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Now Legal: Tourists Can Now Drive Up to 180 Days Without Exiting Costa Rica

This is a welcomed news for both tourists and expatriates

par Yves Pepito Malette
1,3K vues

The Costa Rican Legislature has just given its approval, during the second round of debates, for a pivotal amendment to Article 91 of the Transit Law. This significant change introduces key benefits primarily for residency seekers and tourists.

Now, individuals applying for residency can seamlessly use their existing driver’s licenses throughout the application process, eliminating the need for inconvenient border runs. Additionally, tourists are granted the privilege to drive across the country for the duration of their tourist visa, marking a substantial improvement in visitor experience.

This legislative changes centers on the acceptance of foreign driver’s licenses under specific conditions:

Tourists or transit passengers holding a valid foreign driver’s license are permitted to operate the type of vehicle their license covers (up to a maximum of 180 days), aligned with the duration specified by their immigration status.

Individuals with a foreign driver’s license, either with an approved immigration status in Costa Rica or those applying for legal status, alongside foreign diplomats, consular officials, and accredited international organization members, are allowed to drive without the need for a continuous stay.

They are eligible for a Costa Rican driver’s license once they meet certain criteria, including holding a valid license and proving their legal or pending legal immigration status.

«As a frequent traveler to Costa Rica, I’ve always admired its lush landscapes, friendly locals, and the ease of navigating through its diverse terrains. However, the hassle of needing to renew my ability to drive every 90 days through border runs or navigating the complexities of local licensing as a residency applicant was a significant inconvenience. This recent legislative change by the Costa Rican Legislature, allowing the use of foreign driver’s licenses for tourists and residency seekers throughout their stay or application process, is a game-changer. It not only simplifies the process, making the country even more accessible and welcoming for visitors like me with this new 180-day tourist visa.»

– Sandra Baker, a now happy tourist in Tamarindo

The legislative adjustment was championed by Don Rodrigo Arias, current president of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, and Alejandra Larios, a National Liberation Party Member of Parliament from the Province of Guanacaste.

This move underscores Costa Rica’s commitment to welcoming and facilitating a more enjoyable stay for international guests and expatriates.

The update follows a previous decree by the General Directorate of Migration, which extended the tourist visa duration to 180 days, a significant increase from the former 90-day limit. However, the previous limitations on driving for foreigners posed challenges, now resolved by this legislative amendment. This is a welcomed news for both tourists and expatriates, simplifying their stay and mobility within the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica.

This amendment is currently awaiting the President’s signature and its subsequent publication in La Gaceta before becoming law, signaling a new era of convenience and accessibility for international drivers in Costa Rica.

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