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El Salvador

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Passport
  • Residence permit / work permit
  • Visa
  • Numero de identificacion (NIT) from the Ministry of Finance
  • Certificate of migratory movement from the Immigration General Office
  • Temporary import permit
  • Bank guarantee, if applicable
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed inventory in Spanish
  • Packing list
  • Letter of employment
  • Certificate of change of residence
  • Certificate of residence abroad (returning citizens)
  • Diplomatic franchise (diplomats) 

Specific Information

  • All shipments are subject to inspection.
  • The owners of the goods must be present for Customs clearance.
  • Household goods and personal effects are duty free provided they have been owned and used by the owner of the goods for at least 6 months.
  • The shipment must arrive within 90 days of the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • Customs clearance takes approximately 2-3 business days.
  • Items cannot be sold, loaned or disposed of during the owner of the goods’ stay.
  • Returning residents must have lived abroad for at least 3 years for duty-free import and provide proof of residency abroad; citizens must not have returned to El Salvador for more than 30 consecutive days during the 3-year period of official residency abroad. 
    • Contact the destination agent for specific requirements of eligibility.
  • The certificate of residence can be obtained from the Salvadoran Consulate and must verify the location and time spent abroad.
  • The packing list must include the value of each item and the make, model, and serial number of electrical appliances.
  • Foreign diplomats and certain government / organization members are granted duty-free entry. 
    • Documents must be received by the destination agent 15 days prior to the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • Foreigners may qualify for a 6-month delay of duty payment with a bank guarantee for an amount equal to the Customs valuation of the shipment; however, the payment is required upon expiration of the guarantee.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required 

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Certificate of title / registration
  • Purchase / commercial invoice
  • OBL
  • Diplomatic franchise (diplomats)
  • Certificate of compliance (new vehicles)
  • Certificate of emissions (used vehicles)

Specific Information

  • Vehicles (motorized and non-motorized) can be imported duty free but are subject to taxes.
  • Diplomats can import vehicles duty and tax free.
  • New and used vehicles must be less than 8 years old from the date of manufacture for import.
  • The certificate of compliance for new vehicles is issued by the manufacturer and must be authenticated by the Salvadoran embassy or consulate at origin.
  • The certificate of emissions for used vehicles must be authorized by a mechanic and authenticated by the Salvadoran embassy or consulate at origin.


Documents Required 

  • Rabies vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Import permit

Specific Information

  • The vaccination record must be issued within 6 months of arrival of the animal.
  • The veterinary health certificate must be issued within 15 days of arrival of the animal by a licensed veterinarian at origin.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Firearms and ammunition (a permit from the local police is required)
  • Live plants (an original invoice, phytosanitary certificate and a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture are required; subject to payment of duties)
  • Medications (a permit from the local drug administration is required)
  • Cigarettes (200) and cigars (50)
  • Alcohol (an import permit is required)
  • The following items require an original invoice and are subject to the payment of duties:
    • Appliances, machines and spare parts (duty free for diplomats)
    • Gifts and souvenirs
    • Antiques and works of art
    • Precious metal objects, including jewelry and coins
    • Household and electrical items (serial number, make and model must be included on the detailed inventory)
    • Carpets
    • Wine (a permit from a local health department is required)
    • Food items (a phytosanitary certificate is required if the item is not canned and a certificate that the item is approved for human consumption)

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic and subversive materials
  • Military clothing and equipment
  • Cleaning chemicals and supplies

Consignment Instructions

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

Helpful Website(s):


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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