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Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Process

Costa Rica (CRI)

What's in this article?
  1. Vehicle Registration Process In Costa Rica
  2. Vehicle Registration Information
  3. Costa Rica Roadworthiness Inspection, Driver’s License & Registration Resources
  4. Technical Inspection
  5. Costa Rican Driver’s License
  6. Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Resources
Costa Rica Vehicle Registration Process

Vehicle Registration Process In Costa Rica

Unless you happen to be shipping an alternative fuel vehicle like an electric or hybrid car, the import taxes are very high for vehicles in Costa Rica. Though there are different levels of taxation based on the vehicle’s age, the low end still sits a relatively hefty 50%. For vehicles that are more than three years old, the import duties get even pricier.

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 began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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