Costa Rica: Customs inspection procedures

Guidance concerning customs inspection procedures

Guidance concerning customs inspection procedures

Guidance provided by resolution RES-DGA-02-2022 (published in the official gazette on 15 February 2022) concerns the following customs inspection procedures.

  • Inspection period: The customs authorities can conduct inspections regarding goods and merchandise that enter to the national customs territory, without interrupting the flow of legitimate trade and without prejudice to other control measures that may be applied by the customs authority.
  • Inspection development: Customs officials can open packages to inspect their contents to verify the quantity, nature, weight, and any relevant characteristics of the merchandise. Such verification is to follow established criteria for effective and efficient control before the customs clearance of the merchandise.
  • Unloading of goods: The unloading of goods can be performed with or without the intervention of the customs official; the customs depositary must consult the corresponding customs office about how this will be accomplished.
  • Proof of actions: In the inspection procedure, the customs officer can open packages, review their content, and verify the nature of what was declared according to the information contained in the declaration of goods or the consultation of the manifest. For these purposes, both the depositary, the customs carrier, and the customs officer, will be responsible for recording their actions and records in the computer system, merchandise declaration or applicable document.

Resolution number RES-DGA-042-2022 (also published in the official gazette on 15 February 2022) addresses the procedure to be followed in instances when there is reasonable doubt regarding the declared customs value—and specifically concerning the issuance of a document known as "Treatment of the reasonable doubt of the customs value in the verification of the immediate control" (Tratamiento de la duda razonable del valor aduanero en la verificación del control inmediato).

This procedure is established for standardizing the customs process when there is reasonable doubt expressed during the review of the customs declarations (that is, when the authorities have reasonable doubt about the declared value). The procedure applies with regard to customs officers, ranging from senior staff to those directly involved in the inspection.

Read a March 2022 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Costa Rica


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