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Costa Rica

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport (copy must be certified by a lawyer)
  • Rated original bill of lading (OBL) / airway bill (AWB)
  • Packing list in English or Spanish
  • Proof of residence abroad from origin country


Specific Information

  • Customs clearance takes approximately 10 business days from the date of shipment arrival.
  • The items and weights identified on the OBL must match the actual items in the shipment or a fine of 250 USD will be levied and clearance will be delayed.
  • All shipments are subject to physical inspection.
  • Diplomat shipments are duty free.
  • Returning citizens may receive a partial tax exemption if having lived abroad for at least 24 months preceding import; proof from the Costa Rican consulate in the origin country is required and must indicate the number of years of residence lived abroad.
  • Liftvans, airvans, wooden crates, and boxes arriving in containers or single shipments must be fumigated per ISPM-15 guidelines and visibly marked on at least two opposite sides of the container in permanent black ink.
  • Certain wood packing materials are exempt from ISPM-15 regulations; contact the destination agent for specific information. 

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original title
  • Original purchase invoice
  • Emissions certificate in Spanish (or translated), verified by the Consul at origin
  • OBL

Specific Information

  • Duties range from 45% to 70% of the retail value of a vehicle.
  • The import of motor vehicles is not recommended as duties may exceed the value of the vehicle.
  • Contact the destination for additional information.


Documents Required

  • Rabies vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate (2 copies)
  • International certificate (APHIS Form 7001) is recommended
  • Authorization from the Costa Rican Health Ministry obtained at origin from the Consulate / Embassy

Specific Information

  • Documents must be received by the destination agent prior to the arrival of the animal and are subject to examination upon arrival.
  • Animals over 3 months of age must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Quarantine is not currently required unless the pet is deemed unhealthy upon examination then the pet may be kenneled in a government facility.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • The following items are subject to taxes:
    • Arms and ammunition (a permit from the Ministry of National Security is required for returning citizens or residents)
    • Dangerous objects (a permit from the Ministry of National Security is required for returning citizens and residents)
    • Plants (a phytosanitary certificate and permit from the Ministry of Agriculture are required prior to import)
    • New household goods / new furniture (an original invoice or a statement under oath of the value of the item is required)
    • Household / electrical appliances (the brand, serial number, and model must be listed on the packing list)
    • Wedding trousseaux, inheritances, gifts and souvenirs
    • Carpets
    • Antiques and works of art
    • Furniture (wooden items / ornaments require a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture)
    • Precious metal objects, such as jewelry, coins, etc. (purchase receipts / invoices are required)
    • Non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles, watercraft, etc. (duties depend on value, year, model, cubic centimeters, and features)
    • Wine and alcohol (permits from the Ministry of Health /Ministry of Economy are required)
    • Tins and food (a permit from the Ministry of Health are required) (3 copies)

Prohibited Items

  • Narcotics, drugs and medicines (permits from the College of Pharmacy and Ministry of Health are required)
  • Pornographic and subversive materials
  • Explosives

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

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Movguru note: These policies can change as per customs regulations at any time without notice. Treat this document as informative guide. Movguru has published this document as guide only for information purpose on its sole discretion and holds no depiction of expressing or inferred to the precision or applicability of its content.
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