Mandatory documents for export and import

If you are exporter or importer in Costa Rica, you need to understand the mandatory documents that are required for shipping to Costa Rica. You need to know about how many documents are required in Costa Rica for exporting and importing goods. 

Shipping to Costa rica

Costa Rica custom procedures are complicated and bureaucratic. Recent improvements like electronics one stop import and export windows known as single windows have significantly reduced time required for custom processing.  So when you are planning for Costa Ricarelocation, it is important that you know about the Custom formalities so that your relocation becomes a hassle free process.

In regards to documentation, Costa Rica only requires commercial invoices, bills of lading, and air way bills for the entry of goods. Mail shipments require only postal documentation. Bulk agricultural items need phytosanitary certificates.

Imports of cosmetics, pharmaceutical, vitamin supplements, medical devices, chemical, toxic substances, insecticides, pesticides and agricultural chemicals need an import permit from Costa Rican Ministry of Health.

This permit can be obtained upon presentation of quantitative and qualitative analysis certificates, goods manufacturing practices and free scale certificates which must be provided by the foreign exporter.

The registration process for pharmaceuticals has become very slow in many cases taking more than 6 months for approval. However, the Ministry is working towards reducing time frame. For imports from CAFTA countries, certification of origin of goods must be presented to Customs authority. There is no specific format to present this information. The local importer can use any format available for this purpose.

Violating the documentation for imports and exports carry heavy fine. Also great care must be taken to avoid any kind of errors and infractions. All the imports processing need to be carried out by certified custom broker.

The Costa Rican government implements its TICA system in which custom brokers declares all goods that are being imported and exported by all means of transportation in all customs territories created in the country.

Customs might require the monitoring of handling of shipments in person based on the traffic light system. This means the shipment entering the country will pass through a random pre studied system that classifies shipments into physical inspection- red colour, documental inspection – yellow colour, or no inspection- green colour.

Sometimes customs of Costa Rica requires that some shipments are handled internally with an electronic seal to monitor their delivery from the port to customs warehouses and all the way until it pays the pertaining custom duties and is fully legalized.

Also, there is a new import procedure for most imports entering via APM terminals moin in which customs and control drug policy might be requiring shipments to be scanned. The aim of the government is to reach 100% scanning of all imports and exports in the country through all ports via land, water or air.


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