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Costa Rica Importer of Record and IT Shipping

Your Importer of Record into Costa Rica should help you navigate IVA tax, the TICA import system, and remote last-mile delivery.

Costa Rica Importer of Record at a Glance:

Importer of Record

  • In Costa Rica, IVA is the name for VAT tax
  • Costa Rica has an import system, TICA, that is responsible for determining the level of inspection each shipment must undergo
  • There are Special Economic Zones in Costa Rica that may allow your shipment to be tax-exempt if they offer needed infrastructure development to the region

IT Shipping & Logistics 

  • Costa Rica has relatively quick last-mile delivery 
  • Smart hands in more remote areas may require early due diligence to ensure speedy installation

Importer of Record and Pre-Shipment Documentation 


In Costa Rica, you will need to pay El Impuesto sobre el Valor Agregado, or IVA. The IVA tax is the translation of VAT tax in other countries. Functionally, IVA is the same as VAT and is paid on all imports. It recently replaced the Impuesto de Ventas Incluido, or “Sales Tax Included.” 


Costa Rica implemented the TICA system to increase efficiency and safety in the Costa Rican customs process. It organizes the shipments into “lanes” that require different levels of inspection. Sometimes, but not always, TICA requires customs agents to place a small seal on the item, which tracks the shipment from the port to its final destination. In order to satisfy the necessary inspection requirements for TICA, your Importer of Record may require an additional fee. 

Zona Franca – Special Economic Zones 

Costa Rica has set up special economic zones in specific regions within the country. These zones allow imports to be tax-exempt if they arrive in the port assigned to that region and stay there for a set amount of years. The primary purpose of these zones is to encourage economic and technological development in the region and thus in Costa Rica. These zones are general areas – like ports or industrial centers – or more specific entities like hospitals and universities. 

At the time of writing of this piece, Costa Rica’s SEZs are largely concentrated around San Jose’s northwestern corridor and in a number of manufacturing towns. 


If you are using an Importer of Record provider they’ll manage the paperwork on your behalf. In Costa Rica, the documentation requirements primarily consist of standard documentation lik a commercial invoice, house airway bill, bill of landing, etc. 

IT Shipping & Logistics

Costa Rica is not a large nation and does not have any particularly difficult climatic obstacles. Last-mile delivery often just takes a few days and there are rarely any unexpected obstacles in ground transit.

However, due to the more remote nature of many of the towns, services like remote and smart-hands engineering may be more difficult to plan around without accurate time-lining. 

*FGX manages all of our client’s shipments door-to-door (or door-to-data center). This case study showcases how we navigated IT logistics and importation into Costa Rica at the time that it was written. Regulations and challenges are constantly changing and exact shipping requirements may have changed. To learn more about FGX and how our global shipping platform can help your company, reach out here.