Frecuently Asked Questions

Who can pay the Marchamo and where can I pay it?

Anyone can pay for the marchamo by simply providing the license plate number; it doesn’t have to be paid by the owner of the vehicle. To pay the marchamo, your vehicle has to pass the RTV (Riteve) inspection (see details below). After paying for the marchamo at a local bank or directly at INS, they will give you a new official circulation card. You cannot lose this card and you have to have it in your car at all times. This card comes with a sticker that is required to be placed in the corner of your windshield. The sticker may distort or lose color from the sun, but you will have the card to show that you are current. Keep the card in the glove box and the sticker on the windshield. If you lose either one of these or your card is stolen, you will need to go to INS and request a new one, with specific documentation.

When and how do I get my Riteve (RTV) test for my vehicle? 

This should be done by the latest during the month of the last digit of the license plate number of your license plates. Go to the following website to make the appointment:

You have to enter your license plate number. The other option is to call the RTV office to make an appointment.  Appointments: 905-RTV-0000, 905-788-0000 - Questions: 800-RTV-0000, 800-788-0000. Generally individuals can get an appointment within the first two weeks after making the appointment. You will get a confirmation date and time together with a list of requirements to present the day of the appointment. The cost of the test is around 12,000 colones or $24.00.  (Us dollars)

Required documentation:
        - Title deed to the car (Titulo de propiedad) or Certification of the deed issued from the National Registry.
        - Registration card from INS (Marchamo or Tarjeta de circulación)
        - Your passport or Residency Card.

RTV checks on your car’s CO2 levels, lights, breaks, shocks, tires and so on. Your car will go through various tests. It is recommended to have your car inspected and fixed before going to your RTV appointment in order to avoid failing the test or you will have to do it all over again.

What items are owed yearly to my employees? 

(Christmas Bonus, Holidays and vacation information) 

CHRISTMAS BONUS (AGUINALDO): Christmas bonus should be paid by the 2nd week of December of each year. Public institutions may pay it earlier and it is determined each year. The calculation of the amount to pay for Christmas bonus for your employee is basically adding up all the amounts earned from December 1st of the present year to November 30th of the present year. Then that amount should be divided by 12. If you pay the worker monthly, and the worker has worked an entire year, it is like paying a '13th' month. If not, then you add up what has been worked and divide it by 12, if the worker has worked less than a year, then it will basically be worked on to one day of pay for each month worked.  Here is a link that may be helpful for you to calculate such amounts. Feel free to also request that Uvita Law Firm assist with calculations. Always remember to document any payments like Christmas Bonus and preferably have the Money transferred to their bank account or given to them by check, as proof of payment along with a signed receipt.

VACATION: You are obligated to give your workers paid vacation time, once they have completed 50 weeks of work each year. If the timing is bad for you, you can grant vacation time any time during the 3 months following the year mark (50 weeks) to provide the time for them to take vacation. Depending on what type of labor they perform and how they are paid, the vacation time runs from 12 to 15 days per work year. These days do not include paid holidays, since that should be given to them anyway. For example, if their vacation time includes Christmas Day, you would need to add on an additional day to substitute the Holiday day that would have been received anyway. I suggest that you consult with a legal counselor if you have any questions. It is important that the vacation actually be taken-therefore they should not come to work- and they should be paid as normal days. You cannot pay them their vacation and have them come to work, which was done in the past. They should also be consecutive vacation days. The idea is that everyone needs a good 2-week rest each year to avoid stress in general. Always document such payments by having them sign when receiving the vacation pay and vacation days.

HOLIDAYS: Some holidays are optional, some are not. Here is the list of Holidays that require double pay in Costa Rica. This means, that if they come to work on these days, they would be paid double what they would make in a normal day. If they do not come to work, they will still receive normal pay, but not double.

              HOLIDAY, DATE
             New Year’s Day, January 1st
             Easter Sunday, March 31st
             Juan Santamaría’s Day, April 11th
             Labor Day, May 1st
             Acquisition of Guanacaste Day, July 25th
             Virgin of Los Angeles, August 2nd
             Assumption & Mothers’ Day, August 15th
             Costa Rica Independence Day, September 15th
             Día de las Culturas (similar to Thanksgiving), October 12th
             Christmas Day, December 25th

LIQUIDATION/SEVERANCE: If you are going to fire a worker, no matter how long they have worked or what they were fired for, they accumulate vacation and Christmas bonus benefits. They only have the right to severance and notice payments (plus the others) upon working 3 months or more. Christmas Bonus, for workers that have not worked the full year and are fired or quit, should be calculated as follows: 1 day of pay per month worked. Same goes for vacation pay. Severance and notice (preaviso), in cases where they have worked more than 3 months, should be calculated by your Uvita Law Firm or directly in the Ministerio de Trabajo, (Labor Department), with a translator and jointly with the employee. Any payments related to this issue should be documented and this should all be done with legal counsel.

*All items related to Employees should be documented.


  • Labor risk policy and Social security plan- (INS and CCSS)
  • Copy of their Social security card in their wallet or on them at all times
  • Copy of their payment slip on them or in their wallet or purse at all times
  • We highly recommend a labor contract as well upon hiring an employee.
  • We highly recommend that the employee open their own bank account and that employer do online deposits or deposits into their account for payments of salary, vacation and other benefits, as record of payment versus cash.

Business hours:
Monday- Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Please call or e-mail to make an appointment.

Mailing and Physical address:
Uvita Law Firm
The Dome Commercial Center, across from the Bridgestone building,
First floor, Office #7
Uvita, Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Phone 011 (506) 2743-8416
Fax:    011 (506) 2743-8417
Movil    011 (506) 2743-8619

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