I want to know if there is a specific word in English to refer to the action that some countries do, paying an annual fee in order to have permission to circulate on the principal roads or highways in a country. Here in Costa Rica we call it "Marchamo". I haven't found it. Thank you. :)

  • 1
    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Feb 21 at 1:37
  • How is that permission designated? Here, we have physical "stickers" or electronic "transponders" to track our permissions. Feb 21 at 3:10
  • 1
    Also, since this is a "single word request," can you add an example sentence with a blank where the word would go? That way we can understand if you're looking for a noun or a verb — like I have a sticker vs. I am stickered. Feb 21 at 3:22
  • Terminology for this kind of thing varies considerably between countries (certainly when you are talking about a country's own scheme for licensing/taxing/registering/testing/approving vehicles), so it would help if you could say which English-speaking country you want. Also, what exactly are you paying for - is it to be able to use a vehicle on any public road, or a toll payable on certain highways or in certain areas, or a tax for car owners? Is there a test of road-worthiness involved?
    – Stuart F
    Feb 21 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


The Spanish word means this in Spanish per the DRAE:

Del ár. hisp. máršam 'hierro para marcar', y este del arameo ršam 'grabar'.

  1. m. Señal o marca que se pone en los fardos o bultos en las aduanas, como prueba de que están despachados o reconocidos.

  2. m. Marca que se pone a ciertos productos, especialmente a los embutidos.

From which it follows that un marchamo is a customs stamp or a duty stamp, like to show that you paid some necessary fee to get some package into the country or to approve its safety under import such as for agricultural products that might otherwise contain pests or be quarantined. It can also be a stamp granted by other licensing authorities, such as for a state-licensed health inspection of some sort.

It sounds like in Costa Rica it's also being used for an annual vehicle registration sticker so that you can legally drive that vehicle in whatever jurisdiction. That doesn't sound like much of a reach to me from what the DRAE says.

I'm presuming it's affixed to your vehicle, in which case I would probably just call it your annual vehicle registration sticker. If it is just something with an official stamp or seal that you carry on your person or in the vehicle's storage compartment, I would probably call it an annual vehicle registration card instead.


From a discussion at wordreference.com
wordreference.com sp-eng marchamo
about the phrase "pagar el marchamo", there is a link to Wikipedia "road tax":

Wikipedia road tax
from subhead Costa Rica:
"The Costa Rican car property tax, commonly referred to as Marchamo, is among the highest in Latin America, with rates that can go up to 3.5% of the fiscal value of the vehicle yearly."

In the U.S., a car must have registration, symbolized by a document and a license plate, and those show that the annual property tax on the vehicle was paid.

The highlighted English words may not be single word equivalents of marchamo, and one may not exist.

  • In the UK the formal name is vehicle excise duty, commonly car tax, but you'd just say "I taxed my car."
    – Stuart F
    Feb 21 at 7:46
  • @StuartF In the US it goes by various names depending on the jurisdiction. In Massachusetts we pay a registration fee to the state and an excise tax (aka property tax) to the city/town.
    – Barmar
    Feb 21 at 18:10

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