Includes customs regulations and contact information for this country's customs office.
Last Published: 7/31/2017
Costa Rican customs procedures are complex and bureaucratic. Recent improvements, such as electronic "one stop" import and export windows, known as Single Windows, have significantly reduced the time required for customs processing. The Government of Costa Rica implemented its TICA system which requires a seal to be randomly installed on products to monitor their delivery from the port to the purchaser. For more information, please see the Directorate General of Customs of Costa Rica’s webpage.

With regards to documentation, Costa Rica only requires commercial invoices, bills of lading, and airway bills for the entry of goods.   Mail shipments require only postal documentation.  Bulk agricultural products require phytosanitary certificates.  Imports of cosmetics, pharmaceutical, vitamin supplements, medical devices, chemicals, toxic substances, insecticides, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals require an import permit from the Costa Rican Ministry of HealthThe permit can be obtained upon presentation approval of quantitative-qualitative analysis certificates, good manufacturing practices and free-sale certificates, which must be provided by the foreign exporter. The registration process for pharmaceuticals has become very slow, in many cases taking up more than six months or more to approve the request. However, the Ministry is working toward reducing this timeframe.  Improvement in the registration process is expected during 2017. Gobierno Digital, the government office in charge of managing the electronic system for government purchases, is working with the Ministry of Health to utilize this new electronic platform for digital registration of products.

Regarding medical devices, since 2011, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health recognizes U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizations of medical devices to be sold in the U.S. market as permissible for sale in Costa Rica without additional evaluation. 

For imports from CAFTA countries, Costa Rican importers must present to Customs Authority the necessary information that can certify the origin of the goods. There is no specific format to present this information. The local importer can use any format available for this purpose. For more information, please see the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica’s certification of origin webpage.  

Violations of documentation laws carry heavy fines.  Consequently, great care must be taken to avoid errors and infractions.
Questions pertaining to customs issues should be addressed to:

Costa Rican Customs Office (Dirección General de Aduanas)
Edificio La Llacuna, Avenida Central
San José, Costa Rica
Phone:  (506) 2522-9390
Fax: (506) 2522-9426

Information on Free Trade Zones and the Active Finishing Regime, as well as statistical information on Costa Rican trade and listings of importers and exporters, is available from the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Corporation (PROCOMER), an autonomous agency headed by the Minister of Foreign Trade.  Contact information follows:

Costa Rica Foreign Trade Corporation (PROCOMER)
Av. 3a. Calle 40
P.O. Box 1278-1007
San José, Costa Rica
Phone: (506) 2299-4700
Fax: (506) 2233-575       

Additional information can also be obtained by contacting the Costa Rican Association of Free Trade Zones:
Costa Rica Free Trade Zone Association (AZOFRAS)
Mr. Alvaro Valverde P.
Executive Director
Plaza Mayor Rohrmoser, Segunda Etapa
Segundo Piso, Oficina # 1, Rohrmoser, Pavas
San Jose, Costa Rica
Phone: (506) 2520-1635
Email: avalverde@azofras.com

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Costa Rica Foreign Trade Regulations