UPDATED: The  Dirección General de Educación Vial (Driver Education) is making a call for anyone interested in obtaining or renewing a driver’s license to do so at regional offices located throughout the country, instead of the central offices in San José.

Cosevi headquarters in La Uruca (San José)
Cosevi headquarters in La Uruca (San José)

Many prefer, perhaps for lack of knowledge that the entire licensing and renewal can be done regionally, make the trip to San José.

Currently, the Driver Education centre of the Cosevi in La Uruca (San José) handles some 400 drivers license applications daily. Cosevi officials believe that wait lines in La Uruca can be greatly diminished with the use of regional centres.

The Cosevi has at least one Driver Education office in each province, with the same services as the San José headquarters. The regional offices are located in the cities of: San Ramón (Alajuela), Pérez Zeledón  (San José), Puntarenas (Puntarenas), Liberia (Guanacaste), San Carlos (Alajuela), Guápiles (Limón), Limón  (Limón), Río Claro (Limón), Nicoya  (Guanacaste), Alajuela (Alajuela) and Cartago (Cartago).

In addition, the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT) has an agreement with the state bank, Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) wich has selected 38 branches across the country to process drivers’s license issuing and renewals. Users cab call 800 BCRCITA (800 2272 2482) or the bank’s website to for the services.

Update: A Q reader writes:

You could do us all a favor by finding out if CONSEVI means what it says when it encourages everyone to use the local offices.  How about foreigners applying first time for a CR license?  Up to now, I think all foreigners had to go to Uruca for the first application.   Renewals, okay at local offices… 

Before October 2012, foreigners (with no residency or even thoughts of residency) could go to the Cosevi offices in La Uruca (before to Plaza Viquez) and obtain a Costa Rican license with only a passport and their ‘valid’ license from the United States, Canada, Europe and many other countries.

With the change in 2012, foreigners need to obtain residency to obtain a drivers license in Costa Rica. With residency, the same ‘old’ rules apply, that is the applicant is not required to take the oral and driving exam. Those without a foreign drivers, however, have go through the process from start to finish.

According to our reader, “this has created a domino problem.  Many of us are driving around in limbo, with no insurance (no CR lic., no INS),  driving with US state licenses and application docs, while we wait over a year for the Immigration dept. to say “YES” to our applications for residency.   I have been waiting for fifteen months, after having all the required documents translated and in, and with the help of a good and honest immigration lawyer, hired for about $2000…  How could I bring this to the attention of the new, refreshing President?   I don’t do Facebook.   Forect G., ATENAS ”

As Forest G. tells in his own words, foreigners are able to driver in Costa Rica without a Costa Rican license, even past their “visitors” visa period, such as for those applying for residency.

The law is clear, it cannot be done, but the street application of the law by Transito officials is quite different.

Forest G. writes, “I was stopped by a very polite Transito last month, and I showed my CA license and my application for residency, and he said, no big problem, but there would be if I had an accident, as my insurance would not cover.   I didn’t tell him I had no insurance.”

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