Good For Six More Years...

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It is hard to imagine that just two years ago, on our first Due Diligence trip to Costa Rica, Fran and I applied for and received our first Costa Rican drivers licenses.

It was critical that we not miss our renewal date for if we did it we would have been required to take a written test (in Spanish) as well as a driving proficiency test with a non-English speaking examiner.  I sort of found this to be a bit amusing and somewhat ironic because based on the driving practices of most Costa Ricans, one would naturally assume that road rules didn't exist and driving proficiency was just an urban legend.

All in all it was a painless process.

  • Step 1 - Physical exam consisting of someone taking our height and weight, followed by the traditional eye chart.  I passed with flying colors, even read the letters in Spanish! Fran was really concerned because her vision sucks.  With her good eye she barely made it through line 5.  With her bad eye the only letter she got right was on line 1... the "E."  And between us, I think she had that one memorized.  The good news is, we both passed and on to the next station.  Total cost: 15,000 colones or $30.00 each.

  • Step 2 - Go to any branch of Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) and pay the requisite fee for the actual license renewal.  This is necessary because the drivers license office does not accept any payment.  Total cost: 10,000 colones or $20.00 each.

  • Step 3 - Go to the Liberia office of the MOPT (Costa Rica's answer to the DMV).  There we presented our paperwork (Medical form, Bank receipt, current license and our Cedula/Residency card) to the armed guard outside the MOPT office.

  • Step 4 - Wait in line for a few minutes until we were waived in to the office of a man with a computer.  After a couple Buenas dias and como estas, we handed him the same  paperwork we just showed the armed guard outside the office.  The man proceeds to enter all our data into the computer.  Inside 10 minutes, both Fran and I were ready for the next step.

  • Step 5 - We were instructed to go to the office directly next to the one we were just in.  There, another man with a fancy camera and printer took our pictures, digital signatures and scanned our right index fingers.  Five minutes later we were given our renewed Costa Rican drivers licenses... good for six years.

As processes go, this one wasn't so bad.  Yes, we had to drive to three different facilities and interface with five different people but in the end we accomplished what we set out to do... renew our Costa Rican drivers licenses.

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