SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 21st, 2012 – According to the new Ley de Transito (traffic law), foreigners who do not pay a traffic ticket before leaving Costa Rica will be denied re-entry into the country on their next visit – whether by land or air.
Silvia Bolanos, director of COSEVI, the road safety authority, said that she understands the measure may take many by surprise. However, she said the fact that foreigners and tourists visiting the country are able to skirt paying tickets is unfair to Costa Rican motorists.
The measure is particularly aimed at cargo carriers and those who rent vehicles from rent-a-car agencies while visiting Costa Rica.
According to COSEVI, many rent-a-car drivers fail to pay their traffic tickets and simply leave the country. The rental car agencies typically don’t pay the tickets, either, claiming that it was the driver, not the agency who was responsible.
“It makes no sense that a Costa Rican has to pay and (someone renting a car) does not, “ Bolanos added.
The restriction to enter the country for those drivers will be both by air as well as by land. COSEVI and immigration will begin a system of information sharing.
The law suggests that foreigners will be denied entry until the fine(s) have been paid. However it is not clear if payment could be made upon arrival back in the country, perhaps at the border or airport.
It should be noted that some types of infractions – parking tickets, expired RTV, and other non-moving violations continue to be the responsibility of the vehicle owner, not the driver.