I successfully obtained my Costa Rican license last week! A big part of me being able to do this so quickly was thanks to the many helpful blogs I read on the topic. Since the Costa Rican rules are always changing and they don’t tend to make this vital information available to the public, other peoples’ blogs were the only information I could find online. I will now share the process I went through in hopes to help someone else who is in need of getting a Costa Rican drivers license ASAP.
* You do not need a CR license if you are just visiting the country, driving with a valid license from your home country/state is just fine (as long as you haven’t over-stayed your 3 months here). If you are here on a resident Visa like me, you will need to get a CR license.
** The process is much easier if you have a valid license from your home country. If it expires or you just don’t have one to begin with, you are required to do all the steps below PLUS take a driving and written exam. In Spanish.
WHAT TO BRING: Valid drivers license, passport, cash. You will also need 3 copies of your drivers license (front and back) 3 copies of the front page of your passport, 3 copies of your most recent entry stamp and 3 copies of your visa (if you have one). Medical form and proof of blood type (if possible: see below)
STEP 1: You need to get to the COSEVI in La Uruca, just North West of San Jose. Get there EARLY to dodge long lines. It opens at 8AM, get there 1/2 an hour before and get your medical exam over with at a clinic next door before the place even opens.
Step 2: Yep, you read that right, you need a medical exam. You have to go to a sketchy medical clinic and pay $40 to have a “doctor” fill out a form stating you are in good medical condition. I’m pretty sure these fake doctors are the only people who have the exact form you need, and the definitely make a lot of money for doing nothing (I was not exam-ed at all, he just filled out the form and let me go).
STEP 3: If you do not have medical proof of your blood type, they will make you do a blood test in their lab there. I felt totally uncomfortable with this as the place didn’t seem all that clean and no one seemed like a professional medical worker. I would DEFINITELY recommend bringing proof from elsewhere. I unfortunately didn’t do this and had to do it there, after which I immediately felt like throwing up/passing out. I’m not good with blood anyway, and having to do this there was a worst case scenario for me.
*** Why do you need blood type? Good question! My host brother said it was so if I died in a car accident here they would clone me. In that case, would my clone be an American or Costa Rican citizen?
STEP 4: GET IN LINE once you are finished throwing up/passing out 🙂 If you don’t have all the copies you need from above, you can pay to make copies at a place in the compound.
STEP 5: Bring all your copies, license and passport to the foreign license department. You will wait in line, they will bring you upstairs and stamp all your copies (without even looking at them). They will send you downstairs and someone will give you a bill.
STEP 6: You have to walk to the BCR (Banco de Costa Rica) in the compound wait in line and give them the bill and pay there (it cost me $4,000 CRC- bring cash just in case)
STEP 7: After paying, bring your receipt back to the department where you got the bill (wear comfortable shoes, it’s all in one compound but it’s a lot of walking). They will ask you a few questions (CR address, height, weight, etc.) Snap an awkward photo of you (they say “don’t smile!” right before they take the picture. If I had known this was a rule I would have practiced my Zoolander face.
After the picture they print your license out in 2 seconds, and you are done and ready to take off on a tour of the Guanacaste beaches (at least that’s what I’m doing)
Tenga Buena Suerte!!!!!!