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Costa Rica Import Regs.: Documentation

Questions and answers about prohibited imports, labeling requirements, customs valuation as well as tariffs & taxes of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Import Regs.: Documentation

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:24 am

The General Customs Law requires regular importers to be registered with the National Customs Valuation and Verification Authority (Órgano Nacional de Valoración y Verificación Aduanera – ONVVA) at the Directorate-General of Customs. Under Law No. 7557, amended by Law No. 8373 of 18 August 2003, the services of customs agents must be used in all customs regimes with a few exceptions.

Costa Rica requires no special documentation for the entry of goods other than commercial invoices, bills of lading and air-way bills. Authentication of these documents is not required. The only requirement is that the Costa Rican importer type and sign a customs and product value declaration on the opposite side of the invoice. Costa Rica does NOT require pre-shipment inspection. However, some official export document is required under Costa Rican law similar to an SED.

Additionally, this legislation makes mandatory the submission of a certificate of origin and original commercial invoice.

* Automobiles must be accompanied by a vehicle emissions compliance certificate - this requirement is under legal challenge.

* Mail shipments require only postal documentation.

* Bulk agricultural products require phytosanitary certificates.

* Import of cosmetics, chemicals, toxic substances, insecticides, pesticides and agricultural chemicals requires an import permit from the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. The permit can be obtained with the presentation and approval of quantitative-qualitative analysis certificates and free-sale certificates, which must be provided by the exporter. These certificates must be authenticated by a Costa Rican consul in the United States or other country of origin.

* Surgical and dental instruments and machines can be sold only to licensed importers and health professionals.

* Electronically delivered imports (i.e. software, movie downloads) over the internet do not require documentation.

* Violations of documentation laws carry heavy fines. Consequently, great care must be taken to avoid errors and infractions.
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