By Erin Morris, TheCostaRicaNews.com.

Foreigners may now skip some of the steps originally required to obtain a Costa Rica driver’s license, making the process much easier and hopefully more pleasant.

To start the process, foreigners must present their respective country’s driver’s license and another form of identity (ID card, passport, residence permit or refugee card) at the offices of the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi, or in English: the Road Safety Council) in La Uruca, San Jose. Once the driver’s license is deemed legal, Cosevi officials will ask the applicant to undergo a medical examination, which, among other things, will indicate a blood type.

After the laboratory results and the full payment of ¢4,000 is made, the foreigner may begin the process of printing the Costa Rican license. This document shall be valid for three years. The payment can be made at any of the Banco de Costa Rica branches.

“The hours of the office in Uruca are 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, however the approval process only takes place from 8 am to 11 am” says Cosevi.

If the foreigner does not have a driver’s license from their respective country, they will have to go through all of the ordinary procedures to obtain the permit. These requirements include a written exam (¢5,000), a driving test (¢5,000), a medical exam and laboratory tests (¢4,000).

If you are a foreigner in Costa Rica and do not plan to stay for an extended period of time, you can drive for up to three months with the valid driver’s license from your country of origin. However, Colombians and Central Americans can only drive with their license for a maximum period of one month. It is important to note here that if you are not a resident and you leave the country to renew your visa, once you return to Costa Rica, you can continue to drive legally with the driver’s license from your home country. As long as your visa is legal, your respective country’s driver’s license is legal.