Costa Rica Driving Licence or Driver Permit

Costa Rica Driving Licence : Obtaining your driver’s license in Costa Rica provides the freedom to explore the beautiful beaches, rainforests and volcanoes of this Central American paradise.

This guide covers everything you need to know about getting your Costa Rican driver’s permit, including license types, required documents, tests and more.

Types of Driver’s Licenses in Costa Rica

There are several categories of driver’s licenses issued in Costa Rica:

  • Category 1 – Motorcycles up to 125cc
  • Category 2 – Vehicles up to 10 passengers
  • Category 3 – Trucks under 3.5 tons
  • Category 4 – Public transportation vehicles
  • Category 5 – Heavy trucks and buses

The minimum age to obtain a license is 18 years old. You must apply for the appropriate class for the vehicle type you intend to drive.

Documents Required for Costa Rica Driving Licence

Gather these documents before applying for your Costa Rican driver’s license:

  • Application form from driving school
  • Identity card or valid passport
  • Proof of legal residency if foreigner
  • Eye exam certificate from ophthalmologist
  • Proof of completed driving courses
  • Receipt of payment of fees
  • 2 passport photos

Taking the Written Exam for Costa Rica License

The written test covers:

  • Traffic signs, signals, pavement markings
  • Traffic laws and regulations
  • Safe driving techniques
  • Basic vehicle maintenance
  • Emergency procedures

Tips for passing the written exam:

  • Study the driver’s manual and road signs
  • Take practice theory tests
  • Bring ID and required documents
  • There are 40 multiple choice questions
  • A minimum of 32 correct answers is required to pass

Passing the Driving Test in Costa Rica

The practical driving test assesses skills through:

  • Vehicle inspection
  • Basic maneuvers like parking, three-point turns
  • Driving in traffic and on the highway
  • Obeying traffic laws and signals

Tips for passing the driving test:

  • Use the driving school’s vehicle
  • Check mirrors, signals, blind spots
  • Control speed and stay focused
  • Drive defensively but confidently
  • The test takes about 20-30 minutes

Getting Your Costa Rica Driver’s License

Follow these steps to obtain your license in Costa Rica:

  1. Register for theory and practical driving lessons
  2. Study for and pass the written exam
  3. Get eye exam certificate from ophthalmologist
  4. Take and pass the practical on-road test
  5. Submit all required documents and fees
  6. Get photo taken for license
  7. New plastic license card will be issued
  8. Licenses are valid for 10 years

Renewing a Costa Rica Driver’s License

To renew your Costa Rican driver’s license:

  • Licenses can be renewed 30 days before expiration
  • Visit the licensing office and submit renewal application
  • Complete new eye exam
  • Provide updated passport photos
  • Pay ₡5,000 license renewal fee
  • New license card will be issued valid for 10 years

Replacing a Lost or Stolen Costa Rica License

If your driver’s license is lost or stolen, follow these steps:

  • File a police report regarding the missing license
  • Bring police report to licensing office
  • Submit new eye exam certificate and photos
  • Pay ₡5,000 replacement fee
  • New replacement license card will be issued
  • Valid for remainder of original license period

Changing Your Address on a Costa Rica License

When you move within Costa Rica, update your driver’s license:

  • Bring current license and proof of new address
  • Complete change of address application
  • Pay ₡2,500 address change fee
  • An updated license will be printed showing new address
  • Address must be changed within 30 days

Traffic Violations and Fines in Costa Rica

Costa Rica enforces traffic laws and penalties for violations:

  • Speeding – Fines from ₡20,000 up to ₡150,000
  • Running red light – ₡52,000 fine
  • Reckless driving – ₡123,000 fine, license suspension
  • Drunk driving – License revocation, jail time
  • No license plates – ₡52,000 fine

Fines increase for repeat offenses. Serious cases can lead to license suspension or revocation.

FAQs on Costa Rica Driving Licence

1. How old do I have to be to get a license in Costa Rica?

The minimum age is 18 years old to obtain a Costa Rican driver’s license.

2. What vehicles can I drive with a Category 2 license?

A Category 2 license covers passenger vehicles up to 10 seats including cars, SUVs, pickups.

3. Is my Costa Rican license valid internationally?

No, you need an International Driving Permit to legally drive outside of Costa Rica.

4. Do I need to take driving classes before getting a license?

Yes, mandatory theory and practical driving lessons are required from an approved school.

5. When does my Costa Rica license expire?

Licenses are valid for 10 years from date of issue before requiring renewal.


From license classes to renewal procedures, this guide has provided everything you need to successfully get your driver’s license in magnificent Costa Rica. Following the rules and driving safely will allow you to fully experience Costa Rica’s stunning landscapes. Now with your new license in hand, you are ready to hit the open road!