Driving during COVID

It has been challenging to keep up with all the rules pertaining to driver’s licenses and driving restrictions during COVID. The rules are constantly changing, and it seems that not even the Police knows what is going on.

So perhaps a little summary of the frequently asked questions we have received these past few days will work:

If I entered the country as a tourist, can I drive?

If you entered the country as a tourist after December 17, 2019, you can legally drive using a foreign driver’s license until November 18, 2020. You need to carry your passport (to show your entry stamp), your foreign and valid driver’s license and it would be wise to also carry the Resolution pertaining to this matter in case you get stopped by the Police.

If you entered the country prior to December 17, 2019 this extension does not apply to you, meaning you cannot legally drive.

Furthermore, if you are in the country as a Temporary or Permanent Resident, Refugee, hold a work permit or are a Costa Rican national and you should have validated your foreign driver’s license after March 20, 2020 but have not been able to, you will have until November 18, 2020 to proceed, even if your license is expired.

I have a Costa Rican driver’s license and it is expired, what shall I do?

If you already hold a Costa Rican driver’s license but it will soon expire, you can take Resolution 2020-000620 into consideration. This Resolution has the schedule for driver’s license extensions:


If you already hold a DIMEX card and wish to attempt to request or renew your Costa Rican driver’s license, you must secure your appointment here:

You must select Documento Migratorio to be able to enter your DIMEX number. It is extremely hard to secure an appointment considering that availability is currently limited. We already have a handful of clients who managed to secure an appointment and request a new license or renew an old one so it can be done, it just takes time and patience.

Restrictions, Yellow and Orange, what to do?

Now, as far as the restrictions are concerned, you can read our latest post here:

Basically, the country is divided in two: yellow zones and orange zones. Yellows have a little more freedom. The problem is that the vehicular restriction is inverted between yellow and orange zones. So, for example, if you have a license plate ending in 1 or 2 and you are located in an orange zone, you will only be allowed to use your car or Monday from 5am to 5pm to visit the supermarket or the pharmacy. However, if you are in a yellow zone and you have a plate ending in 1 or 2, Monday is one of the two days you cannot use your car. So be careful with this. Traveling between zones is, therefore, tricky. In case of doubt, a taxi would be advisable. Taxis are not subjected to restrictions.

Are there exceptions to these restrictions?

The exceptions to drive during the restrictions are limited. You can find them here.

When will these new restrictions for orange zones be lifted?

It was announced today during the press conference that the current restrictions imposed on orange zones, we will go back to “normal”, meaning back to the restrictions experienced by yellow zones by July 20, 2020.

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The Author

Irene Brenes

Irene Brenes

Attorney with more than 10 years of experience in customer service, team management and team building at an international level. Has worked immigration cases in various countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.


  1. Avatar
    Loretta Lichtenfeld-Wisman
    July 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm — Reply

    Hi! Thanks for all your information regarding the legal requirements and its ever changing updates!
    To that end, would it be possible to get a copy of the new driving resolution that allows tourists to legally drive until November 18th? I was wanting to print off a copy and can’t find it on your site.
    Many thanks!

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