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Buying or Selling a Vehicle in Costa Rica

We can assist you with the car registration and transfer, whether buying or selling a vehicle in Costa Rica.

Suppose you’re purchasing or selling a car in Costa Rica. In that case, you’ll want our service to finish the legal procedure required to transfer a car’s title since, by law, vehicle ownership must be transferred with the assistance of a lawyer or notary.

We verify the vehicle’s ownership and the absence of unpaid fees by looking up the title in the Public Registry (Registro Nacional).

When purchasing or selling a secondhand car in the CR, the following papers are required:

  • The original certificate of ownership for the vehicle must be provided by the vendor (Certificado de Propiedad);
  • A valid ID (such as a passport or cédula) is required for both the buyer and the vendor;
  • Both the buyer and the seller must sign the bill of sale (Escritura de Traspaso), which the Notary Public prepares. It takes about a month for this document to be filed and registered in the National Registry (Registro Nacional);
  • The new owner receives the new title back from the notary public.

How about my driver’s license?

If you have a tourist status in Costa Rica, the duration of your international driver’s license is restricted to the number of days mentioned in your visa entry stamp (up to 90 days). You must leave Costa Rica and return to renew your tourist visa and get your driver’s license renewed.
Unfortunately, you must renew your driver’s license validity the same way, even if your residence application is currently in progress. Driving rules have nothing in common with residency regulations in Costa Rica.



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