San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Rumors swirl around new license plate rules

Several people have contacted The Tico Times asking about a new government program to replace old license plates with new ones using a system of numbers and letters.

We contacted the Justice Ministry, which oversees the National Registry – the office that issues license plates – and here’s what they had to say:

“The change isn’t in April,” ministry spokesman Federico Ruiz said. “The process will begin in April. That means that in coming weeks, and this hasn’t yet been defined and no date has been set, we will create a timetable to inform the public about the periods in which vehicle owners can request a change of plates to the alphanumeric system.”

That timetable will be based on the last digit of each plate number, he said.

Currently, new alphanumeric plates are only being issued to new vehicles, models 2012 or newer. Once a timetable is set, Ruiz said, vehicle owners with old plates can request new ones.

National Registry officials will announce the timetable “when it’s ready,” he added.

“The idea is that all vehicles eventually upgrade to new plates,” Ruiz said, adding that the change is not mandatory for the moment.

The registry is also creating a new website for vehicle owners to request new plates online, although that site is not yet up and running.

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