Home Costa Rica Legal TopicsDriving in Costa Rica Easier Driver’s License Validation for Foreigners in Costa Rica

Easier Driver’s License Validation for Foreigners in Costa Rica

by rpetersen

Costa Rica is reforming its Traffic Law to make it easier for foreigners with valid driving licenses to drive in the country. Previously, foreigners could drive for only three months with their foreign license. The new initiative allows them to drive for the same period as their visa permits, eliminating the three-month limitation and the requirement for continuous stay in the country for license validation. This change particularly benefits tourists and those with approved or in-process immigration status, enhancing mobility and simplifying the validation process.

The Essence of the Reform

The proposed law would remove from  Article 91 of the Traffic Law for Public Roads and Road Safety (Law 9078) the requirement for drivers accredited with a foreign driving license to have an uninterrupted stay in the country of more than three months before they can validate a foreign license.

Benefits for Expats and Tourists

This reform is expected to have a wide range of benefits, including:

For those of you on tourist status it would extend the validity of your foreign driver’s license by tying it to the term of your tourist visa.  For example, if you were granted a 180-tourist visa under the current law you could only drive for 90 days because that is the maximum specified in the Traffic Law.  With this modification, you can continue to drive in Costa Rica with your foreign driver’s license so long as you have a valid tourist visa and up to the time frame indicated in your visa.

For those of you who have a residency status in Costa Rica and want to get a Costa Rican driver’s license, you can now do so without having to wait three months after getting your residency.  This requirement of the traffic law made no sense at all and this reform addresses it.  As such once you have your DIMEX card in hand for residency you can then immediately apply for your Costa Rican driver’s license.

A Welcome Gesture

Costa Rica’s move to ease the license validation process underscores its commitment to attracting foreign investment and retirees by reducing bureaucratic barriers, the country enhances its appeal as a destination for expatriates and tourists.

Related Articles