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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Costa Rica Eases Driving License Rules for Tourists and Expats

Good news for expats: the Legislative Assembly has passed a bill in its initial reading, aiming to amend the timeframe during which foreigners holding tourist or transit visas can utilize a license from their home country to drive in Costa Rica, while also streamlining the process for homologating the document.

The initiative amends Article 91 of the Transit Law, which currently permits these individuals to drive in Costa Rica for three months, as long as their foreign license remains valid, even if they are tourists or in transit.

With the approved initiative, individuals with a valid foreign license who are in the country as tourists or in transit will be able to operate the same type of vehicle for the same period of time as permitted by their license and visa.

Furthermore, the bill eliminates the requirement of continuous residency in Costa Rica for those seeking to homologate their documents. This accreditation is presently obtained at the moment of presenting the procedure before the Cosevi, supported by a registry of entries and exits from the country.

The repeal of this requirement applies to those who have an approved or pending immigration status, such as residency, work permit, or refugee status.

The plan was presented by the deputy of the PLN and legislative president, Rodrigo Arias. Arias highlighted the obstacles that hinder foreigners from carrying out daily activities in the country. Therefore, this project aims to prevent situations of helplessness for foreigners with legal residence who, for various reasons, cannot comply with the established period of three months of uninterrupted stay in the country.

The legislative president also explained that this initiative promotes inclusion, mobility, and road safety by facilitating driving for foreigners in Costa Rica.

A final vote is expected the first week of April. Afterwards, it must be published in La Gaceta (Official Gazzette) to become enforcable.

Last September, the General Directorate of Migration announced that foreigners were now able to stay in the country for an extended period of up to 180 days on a single tourist visa, doubling the previous limit of 90 days. However, the driving restrictions remained unchanged as the reform of the Transit Law was necessary.

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