Needed Docs for Driver’s License #37

If you have received your residency for Costa Rica, you are ready to start the process of applying for you driver’s license. To drive legally up to this point, you would need a valid visa. Before you head to the driver’s license office, you need to put together a folder containing a few documents. I will list them here; you must have two copies of each.

Your current state driver’s license, front and back.
(This must be translated from the current language to Spanish by a certified translator. Make two copies.)

Your current driver’s license record from the state you came from. In most states you can download your record from DMV website. You may need to pay a fee. Depending on the state and how they handle it, your printout may differ in some ways. I record showed my license was up to date, I had no tickets and the last time I renewed my license.
(This must be translated from the current language to Spanish by a certified translator. Make two copies.)

Your passport, the page with your picture and standard information.

Your passport page that has your visa stamps where you entered Costa Rica.

Your Marchamo; this is the registration for your vehicle. If you have a vehicle.

Your tile for your vehicle. I did not have a title; I used my bill of sale.

Your Coasta Rica residente card, front and back.

Once you have collected all your documents and made two copies of everything, you have completed the first step.

Your second step is the make an appointment. If you are not sure, depending on where you live in the country ask around or call the office.

ARCR can help you with getting an appointment with the Cosevi office closest to you. Plus, they can help you with lots of processes that an expat you might need. Phone: 220-0055 Email:

I live on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. This is the process I followed to get an appointment at the in the city of Limon:  

Once my appointment was confirmed, I made my way to the driver’s license office in Limon. It is about 5 km west of Limon on hwy 32. When you arrive, park, and put on your mask—in our current pandemic times–you will see an old yellow school bus. There are two gates near it. The one by the school bus is the one to use to enter the government offices area. Ask the guard where the driver’s license office is. He will point to the left of the gate about 50 yards or 45 meters.

At the second gate by this office, you will meet a second guard who will check his clipboard to make sure you have an appointment. After you have been confirmed, you will be asked to wash your hands. Once you have completed this task, he will take you into the office and direct you to take a seat next to the office where your paperwork will be checked. When I handed my folder with all my copies, I then gave the lady my original passport, residency card, and driver’s license. If all your paperwork is in order, you will be directed to go back out to the main gate and enter the school bus.

This is where a doctor will ask you some basic questions. Think of it as a health form that you normally fill out when you go to a doctor’s office. It will ask about your height, weight, if you have any health problems, what is your general health, etc. Once you have answered all the questions from the doctor, you will pay 23,000 colones for the doctor visit. You will then be given a document with an exam number as proof you have completed the exam and paid the fee.

Leaving the bus, you return to the license office with your proof to continue your process. When you reenter the office, you are directed to take a seat in front of a window where your information will be entered into the computer, and you will be asked a few questions.

As I recall, these were my phone number, email address, and local address. Make sure you know what your local address is. My address is: 100 meters north of Duende Gourmet beach side. Understand it is not a typical street address you think of in the U.S. or Canada. Once this process is completed you will be directed to return to the bus to pay for your actual driver’s license card.

When your reach the bus, the clerk that you paid the money to for the health question form will check the computer to see that your information has been entered. If all is good, you will pay the clerk 7,000 colones for your driver’s license. After payment you will receive a paper receipt which you take back to the office.

When you enter the office, return to the window where your data was inputted and have a seat nearby. When the lady is ready, she will have you take a seat in front of the blue screen. You will be facing the camera behind her. This is where you have your picture taken that will go on your license.

You will be asked to remove your mask and glasses if you ware any, for the picture, and after you will be asked to sign two books for receipt of your new plastic driver’s license.

Now you are done, and you can head home knowing that you can drive in Costa Rica for the next three years, without the need of a visa. Or the need to make a border run every three months.