Debunking Misinformation: Costa Rica’s Driver’s License Not Valid For 180-day stay - Expat Community

Debunking Misinformation: Costa Rica’s Driver’s License Not Valid For 180-day stay

Oct 19, 2023 | Costa Rica, Knowledge Base | 0 comments

Recently, Costa Rica announced the extension of the tourist visa to a 180-day period. This development has sparked numerous questions, and speculations have been swirling around regarding several vital aspects.


One particularly prevalent rumor pertains to a “new law” about the validity of foreign driver’s licenses in Costa Rica. In this article, we aim to clarify these rumors and provide factual information.


To legally drive in Costa Rica, everyone needs a valid driver’s license. Notably, foreign driver’s licenses in Costa Rica are NOT valid beyond 90 days, even if your visa stamp suggests a longer stay.


The formal notice published in “La Gaceta” on October 12 does NOT introduce a new law. Instead, it’s an official announcement indicating that a new bill on this topic has been presented to the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly (Congress).


Article 91 of the Transit Law is under active consideration for potential amendment. This proposed change aims to synchronize the validity period of foreign driver’s licenses with the duration of the tourist visa granted upon entry to Costa Rica. To put it another way, if this amendment is passed, the duration of foreign driver’s license privileges would be consistent with the length of your tourist visa.


For now, this bill is set to undergo discussion in Congress, where its fate will be determined.


It’s crucial to understand that until such an amendment becomes official law, the standing 90-day tourist visa renewal rule applies to maintain the validity of a foreign driver’s license in Costa Rica. As such, we urge visitors to adhere to current regulations until any new legislation takes effect.


Misunderstandings and misinterpretations can lead to complications. Therefore, always depend on trustworthy sources for information. Refrain from making decisions based on unconfirmed or partial information, particularly when it pertains to legal considerations that might affect your standing in Costa Rica.


Be assured that we are closely monitoring this issue. Should there be any changes concerning the validity of foreign driver’s licenses in relation to the duration of tourist visas, we will promptly relay this information to the community.

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