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How to get an Exit Visa for your car in Costa Rica

How to get an Exit Visa for your car in Costa RicaWhy would you need an exit visa for your car in Costa Rica? If the car is yours, why would you need an exit visa to cross a border with it?

Unfortunately, if you ever plan to leave Costa Rica WITH your car, you need to go through the red tape of getting an exit visa for your car.

Are you an expat or a foreign retiree in Costa Rica? Then it would be a sin not getting to know the country and even part of Central America. There is so much to see and to learn. And Central American is an interesting area with a very different culture than what you are used to.

Some of you might live here as a perpetual tourist and need to leave Costa Rica to renew your tourist visa every three months for 72 hours.

Flying to Managua or Panama City is quite expensive. So why not drive if you have your own car? Well, in the United States you can cross State lines with your own car without problems. And in Europe, you can go across borders everywhere and nobody will ask if the car is yours or not. But not in Costa Rica!!

If the car is registered in your name or owned by a corporation that is yours, you will need permission for the vehicle to cross the border. What are the requirements to allow the vehicle to leave the country? These requirements and form for an exit visa for your car can be found in Spanish on the website of the National Register. How to get an Exit Visa for your car in Costa Rica

Below you will find the translation as the requirements for an exit visa for your car shown in April 2013. Make sure pricing below is up to date as well as the required documents. Prices can change at any time.

Border Exit Request

The departure or border exit request must be in writing by typewriter or computer, or by filling out the form for this purpose legibly. This has to be done without smudging, deletions or interlinear insertions, as well as fulfilling all the requirements, as applicable.

Present all the documentation to request an exit visa for your car at the correct counter at the National Register in Zapote. Or, you can also go to any of the regional offices, with the identification documents of the person performing the procedure.

The attendant at the counter will check all the application information with the information in the registers. As well as the documentation brought by the applicant, verifying compliance with the requirements. If the information is in accordance with the documentation, the attendant shall issue the certification signed and stamped with immediate approval to leave the country.

In case your tag is CL (Light Cargo – pickup truck) check for a different application.

If the stamps were canceled by bank payment (Entero Bancario), the counter attendant must register this payment in the system. The application for an exit visa for your car, as well as the documents presented, will stay in the custody of the attendant for the respective scanning.

Delivery time

The delivery time of the document to allow the vehicle to leave the country is immediate if you provide all the necessary requirements.


¢6682,50 Registro Nacional, Acuerdo J190, sesión 17-2012, 3 de Mayo de 2012
¢300,00 Registro Nacional
¢12,50 Fiscal
¢5,00 Archivo Nacional
Art. 2 Ley de Aranceles.

Affix the notary authentication stamps: ¢ 250.00 of the Bar if the request comes authenticated. Check prices with the National Registry.

How long is the certification effective?

The validity of the certification for the border crossing is 15 days for private vehicles in accordance with the provisions of Article 97 of Decree 26 883-J of the Rules of Organization of Public Registry of Personal Property.

Requirements for Border Exit request

In addition to the above requirements under Article 95 of the rules of organization of the Public Registry of Personal Property, (Executive Decree No. 26883-J of 13/05/1998) the following is necessary to be eligible for the How to get an Exit Visa for your car in Costa Ricacertification process of a vehicle leaving the country:

By the Registered Owner

If the request to leave the country is made by the registered owner, he/she must present their original and valid identity card or identification document. This has to match the information in the National Registry.

In case the number information of the identification is different than the one registered, you must provide an affidavit deed with their respective security ticket (by your attorney/notary public), showing this is the same person who appears in the registers.

This is very common as your old passport has a different number than your actual passport. Or maybe you bought the car with your passport and now have a Cédula de Residencia.

By Authorization

When the registered owner cannot come personally to request the departure of the vehicle, you can accomplish this by an authorization. You can do so by sending the application duly filled with the name and identification number of the registered owner, license plate number, destination and date of departure. The request for this power of attorney for an exit visa for your car should contain the full name and identification number of the authorized person. Also, it should carry the signature of both, which should come authenticated by a notary public, with their official white seal and ink. In this case, you must pay the stamps for authentication.

Legal Entity Ownership

If the vehicle belongs to a legal entity, the request has to be made by the legal representative of this legal entity, a certification no older than 2 months must show showing the registration of this representation. In case this power of attorney is readily available in the computerized database of the National Register, the officer shall perform such consultation.

It is not How to get an Exit Visa for your car in Costa Ricanecessary to supply such certification. Note that a General Power of Attorney will be registered but a Special Power of Attorney might not be registered. In case the interested party presents several border crossings of the same legal entity, just one original power of attorney or a certified copy can be provided. All requests for an exit visa for your car need to be presented at the same time.

When the power of attorney cannot present him/herself to request the document, this should be performed by a Special Power of Attorney. Who together with the request, should also present the certification of this special power of attorney that meet the established requirements of this document.

Does Vehicle have a lien?

When the vehicle has a lien recorded in favor of a debt owed by a vehicle owner to a lender, the lienholder’s authorization has to be provided. This authorization must be authenticated by a notary public stamp and white ink stamp of authentication. If the creditor is a legal entity, this authorization must be on letterhead paper. In this case, it is necessary to provide certification of the power of attorney with no more than two months. This is done in case this information is not available in the digitalized databases of the National Register.

In the event that several vehicles are on the same lien, you may indicate the details of the license plate numbers. As long as all requests are all in a single presentation.

If the vehicle has a judicial lien filed, this lien needs first to be canceled. These liens include embargo disposition, final embargo, collision, tickets, theft annotation or injury complaint. In its defect, the authorization of the authority needs to be provided.

Vehicle used for Tourism

If the vehicle is used for tourism, you need additionally a note from the ICT. Also, you need proof of extraterritorial insurance from the insurance company.

Pensionado or Rentista

If the vehicle is in the name of a “Pensionado or Rentista”, you need additionally the certification by the ICT or National Institute for Tourism. This certification needs to state that the Pensionado or Rentista is up to date with the obligations that this migratory status indicates.

With Special Power of Attorney

When the request for an exit visa for your car is done by a person with a special power of attorney, this person must provide the original special power with the respective “boleto de Seguridad” where the person is expressly authorized for that act.


In case the vehicle is in co-ownership, the procedure must be performed by all owners. Or in defect, the same must provide an original special power of attorney for this act.

full owner ship or co-ownership of your Costa Rica vehicleFaulty Document

When the vehicle register shows a transfer annotation (faulty document), it is the buyer who has to perform the procedure. This is done through a declaration under oath or supplying a special power of attorney. If one of the defects is the stamps, the presentation expires after 3 months. The registered owner is the responsible person to proceed after one year of expiration of the annotation.

Light Cargo Vehicle (Pick-up)

Vehicles with a CL (light cargo) license plate, dedicated to international cargo business, must provide

  • evidence of the Board of Transport,
  • indicate the license plate number,
  • the owners’ name
  • and Customs Code of the vehicle.

Additionally,  a screen print of the “Tica” system required for cargo vehicles.

With a Registered Loan

Is the request made by the borrower of a loan that is not shown in the National Register? In that case, both parties have to sign and certify a copy of the loan contract.

In Name of a Deceased

When the vehicle is registered in the name of a deceased person, the authorized person to perform the procedure is the executor who has to be correctly registered in the National Register.

In Name of a Minor

Is the vehicle registered in the name of a minor? Then the procedure needs to be performed by the person who holds the custody of the child. This has to be proved by a protocolized declaration under oath.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon. If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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