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Starting next month the more than 1.2 million vehicles in the country will begin the conversion to the new license plates. The date was announced by the director of the Registro Nacional, Dagoberto Sibaja.

The conversion program will be phased in over the next 30 months, starting in July with plates ending in 1, continuing in October with plates ending in 2.

For clarity, all plates ending in 1 must be converted during July, August and September 2013;  plates ending in 2, during October, November and December 2013; plates ending in 3, during January, February and March 2014; plates ending in 4, during April, May and June 2014; plates ending in 5, during July, August and September 2014; plated ending in 6, during October, November and December 2014; plates ending in 7, during January, February and March 2015; plates ending in 8, during April, May and June 2015; plates ending in 9, during July, August and September 2015; and finally, plates ending in 0 during October, November and December 2015.

The conversion is of all “numbers only” plates and commercial vehicles that have not been replaced in the last couple of months. All new passenger vehicle plates are issued with a three letter and three number combination and are of the new plates, thus not requiring conversion.

Sibaja explained that the new plates are more secure and difficult to counterfeit.

Besides the metal plate, the new plates also come with a corresponding sticker that must be placed on the windshield. The metal plate and sticker include a number series that corresponds to the vehicle’s registration card.

The cost of the new plates is ¢15.000 colones. THE CONVERSION IS MANDATORY.

And here is the kicker, for Registro to issue the new plates, the vehicle (to which the plate is registered to) must be current with the Riteve vehicular inspection, be current with the Marchamo (the annual circulation permit) and not have any outstanding traffic fines.