Costa Rican driving license and COSEVI procedure


I would like to warn you about the situation at COSEVI office in Barva if you want to get Costa Rican driving license. The office only provides this service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:00 AM to 11 AM, doing only about 15-18 people per day. For few weeks at least the office is unable to satisfy the demand and you'd better to be there at or before 3 AM. When I was there, the first people at the queue were there from 10 PM the day before. You wait outside the fence, beside the road. Bring an umbrella and something to sit on. There were people sleeping on a camping mattress. Do not waste your time - if there is more than 18 people before they open, go home.

I don't doubt you had that experience.
However like many things to do with the government here, it often depends on the day or the person attending you or the phase of the moon...

When I went to get my license, I got there late - like 9 or 10am because of traffic - I forget exactly what time but I was afraid I was not going to get in - but they still let me in.

However I had to wait for like 2 hours in those hard chairs (I have a bad back and neck) before they even called my "group" (5 of us as I recall).

It then took like 2 more hours of moving from one desk, one office, to another... Then go outside and pay then come back in and wait more, etc...

I always though the Dept. of Motor Vehicles in  the state was a nightmare (and sometimes it IS just as bad!), but this was worse than anything I'd ever experienced in the states.

My advice is to check the web site they have for their hours of operation for getting a license, as they might change, and ask on forums or facebook before you go, for any tips.

Luckily to renew your license, I hear it is not hard at all, you can do it at a bank or there are services that do it for you for just a few thousand colones. And no test required apparently...

Hi and thanks for the response. I would like to add few details.
It took me 4 visits to get to meet the officer.
On the internet it says the office is opened from 7:00 AM to 3 PM.
The first visit, I was there from 7:30 to 11:00, after they said they are done for that day. There were good 15 people still behind me.
The second visit I was there at 5:30, I was 24th at the queue, good 20 people came after myself either turning over right away or trying their luck and staying. That day I have learned through the rumours they do 15 people per day. Nobody from the office was talking to us.
The third visit I arrived at 3:50 and was 19th at the queue. I turned over immediately.
After two weeks I paid fourth visit, arriving at 3:00. I was the 10th at the queue. It looked that everyone had the same idea, because shortly after that, the queue was way over the daily "quota".
I do not know what is happening. Nobody knows nothing. The colleagues of mine did this few months ago and arriving one hour before the opening and made it that day. It looks to me that not solving this problem only piles up desperate people before the fence.

The story continues...

I got to the office at the 4th try at 9:00. I have had my international driving license that comes with Spanish translation already. It is that French paper book that we get in Europe and is valid in Costa Rica. I was told by my ambassador, that she has done the process with that document already without a problem. Somewhere on the internet I read that only non-spanish language driving license needs to be translated, so I thought I have fair chance to go through with that. The officer looked at it and said it needs to be translated and turned me over. "Come another day". I guess I did not have a diplomatic passport or the officer did not have his day.
I would not moan if someone was there the first day reachable after reasonable time and told me I have to get another paperwork. It is the laziness, arrogance and the silence of the "public service" that drives me crazy.

I have googled the internet for few high rank officers of COSEVI and spam them with complains while it is still fresh in me. Other people at the queue said they will try the same. It is a week now and I do not have any response.

I am glad that there are other people out there with not this negative experience.

Thanks for the clarification.
I don't know how long you've been in Costa Rica but "welcome to Costa Rica!" Meaning: everyone who lives here has at least one such horror story to tell.
When I came years ago and got a bank account, it took me FOUR HOURS.
Then later they froze it without notice even though they had my phone #, email address, friend's contact info etc. They froze it due to not filling out new bureaucratic paper work at that time...

The difference re the license is that I went to Uruca to do it. I didn't notice that you said you went to Barva.

So I'll say this to all who may read the above:
Go to Uruca, not to Barva.

As to writing the government about problems, go ahead, you might get lucky.
I had a real bad experience with my residency renewal and I wrote a complaint to an address on their web site, and my Tico friend was ASTONISHED that someone actually called me a couple days later and offered me a solution that made things better!

However recently I had an issue with the Correos, I wrote to several people about it on the Correos web site(s), and not one has answered me. Like in the USA it seems the Correos attitude is "We don't care. We don't have to."

Government bureaucracy here is off the charts and while it may be no MORE than in the USA, what it is, here, is much more difficult to deal with. In  the USA you can usually just do something by mail or go to any # of offices on any day. Here nothing is done by mail, little is done by the web (and if it is it doesn't work half the time), and so you have to do things in person, often many miles from your home base.

So as everyone says to newbies here, "Be prepared to wait, and bring your patience."

When applying for your first ever CR license you must go to Uruca for this For a renewal of same, you can go to one, more local to you or at least, less busy.

kohlerias :

When applying for your first ever CR license you must go to Uruca for this For a renewal of same, you can go to one, more local to you or at least, less busy.

I didn't know that. I went to Uruca and that was certainly no picnic.  Though it woudln't be bad idea if they just let everyone sit on a lawn with a picnic basket and make a day of it, then just call you on your cell phone when it's your time!

New topic