It’s official.

I recently published an update on extending entry visas to Costa Rica from 90 to 180 days.

Decades of waiting for this.

I also mentioned that the Costa Rica government was working with the Transportation Ministry to liberalize the validity of foreign driver’s licenses to better accommodate tourists and foreign residents.

IE: Eliminate the need for onerous border runs to keep licenses valid—not just for the new 180-day visas but also under other conditions.

A proposal was formally submitted to CR Congress.

And now finally – approved!

Effective May 7, 2024

(see the actual document below – Spanish & English)

Any foreign driver’s license will be deemed valid for much more extended periods, depending on legal status.

  • If you are here as a tourist on a 180 visa stamp, your unexpired foreign driver’s license will remain valid for 180 days. (Maximum visa length). The same goes for any visa stamp for fewer days. (It might only be 125, 90, or 30 days. Decided at the discretion of the border police. But the norm is 180 days).
  • Digital Nomads’ foreign driver’s licenses will continue to be valid for the entire year from the date of their approval.
  • If you applied for legal residency, your driver’s license will remain valid until you are approved and receive the DIMEX (residency) card. No matter how long that may take.
  • While you are waiting for approval on your application for legal residency (you read correctly) – OR  – once your application for legal residency is approved, you can homologate your foreign driver’s license. (Convert to a Costa Rica driver’s license). No more 91-day waiting period. No driver’s test.  Valid for up to 10 years.

Important ancillary information:
Types of police vehicles in Costa Rica

There are different types of police and police vehicles here in Costa Rica. The dark blue pick-ups, as pictured below, are the Transit Police, who handle traffic issues. (They also show up on motorcycles and in a few white SUVs for supervisory personnel. (Also pictured below).

Always carry a copy of your passport and foreign driver’s license. If you are driving your own vehicle, also be prepared to show proof of ownership and insurance. The same is true for a rental. IE: Be fully prepared to respond affirmatively to ” License and ownership, please.”