Requirements to Import to Costa Rica: How is the Process, Rates and MORE

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The requirements to import to Costa Rica They will be explained clearly and simply below.

Costa Rica is one of the countries that are part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is why it has established agreements to carry out free trade with:

  • Nations of Latin America among which are: Mexico and Chile,
  • With the Community of Caribbean States or CARICOM,
  • United States of America,
  • Central America,
  • Dominican Republic or CAFTA-DR (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, for its acronym in English).
  • With the European Free Trade Association.

In this sense, the agreements established by Costa Rica provide simpler and more active commercial relations between the nations involved.

That is why in 2018, Costa Rica was classified as one of the best Latin American economies to invest.

All of them, because it has reformed some regulations that facilitate foreign investment.

What are the Import Requirements?

To start the import process to Costa Rica, it is essential to understand the laws and regulations that govern marketing in that nation.

In this sense, the following will briefly explain the requirements to import to Costa Rica, or to start the commercialization process in that country:

  • The interested party must register as an importer with the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promotion Office or PROCOMER.
  • It is suggested to find a customs representative and explain the import interest, as well as provide information about your company or business. This delegate can operate on behalf of your company and assist companies with the legal formalities to nationalize the products.
  • Then the interested party must register the product at the general customs office, declaring the items.
  • For some products, Costa Rica requires import licenses, which must be processed through the different ministries or departments. In the case of food, a permit is required from the Department of Agriculture and Animal Control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
  • It is also necessary to acquire a certificate of origin, which is intended to verify and authenticate the origin of the products.

For more details on the requirements to import to Costa Rica, the interested person should visit the link of the Ministry of Finance from that country.

Requirements to Import to Costa Rica: To import Liquors

The necessary requirements to import alcoholic beverages to Costa Rica are similar to those of other products, they are mentioned below:

  • Present commercial invoice of the products.
  • Project to enter the product for shipment.
  • Customs declaration of the country of origin.
  • Product value statement.
  • Import permits.
  • Origin authentication.
  • If applicable, submit exemption notes.

In order to remove the merchandise from customs, it is essential to present these indicated documents. in addition to:

  • Document of health certification for free sale and consumption of the country of origin, issued by the corresponding government entity, validated by the Consul of Costa Rica and authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica.
  • Certification of qualitative composition of ingredients and qualitative-quantitative of the additives used, issued by the manufacturer or by the health authorities of the country of origin.
  • Deliver two product samples with two sets of labels.
  • In addition, the importer must attach a proof of payment, associated with the analysis rights, to the Treasury of the Ministry of Health.

In case of obviating any of the requirements, the company can withdraw the products by delivering a deposit as a guarantee or guarantee.

In this sense, a 30-day period begins to present the necessary documentation. If the documents are not presented within the term, the guarantee will be executed.

All these requirements must be renewed every 5 years.

Food products must request registration with the Food Control Department of the Ministry of Health.

Medications, cosmetics, health products, narcotics and psychotropics are registered in the Department of Drugs, Narcotics, Controls and Registry of the Ministry of Health.

Requirements to Import a Vehicle

Transporting a vehicle to Costa Rica from another country is very simple, when compared to other countries.

But it can be cumbersome if you don’t have a clear understanding of the process, or if you don’t have specialized advice to provide guidance.

Therefore, in order to import the vehicle, it is necessary to consider that the importing agencies need the car to pass the emissions test.

In this sense, there are two ways to import a vehicle to Costa Rica: temporary or permanent importation.

Now, below are the documents necessary to import a vehicle to Costa Rica:

  • Valid passport, if you are not Costa Rican,
  • Driver’s license,
  • Certificate of registration,
  • Property title without liens,
  • If the person who is carrying out the procedure is not the owner of the car, they must provide an authorization from the owner that authorizes the vehicle to be imported to another country. This authorization must be notarized and authenticated by a Costa Rican consulate,
  • Certificate of temporary use,
  • Certified emissions test,
  • Shipment project.

How is the proccess?

Subsequently, the process to be followed by the person interested in importing a vehicle to Costa Rica temporarily is described:

  • The interested party must fill out a temporary import form that will be provided by customs in Costa Rica,
  • If you are a Costa Rican citizen, you must provide proof of residency,
  • Pay the corresponding to the temporary import permit: $ 25 and $ 15 to the National Insurance Institute of Costa Rica. It is important to note that both payments are subject to change,

The following is the process to carry out a permanent vehicle import to Costa Rica.

In this case, the applicant must process the following requirements in conjunction with those previously mentioned.

The interested party initially needs to contact a Costa Rican customs analyst, who will be willing to guide you through the step by step.

Also, the interested person can choose the procedure described below, for which they must have:

  • The commercial invoice of the vehicle,
  • The project for the vehicle to enter the country,
  • Consider that taxes on car imports in Costa Rica are generally higher than those charged in other countries,
  • For new cars with 3 years or more, the proportion to collect is 52.29%,
  • The cars between 4 to 5 years of use, the proportion to be charged is 63.91%,
  • In the case of cars older than 6 years of use, the proportion to be taxed is 79.03%,
  • Finally, they will determine the value of the car. This procedure will be carried out by the Ministry of Finance of Costa Rica, or they will carry out a finalization of the value of the commercial invoice, in addition to all shipping and insurance costs, often referred to as cost, insurance and freight or CSF.

What are the Import Fees?

Import tariffs to Costa Rica are paid to the Ministry of Finance. The bands of customs duties vary between 1% and 15%, depending on the type of product.

An example of this is: 1% for a book and 13% for a PC processor.

Additionally, imports are also attached to a general sales tax of 13% (some basic products, such as school uniforms are exempt).

Likewise, at the additional rate of 1% for the value of cost, insurance and freight, only the DR-CAFTA countries are excluded.

These are the fundamental duties and taxes for imports, but companies should consider other Costa Rican accounting and tax requirements.

On the other hand, regarding the importation of vehicles, import duties are usually calculated from According to the reason why you want to import a car to Costa Rica.

For example, for a person who resides in Costa Rica and bought a vehicle in the United States of America and needs to send it, it is an amount.

For an American who retired and now resides in Costa Rica, wanting to send a car, it is another amount.

Likewise, for a tourist who wishes to send a vehicle from another country to Costa Rica and drive back, he will not pay tax.

For more details related to the importation of a vehicle, you can contact the Embassy of Costa Rica.

Benefits of Importing to Costa Rica

One of the most outstanding benefits of importing to Costa Rica is related to the tax advantages.

In this sense, one of the most outstanding benefits for investors is the 100% tax exemption of customs duties for imports.

For the aforementioned, we will mention some examples for different companies that can take advantage of the free trade zone system, such as Costa Rica:

  • Manufacturing industries that invest more than 6.5 million euros can enjoy a 100% tax exemption for a period of eight years and a subsequent exemption of 50% for the next four years.
  • In the case of tourism companies, they are attached to various incentives and benefits, due to the Law of Incentives for the Development of Tourism, in case they meet some requirements.
  • For merchandise from Central America, in this case there are certain products that are exempt from paying the tariff of customs duties.


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