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If this is your first Costa Rican driver’s license you need to go to COSEVI the Costa Rican motor vehicles department located in La Uruca.  To get your license you need the following documents:

  • A current foreign driver’s license and a copy thereof. You don’t really need a drivers license but if you don’t have one you will have to take the driver’s test.
  • A medical certificate. Which you can obtain at one of the many medical clinics on the same street and south of COSEVI.  If you don’t spot one walk to the gate to COSEVI and there are people there hawking their individual clinics.  You should get this done before you go into COSEVI.  The cost is 10,000 colones.  They will ask you for your blood type as that must be on the license.  If you don’t know it, the clinic can draw blood and determine it for an extra charge.  The exam is brief and does not require the removal of any clothes.
  • Your passport and a copy of the 2 main pages (the one with your picture and the one with your signature).  You might also want to provide a copy of the stamp of your most recent arrival into Costa Rica.  While there is a lot of dispute about how long you can stay in Costa Rica as a tourist you should bring evidence that you have not overextended your stay by providing a copy of your last entry stamp of your passport and if you have one, a copy of your visa.   (US citizens do not have a separate visa document.)
  • Cash to pay for the medical exam and the license.  (The license is about 4,000 colones.)

If you don’t speak Spanish it is best to take someone with you who does.  With your medical exam in hand you will go to the building that issues driver’s licenses, which is in the back of the complex.  You will be sent upstairs first to present your documents then you will be sent downstairs and will need to take a number in order to meet with the next employee of COSEVI.  During the process you will have to go to the bank in the front of the complex to pay for your license and then return to the same building so wear your walking shoes!  During the process you will have your picture taken and at the end they will provide you with your license.

You are now legal to drive in Costa Rica.  Good luck and drive defensively.

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