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Written By: Gary on November 15, 2008 No Comment

It was just to be photo ID for a charge card purchase but it was better than pulling out my passport or US driver’s license.

But I was excited that I got to use it…

Written By: Gary on November 11, 2008 5 Comments

So went to get my driver’s license today. What a bureaucracy! The only plus was that it wasn’t very busy.

I knew this was going to be a hassle so I hired ARCR (the folks that did the relocation seminar) to take me there and work me through the process, it was $35 well spent. I would have spent that on cab rides alone.

Here’s the process we took: Crlicence

  • Copied my passport, entrance stamp and US license.
  • Drove to the MOPT (their Department of Motor Vehicles).
  • Walked out of the huge complex and down the street to the Doctor’s office and got a blood type test $10 and then went to a different room for a “medical” for $20 (which consisted of an eye test, blood pressure and some questions).
  • Walked back into the far side of the complex and queued up.
  • Every time someone went in, we all moved down a seat closer to the door.
  • Got approved for a driver’s license for an automobile.
  • Did not get approved for a motorcycle. She didn’t accept the “CY” in my endorsement section was for a motorcycle. Says I’ll have to go to the U.S. Embassy to get a note from them. This was even after I showed her my “International Driver’s Permit” which very clearly identifies me as having a motorcycle endorsement and it’s in Spanish (FYI, Costa Rica does not honor this permit for driving so I can’t bitch too much); if Michigan defined “CY” on the back of the license I’d have been fine.
  • Went downstairs and waited but this time we had a number.
  • This was to get everything keyed in for the license.
  • Walked back to the front of the complex to pay for the license.
  • Walked back to the back of the complex to show the receipt that we paid.
  • Got my picture taken (was allowed to smile), signed the computer tablet and had my fingerprint taken.
  • Waited for a few minutes more and got my license! Good for two years!

    Throughout this process I showed my US license, passport and the copies a million times. At some point in the process they did let us leave to make a copy of the doctor’s medical test (all the way back to the front and down the street to the doctor’s) and then they stamped it certified so I don’t have to get another test ($10).

    The $35 for the escort well spent, especially since I speak barely speak Spanish. But if they had known a little more I could have gotten the paperwork I needed to get the motorcycle endorsement and gotten both. I’ve heard they are making license’s harder for non-residents so maybe I should get it now (I’m assuming they’ll let me renew it even if they change the rules) that was part of my motivation in the first place. I can go back myself but like I said before, if I don’t have a car it’s going to cost that much for cab fare. If I have a car at the end of my trip when I come back to San Jose to leave I’ll do it…

  • Written By: Gary on September 25, 2008 2 Comments

    I got my International Driving Permit today. international driving permitpermit insideIt’s a boring slightly-larger-than passport sized booklet. It’s $15 at AAA (no membership required) bring 2 passport-type photos if you have them, they’ll charge more if they need to take your photo. If you go in they make it up and you take it with you; you can mail in for it also (a list of the 180+ “participating” countries are on the application form). Make sure they check all your endorsements on the form before you leave; they forgot to check my motorcycle endorsement (I noticed before I left).

    When you travel you still need to keep your driver’s license with you. This is just an official document with your info copied to a specific page and then the key to that page is translated into 11 different languages so whomever pulls you over can figure it out.

    Sorry, the photos are a little blurry, I took them with my webcam, but you should get the idea; besides they’re official documents I shouldn’t be posting hi-res copies, right?

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