available Thursday mornings at this link.

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