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Costa Rica Import Regs.: Used and New Automobiles

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

Costa Rica Import Regs.: Used and New Automobiles

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:04 am

The Costa Rican Ministry of Transportation and Public Works (MOPT) issues compliance standards for all imported vehicles. These requirements apply to all vehicles in circulation in Costa Rica. They are: speedometers calibrated in kilometers, seat-belts, child safety seats, head restraints, a third red brake light on the rear of the vehicle), outside right and left mirrors, and fire-extinguishers. All vehicles that enter the country after January 1, 1995, must also be equipped with an emissions control device (catalytic converter) and a vehicle emissions compliance certificate. This certificate should come from the official state level authority with responsibility for emissions certification in the U.S. and be authenticated by a Costa Rican consulate in the U.S.

For used vehicles, customs authorities do not accept the commercial invoice required to import the vehicle. The authorities choose a value to estimate the import taxes according to the country of origin, generally based on a reference price from the U.S. "Black Book" in the case of U.S. imports. Costa Rican authorities may also use a "National Price List" based on local market vehicle values to establish a used vehicle value. The customs price is higher than the invoice price in most cases

For new vehicles, the authorities accept the value stated in the commercial invoice presented by the importer as the basis upon which to calculate the taxes due for the vehicles. The invoice must come from the manufacturer. If the vehicle does not come directly from the manufacturer's respresentative in Costa Rica, the valuation will be established using one of the methods mentioned above.

The above applies to non-FTA transactions when in effect.
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