Costa Rica - Country Commercial Guide
Prohibited and Restricted Imports

Includes a list of goods that are prohibited from being exported to the country or are otherwise restricted.

Last published date: 2021-11-10

The Government of Costa Rica prohibits and restricts the import of only a few goods, specifically 37 HS codes, and the reason is generally due to public safety, health, and environment protection. Is prohibited to import used tires without rims because they might contain mosquitoes carrying yellow fever or dengue fever breed in water accumulated in rimless tires.  Also, the import of used shoes is prohibited and recently used clothing has been subjected to labeling regulations. The import of weapons and explosives is closely regulated; only the Government may import automatic firearms. Blood imports are also prohibited.   

There is an estate monopoly regarding importing, refinery and distribution or crude oil and its derivatives, only the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery, RECOPE (Spanish abbreviation) can manage this sector in the territory.

It is also prohibited to import husk, coffee husk and used carboard egg separators because of biological risks.  This measure was established to protect health and avoid plagues.

Since 1991 all ozone depleting substances have import restrictions as well as asbestos.

Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, natural products with pharmaceutical use and medicines are restricted and all of them must comply with regulations with the pertaining ministry before entering the country.

Before importing make sure to check with the customs broker in the national tariff system to see if there are any Technical Note related to the product.

Warranty and Non-Warranty Repairs 

Costa Rican law does not exempt replacement parts from duties or taxes even if the parts are used in warranty repairs.  Equipment used to make repairs can be admitted temporarily for a three-month period, renewable once, upon depositing with customs the amount of duty that would be charged if the item was imported.  The deposit is refunded upon re-export of the equipment.