Procedures and Requirements to renew license in Costa Rica

8 minutos de lectura

Is your driver’s license about to expire? Or maybe it’s already expired. You must be wondering where, when and how do I renew? Don’t despair; This process is not that complex, nor does it require a large folder full of documents, nor much time. Next we will talk about the license renewal requirements.

Requirements to renew license in Costa Rica

If you want to renew your license regardless of its type; you have to meet the following requirements:

  • You can renew your license three months before the expiration date; You don’t have to wait for it to expire.
  • Rumors have spread that you must repeat the theoretical course for a driver’s license when you need to renew it. That is totally false; this exam does not expire with the license.
  • You must bring your identification document; It must be current and in good condition (identity card, residence card, refugee card, etc.).
  • Have the digital medical opinion for license in force. It is also known as SEDIMEC opinion. You can obtain this opinion from any doctor who is registered in the SEDIMEC system, and most are. It is valid for 6 months from the moment you register in the system.
  • You must pay all pending traffic fines.
  • Pay the license renewal cost.
  • Not having reached 12 points for traffic violations. If you reach 12 points for violations your license will be suspended. If your license is suspended, the process is different, it is not a renewal.

Procedure to renew license in Costa Rica

If you meet all the requirements that have no variation. If your license is about to expire. If it has been expired for a day or if it expired a year ago:

You must pay the amount for the license renewal at the bank of your choice, either at the agency or via the web; If you complete the procedure at the BCR and have an account there, the amount for the procedure will be debited from your account. On the contrary, if you go to COSEVI or the General Directorate of Road Education, you must take proof of payment, as there is no way to do it there.

Then you must approach COSEVI with all the requirements; to the General Directorate of Traffic Education; or to the Banco de Costa Rica offices that offer this procedure. In this case, you must call and request an appointment before going to the agency.

Remember that if you accumulate 12 points for fines, your license will be suspended. If your license is suspended you cannot renew it.

Driver’s license format in Costa Rica

Although it may seem to you that the ethical license format is somewhat simple, the COSEVI authorities ensure that contains about 25 filters that help officers distinguish if the document is authentic.

Well, we will not talk about the 25 filters, at least not all of them, but we will tell you how it is composed, what data appears in it and what some abbreviations mean.

On the front you will find:

  • It has an adhesive laminated envelope that is part of the safety protocol and contains the national shield and traffic education symbols.
  • In the upper left corner is your photograph that will have a light blue background.
  • Next to the photograph you will find printed in green «REPÚBLICA DE COSTA RICA» and immediately below in red letters it will say «Driver’s License». To the right of the red text and below the green you will find the national flag.
  • Next to the photograph and below the heading it will appear in the following order from top to bottom: the number of the document printed in red; the issue date and your date of birth printed in black; finally the expiration date of the document also printed in red.
  • Below the flag will be the type of license in red; immediately below will be a thumbnail of your photograph that is part of the document’s security protocol.
  • Below the main photograph will be, printed in red, the following data from left to right: RF which means physical restriction and, for example, if you must wear glasses it will have a 1; RT which means technical restriction that applies only if the license is type se and refers to how many passengers you are authorized to transport; then there will be TS which is your blood type, for example, O+; Finally, next to your blood type and next to the security photograph, the word Donor will appear if you are.
  • After all this in black capital letters your full name will be printed; Last names first and then first names.
  • Finally, you will find in the lower right part there is a white strip that contains a barcode and below it a reference number to the driver’s education courses that you have approved.

The back has a white background and contains CONSEVI information and a table that specifies the corresponding vehicles according to the type of license; and below a magnetic tape.

Payment to renew the license

In most of the large public and private banks you will be able to make the payments of both fines and the cost of renewal. The most common options are the BCR, Banco Nacional, Davivienda, Scotiabank and BAC; in them you can make the payment for the renewal. You can go directly to the agency, or make the payment on the internet website of the bank of your choice.

Now let’s talk about the cost of the renovation as such; this price as well as the time for which the renewal of the license will be approved depends on how many points you have accumulated with your current license; the points in turn depend on the number of fines.

  • If you have less than 4 accumulated points, you must pay 5,000 colones for the renewal, and the new license is granted for 6 years.
  • Between 5 and 8 accumulated points, you will have to pay 10,000 colones for the renewal of the license, and they will give it to you for 4 years. You must also take a road awareness and re-education course.
  • If you have between 9 and 11 accumulated points at the time of renewing the license, the renewal cost will be 10,000 colones and they give it to you for 3 years. You must also take the road awareness and re-education course.
  • If you reach 12 points for violations. Your license will be suspended and you will not be able to renew it or get a new one. You must do another type of procedure through which you can recover it.

In the event that you make the renewal in the Bank of Costa Rica, they will charge you the amount that corresponds to you according to the aforementioned; plus $7 service charge. If you have an account at the BCR, they will make the withdrawal at the license appointment. You just have to make sure you have your account active and have enough funds.

You should keep in mind that if you had from 5 points onwards, when renewing the license it will be automatically conditioned. They will lower the point limit for the suspension.

If you had from 5 to eight points, with 8 more you will be suspended; from 9 to 11 points, with 6 points your new license will be suspended; in case you have had 4 points or less you will have the maximum 12 points in the new license.

If you must also renew the medical opinion; The last list referring to the current rates of the College of Physicians and Surgeons gives a minimum price of 20,000 colones for the medical opinion for a driver’s license. This is only the minimum cost; most professionals charge 25,000 colones for the opinion; but if you ask for a delivery service, it will be around 30,000 to 35,000 colones.

Where renew the licence

You can go to the offices of the Road Safety Council (COSEVI) or to the offices of the General Directorate of Road Educationdepending on the area in which you reside.

You can also renew your expired driver’s license in Banco de Costa Rica agencies that offer license processing. You must call 800-BCR-CITA to request an appointment at the office that is most convenient for you. The requirements to carry out the procedure in the BCR are the same as in COSEVI. With the big difference that in the BCR the procedure is more comfortable and faster. You can process type A, B, and C licenses at the BCR. Type D and E licenses can only be processed at COSEVI.

As you can see, it is not an excessively cumbersome or long process, it is quite simple and necessary. Remember that from the day your license expires you cannot drive since there is no such thing as a grace period; And if they stop you on a highway with an expired license, they will give you a fine. Keep an eye on the expiration date and go listing the requirements to renew license. As we already told you, they will not change unless your license is suspended, and also to avoid problems You are allowed to renew from 3 months prior to the expiration date.

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