Moving to Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica

Ports: Air: Santamaria Airport, San Jose Ocean: Port Limon (Atlantic Ocean), Port Caldera (Pacific Ocean)

Prohibited: Drugs, Narcotics, Weapons, Explosives, Pornography, Used Tires

Cont:Restrictions only to the net weight of cargo allowed on the containers as follows: 20′ Container – Max. Weight Net 48,400 lbs 40′ Container – Max. Weight Net 57,200 lbs 20′ – 40′ – 45′ Containers are acceptable to destinations in all cities.

Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

Required Documents:  Special permit (import licenses) from Department of Health and/or IHAM.

Customs Regulations: Duties are on an average of 110%.

ClearanceFive working days.

RemarksSmall quantities of alcoholic beverages are allowed for personal use. Any quantity is subject to duties.

Diplomatic Removals

Required Documents:  Copy of passport and OBL or AWB; tax exemption must be requested to the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Embassy or Mission must endorse exemption. This paperwork takes 3 weeks.

Customs Regulations: Will pay no duties or new or used.

ClearanceThree working days once the exemption is approved.

RemarksAll diplomatic shipments MUST be unloaded at the bonded warehouse prior to delivery, although shipment will not be inspected by Customs, according to the Vienna Convention.

Firearms and Weapons

Required Documents:  Original invoice and registration at origin.

Customs Regulations: A special permit at Firearms and Explosive Department must be applied for. Import tax is 141%.


Remarks: Must be for personal use only.

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Required Documents:  (1) New items: Original invoice and OBL or AWB (2) Used items: List of items with actual value signed by customer, and OBL or AWB. We recommend that no insurance or other declared values be evident on inventory or shipping documents, to enable maximum allowances for use factors.

Customs Regulations: Average tax is 45%.

ClearanceThree working days. Customer’s presence is not required.

RemarksAll household goods and personal effects MUST be unloaded in bonded warehouse for Customs inspection. If original passport is submitted to Customs, customer will be credited with $100 U.S. in taxes. All Costa Ricans that have lived overseas for more than two years are allowed to import duty free (just paying 11% tax) on all their household goods and personal effects. Big appliances must not exceed one of each item. Customer must submit a letter from the nearest Costa Rican Consulate abroad, stating that he has lived more than two years abroad. Tax exemption takes four weeks in Costa Rica.

New Furniture

Required Documents:

Customs Regulations: No limit on quantity.

Clearance: Five working days.

RemarksTaxes are on the average of 35%.

Pets and Animals

Required Documents:  Pets require a Health Vaccination Certificate, dated less than 30 days prior to arrival in Costa Rica.

Customs Regulations:

Clearance: Three working days.



Required Documents:  (1) Original title if vehicle is new or a used pickup truck (2) OBL or AWB

Customs Regulations: Tax on automobiles is 126%, pickup trucks is 77%, boats is 69%, and motorcycles is 65%. All used automobiles are subject to depreciation on the value. An average of 10% of depreciation a year is applied, for a maximum of 70% depreciation when vehicles are five or more years old.

Clearance: Five working days

Remarks: Tourists are allowed to import a vehicle duty free for a period of six months. Documents required are same as above, plus registration of vehicle in the name of the person bringing the automobile to Costa Rica. In order to register the car and obtain the license plates, it takes ten more working days, but the tourist’s presence is not required.

Please note:
The information on this page is intended as a guide and NOT as a complete or definitive resource.
The information on this page should not be used as an authoritative reference.