Cost of renewalRenewing your Costa Rican drivers license has been streamlined, depending on the time and day, you can be in and out in less than two hours.

1NAC8-2-LICENCIAS.  The first step in the process is the medical exam. The exam is quick and reported electronically, meaning the doctor enters the “dictamen medico” into the system and no need for paperwork.

There is no longer the required blood test. Giving the doctor your blood type is enough. In the past, even if you had clinical proof of your blood type, a blood test was required. The point of the blood test was to ensure the blood type in the event of an accident requiring a transfusion. The medical society has rejected the blood type indicated in the drivers license, thus rendering the physical blood test at renewal time pointless.

2. Make sure you do not have any outstanding (unpaid) traffic violations.  If you do, visit a Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) or Banco Nacional (BN) branch, using your drivers  license pay the outstanding fines. Skipping this step will add more than an hour to the process.

3. If a foreigner and you have not updated your information, if in San José, you will need to visit the driving centre located in Paso Ancho. In the provinces, there is a similar office in or near the drivers license centre.

4. Purchase an “entero”. This is the cost of the license renewal, which is now ¢5.000 colones (reduced in May from ¢10.000) for up to six years. The entero can be paid at the BCR and BN.

5. Having gotten all the ducks in a row, you can now visit the drivers license issuing office. If you are in San José, the drivers licensing office is in La Uruca.

For readers of the Q, here is time saving and less stressful solution to the above. Immediately west of the drivers licensing office there is a parking lot, where you can park your car (¢800 colones for the hour), get your medical exam, check on unpaid traffic tickets and buy your entero.

The cost of the medical exam is ¢18.000 colones, the typical cost. For the “entero” you will pay a commission of ¢1.000 colones (so the renewal will cost you ¢6.000 instead of ¢5.000, but think of all the time and frustration you save in locating a bank and then standing in line).  The process is about 15 minutes.

At the drivers licensing centre, the office is way in the back. From the main entrance, you keep to your left, past the police repair centre and the Cosevi parking lot.

Once at the door, you will need to present all your documents (including the form from Paso Ancho if you have to complete that step), get in line and depending on the day and time, you can be out of there in less than an hour. If you have a “Cuidadano de Oro” (gold old age card), you will be there less than five minutes!