The mandatory license plate switch over is already in its third of 10 cycles lasting three months each. Under the program every vehicle has to have the new, more secure and harder to falsify license plates.
Now, there are two options to getting your new plates. One, pay the Banco de Costa Rica or Post office an extra ¢5.000 colones or more and get the plates locally within a week, or two, directly from the Registro Nacional, with delivery the following business day.
Me, I chose the Registro. One, I get to save the ¢5.000; and, two, I get to walk the 3 kilometres to and from my house, getting exercise at the same time. Two trips, two ways is 12 kilometres over two days.
The process at the Registro is easy as 1, 2 and 3.
Step One, make sure you have all your documents. You cedula, passport, whatever and ¢15.000 colones (no dollars).
Step Two, fill out the simple form – since you are the owner of the vehicle there is no other paperwork required, then pay the cashier and then to the “placas” counter, where your documents will be checked over and you are given a form to pick up the plates the next day.
Step Three, return at the same office the following day, make sure it is after lunch and pick up your plates. You will need to bring in your old plates and your ID.
See told you, 1, 2 and 3.
I chose to go in on February 25, the day of the big protest in San José, at the Registro office on Paseo Colon. I was in and out the first day in less than 7 minutes. The second day, it took a couple of minutes longer, a couple of people ahead of me.
Now, here where it can get complicated. If you are not the registered owner the vehicle, such as is in the company name, you will need a “personeria juridica”. Luckily you get the document at the same office, provided the corporations tax is up to date.
If you are sending someone else to do the deed, they will need some type of power of attorney.
If the vehicle is still in the name of the person or company you bought it from – that is, you never changed over the ownership to avoid paying the transfer taxes – you are best to get a lawyer involved at this point.
Or, if you don’t have the old license plates, again, a lawyer with a sworn statement that the plates were lost or stolen. A police report may be required.