Driving my own car in and out of Costa Rica
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Mar 23, 2013 5:09 AM Last Post By: BOOMER1
Mar 21, 2013 9:25 AM
Mar 21, 2013 12:51 PM
1Its quite straightforward, except you don't say what plates the car has.
If it has CA plates you will need to apply to the National Registry for papers to allow it to cross CA borders. The papers will include the period of stay.
If it is on foreign plates you will need the title document in your name plus passport and you will be issued a temporary import visa at the borders that lasts the same time as your tourist visa. This will be stamped in your passport for Nicaragua and Panama. It is not stamped in your passport for Costa Rica but the same rules apply.
Mar 21, 2013 5:21 PM
Mar 21, 2013 5:59 PM
3Well how did you drive it from Nicaragua to Costa Rica? Then why cant you drive it to Panama to, and back?
Mar 21, 2013 8:29 PM
4My car has Illinois plates. I am not worried about title and other documents. I have heard that if I go to Panama with my car I will not be able to return to Costa Rica for three months. Unlike the expats who boarder hop for 72 hours to renew their Visa they do not let you do this with your car. So I am wondering if anyone knows the current laws and regulations. Also how long can I keep a car in Panama. Again I heard rumors that a person can get a visa for 3 months but only one month for a car
Mar 22, 2013 4:50 AM
5You can drive freely amongst CA countries on US plates. Normally your car permit lasts for the same time as your tourist visa. Immigration have been known to try and put the squeeze on "perpetual tourists" and this may include those who try and renew their car permit by constant entering and exiting. In theory immigration can vary the length of permits and visas to make life more difficult. If this is the first time you have crossed these borders you'll be fine, if you are obviously doing a visa run then it may prove different.
Mar 22, 2013 8:35 AM
Mar 22, 2013 12:18 PM
Mar 22, 2013 12:25 PM
Mar 22, 2013 1:05 PM
9Recently heard about someone in the same situation. He thought he could go to Panama for a border run to stamp his passport and that it would also apply to his car.
He was told that if he left Costa Rica with his car, he could not return the car into the country for three months. He was left with the option of paying 9K in taxes to plate the car in Costa Rica, or leave the country. If his car would have been in the country longer than three months, he would have faced fines when eventually trying to leave with the car so he opted to drive it back to Canada.
Laws change constantly here. A friend hopped in his car to move it 10 meters and was nailed with a $200 seat belt fine. Heard yesterday that now seat belts are optional.
Mar 22, 2013 1:35 PM
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Mar 22, 2013 5:26 PM
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