Do I need an international driver’s license?

Driving in Costa Rica with a Foreign Driver’s License

If you’re visiting Costa Rica as a tourist, you will not need to obtain an International driver’s license. Your foreign driver’s license from your home country will be valid for 90 days (3 months).The most common question is “What happens after the 90 days ?”  The maximum amount of time that a tourist can legally stay in Costa Rica is 90 days (3 months).  The validity of the license is tied to that time frame as well.You will have to leave Costa Rica and then re-enter to get another tourist visa which will, in turn, validate it for another 90 days.

I have a Residency application pending. Do I still need to leave every 90 days?

The Immigration and Traffic Laws are two separate pieces of legislation.  With your residency application pending, you can remain in Costa Rica.  Once you obtain your residency, you will no longer be required to go out of the country every 90 days to ensure that your driver’s license remains valid – if you plan to drive that is.

Leaving Costa Rica every 90 days certainly has a significant impact on the foreigners who are in “tramite” or in process. This is not only time consuming but can be expensive if visiting Nicaragua or Panama for a few days.

Once you have residency, you can obtain a Costa Rican driver’s license.

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