I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FLORIDA DRIVER LICENSE - What ALL (& I DO mean ALL) is needed to get a Florida Drivers License

No longer are NON-Residents (with a VALID Cedula) able to get a Drivers License in Costa Rica!

Even people with their Residency-pending can NOT get a Costa Rican Drivers License and MUST leave Costa Rica to get their passport RE-stamped for 90 more days to be able to drive in Costa Rica (or risk a BIG TICKET!!!).

Life USED to be SOOOO EASY as ANYONE with a valid drivers license from their motherland could get a Costa Rican drivers license - but not no more!!

SOME states in the U.S. allow you to renew ONE TIME ON LINE - which I've already done in Florida (where I moved from) - otherwise you MUST return to the U.S. if you want to renew your drivers license (and this is one thing I do NOT want to laps!!).

Some people from other - more expensive states to return to - would simply ask a friend that lives in Florida if they could use their address and they'd go to Florida to get a new license since it USED to be SOOOO EASY to get a new Drivers License there - BUT -
TIMES HAVE CHANGED and it's a MAJOR production to get a drivers license in Florida*.

*#1 - you MUST be a RESIDENT of Florida and what they consider a "resident" is someone that
(remember - if you're using your passport - they CAN CHECK THAT so it looks like if you're living in Costa Rica full time - you will NOT be able to get a Florida Driver License!!!  Trust me - I learned this first hand!!!
What SUCKS about this is it leaves us non-residents in the lurch as we can not get a driver license in Costa Rica but we no longer qualify for residency in the state from where we came!!  This discussion came up with me recently as to what I saw was "residency".  Even though I've "lived" in Costa Rica basically full time - in the eyes of their law I'm not a "Resident" because I do not have "Residency" [because I do NOT fall into any category TO GET residency!!].  In the eyes of Florida's Voter Registration - THEY see me as a "resident" because though I do Vote from Abroad, I am REGISTERED to vote in Florida and ALL my voting material is for Sarasota County.  To top it off, I was BORN in Florida and isn't where you were born part of establishing something?  It is when it comes to babies being born in the U.S. and abroad.  Bottom line is one can NOT LEGALLY renew or get their Florida Driver License UNLESS•UNTIL they have LIVED IN Florida for 6 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS!!!  I don't know how long this has been in effect.  Luckily I don't drive much in Costa Rica [I encourage people NOT to if they want more EASE in their life!  For me - it's taxis, walking or buses!])

NOTE - the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will no longer accept out-of-state driver licenses or IDs as primary identification - BUT they WILL accept it in the sense you will NOT have to take the driving or written test again.
So to get many of these things lined up/current WILL take some time so get on it NOW!!!
(MYSELF included!)

Here's what ALL EVERYONE NEEDS - be it to get a new Drivers License or Renew a Drivers License in Florida (from GatherGoGet.com):

Valid United States Passport or Passport Card (many people told me their experience was if they had their valid passport, that was good enough for the other requirements).

Proof of Social Security Number
(you can go to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and request a Replacement Social Security Card.  To do that you MUST MUST MUST make an appointment [they will NOT make an exception to this - well, RARELY.  I got to do it but that was because it was during the Christmas break and I was there with another friend for something else and they had a no-show appointment].  I've left NUMEROUS messages/phoned them NUMEROUS times with NO return calls and I JUST emailed them to find out the best way to make an appointment with them and will report back when I find out.  The card is mailed to an address in the U.S. ONLY!

Gather 1 original or certified copy of the following documents:
•  Certified United States birth certificate, including territories and District of Columbia
•  Valid United States Passport or Passport Card
•  Consular Report of Birth Abroad
•  Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550 or Form N-570
•  Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 or Form N-561

A birth certificate must be issued by a government agency. Hospital birth certificates cannot be accepted.
Please come prepared to present one of the listed identification documents as proof of citizenship or legal presence.
When necessary, marriage certificates, court orders, or divorce decrees must be provided to tie the name on the primary identification to the name the customer would like to place on the driver license or identification card.
If presenting a valid U.S. Passport and the name on your passport is your current name, you are not required to present additional name change documents.

2 Proof of Social Security Number
Gather one original of the following documents that show your complete name and social security number:
•  Social Security card must be an original in your current full name
•  W-2 form (not handwritten)
•  Pay check/stub
•  SSA-1099
•  Any 1099 (not handwritten)
(hmmmm - I wonder how this will work for me since I've not lived in the U.S. for nearly 9 years now and don't have those other forms of proof.  Heck, MANY people don't have that proof)

2 Proofs of Residential Address
Gather TWO DIFFERENT documents from the following list showing your residential address: (internet printouts or faxes of these documents are acceptable.  They do NOT indicate if the utility bills MUST be in your name or just that it matches your address)

NOTE: Your current driver license or ID card may NOT be used as proof of residential address. Proof must come from 2 different types of source.

•  Florida Voter Registration Card
•  Utility bills, not more than 2 months old
•  A statement from a parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the applicant resides, combined with 2 proofs of their residential address (see above)
•  Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental/lease agreement
•  Florida Vehicle Registration or Title (print a duplicate registration at http://GoRenew.com)
•  Florida Boat Registration or Title (if living on a boat/houseboat)(print a duplicate registration at http://GoRenew.com)
•  2 proofs of residential address from applicant's parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the applicant resides, along with (see next)
•  A statement from a parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the applicant resides, combined with two proofs of their residential address (see above)
•  A utility hook up or work order dated within 60 days of the application
•  Automobile Payment Booklet
•  Selective Service Card
•  Medical or health card with address listed
•  Current homeowner’s insurance policy or bill
•  Current automobile insurance policy or bill
•  Educational institution transcript forms for the current school year
•  Unexpired professional license issued by a government agency in the U.S.
•  W-2 form or 1099 form
•  Form DS2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status
•  Letter from a homeless shelter, transitional service provider, or a half-way house verifying that they receive mail for the customer. The letter must be accompanied by the Certification of Address Form (see next)
•  Certification of Address Form combined with a letter from a homeless shelter, transitional service provider, or a half-way house (see above)
•  Mail from financial institutions; including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than two months old
•  Mail from Federal, State, County or City government agencies (including city and county agencies)
•  Transients – Sexual Offender/Predator/Career Offender: - FDLE Registration form completed by local sheriff’s department

If you have ALL that info - you will walk about of the office WITH NEW DRIVER LICENSE IN HAND!!!


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