Drivers in Costa Rica Would No Longer Be Fined if They Do Not Carry a Physical License

    Id Card and Digital license would be completely valid

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    The Tourism Commission of the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly ruled positively on file 23,940, which seeks to reform several articles of the Traffic Law.The objective of the initiative is that drivers do not receive fines from the Traffic Police if they do not have a physical driver’s license.

    Currently, if a traffic officer stops a driver on the road and he does not have the document with him, he will be punished with a fine of ¢20,000.Now, with the proposal, officers can verify in the Road Safety Council system if the person driving is accredited as a driver, by presenting the identification card.The project also indicates that foreigners who are visiting Costa Rica can drive by presenting their digital license.

    The proponent of the initiative, Representative Carolina Delgado, pointed out that in many countries around the world they no longer issue physical licenses, but rather digitally, so once the project is approved, foreigners will not need to show the document.“This project seems very simple, but it has important elements to facilitate, not only nationals, but also foreigners,” said president of the Tourism Commission.

    The reforms

    With the opinion in committee, the project was sent for consultation to the General Directorate of the Traffic Police and other institutions, and then passed to the Plenary for discussion and approval.Article 147 of the Traffic Law details that those who do not carry the document will no longer be fined.

    “Article 147- Category E”

    A fine of twenty thousand colones (¢20,000), without prejudice to the related sanctions, will be imposed on anyone who commits irregularities like the owner of the vehicle that is put into circulation without the documents required in article 4 of this law or to the driver who does not have the respective driver’s license, which will not be necessary for him to physically carry, and the Traffic Officer may corroborate the existence of the permit through other means.

    Regarding the issue of foreigners, it is detailed in article 91:

     Accredited drivers with a foreign driving license, who are in the country in any of the subcategories of stay provided for by the General Law of Migration and Immigration, Law No. 8764 of August 19, 2009, are authorized to drive the same vehicle permitted by said license for a period identical to that authorized for their legal stay in the national territory. The presentation of the license in physical format cannot be required when such person shows it in digital format because that is how their country of origin or residence issues it.

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