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Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Process

Published by Joe Webster.

Costa Rica (CRI)

Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Process

Vehicle Registration Process In Costa Rica

The import taxes for vehicles in Costa Rica are highly high unless you are importing an alternative fuel vehicle, such as an electric or hybrid car. Tax rates vary depending on the vehicle's age, although even the lowest rate is still quite high at 50%. Import duties are increased for vehicles older than three years.

Vehicle Registration Information

Vehicles brought into the country need to be registered as soon as possible—as of this writing, the window for registration is only a couple days. You can get the process started as soon as you arrive since the necessary paperwork is available at customs offices.

A note of caution regarding registration fees: the pricier the vehicle, the higher the fee. The import tax is also subject to increase based on newer or more expensive vehicles.

Once you have submitted all the necessary paperwork, you’ll receive your license plates and marchamo, which acts as your registration sticker. Be sure that the sticker is properly displayed on the windshield or you may risk being penalized even if you do have a valid marchamo.

If you’d like more information about shipping a vehicle to Costa Rica, including the approximate cost, requirements, and preparations, visit our shipping page! You’ll also find many helpful links and related articles there.

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Vehicle Registration Information

Costa Rica Roadworthiness Inspection, Driver’s License & Registration Resources

The technical inspection is the main mechanical test your imported vehicle will be put through, mainly to make sure that all the key operational and safety features are in proper working order. This section covers some details of the inspection, as well as what you’ll need to get a license, and some resources to help things go smoothly when you do.

Technical Inspection

You’ll need a valid vehicle inspection sticker in order to register a vehicle in Costa Rica. This is acquired by submitting your imported vehicle for a technical inspection at a registered center, where they then examine the various components of the vehicle to make sure they are in good working order. The components checked during the inspection include the following:

  • Vehicle emissions
  • Braking system & shocks
  • Lights & turn indicators
  • Wipers, mirrors, & windshield
  • Safety features
  • Body & undercarriage

In Costa Rica, the vehicle inspection is known as the “Riteve” and you can learn more about the process and where to get an inspection by clicking on the link below under the resources section.

Driver’s License & Registration Resources

Costa Rican Driver’s License

You do not have to be a resident or citizen of Costa Rica to apply for a license. Even if you are just visiting or only staying for a short time, you can still apply for a license. To do so, you will need to present the following documents to the Cosevi (see second link below):

  • Valid passport or proof of residence*
  • Home country license & copy
  • Medical exam paperwork
  • Road test completion (only if home license is expired)

*Passport must have been stamped within the prior 90 days.

Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Resources

Riteve (Vehicle Inspection) Information - Find the latest information about vehicle inspections in Costa Rica, such as where test centers are located, making an appointment, and frequently asked questions about the inspection.

Procedures For Drivers - The Cosevi, also known as the Council For Road Safety, is where you will need to present the relevant documents to get a local license.

Are you shipping a vehicle to Costa Rica or planning to do so in the future? Give us a call at the number at the top of this page to learn about our affordable services! All price quotes are FREE and our staff are happy to answer any questions you may have! Contact us today!

Vehicle Inspection Information
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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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