Importing a firearm to Costa Rica is not an easy ordeal. The government has a very restrictive stance against the personal ownership of firearms by individuals and imposes regulations that make it cumbersome to import firearms.
The first thing you need to know is that in order to import firearms to Costa Rica you must have legal permanent residency. If you have a temporary residency category (rentista, pensionado, inversionista) then you will not be able to import a firearm in your name. If you have permanent residency then you can import a firearm once you have obtained the necessary licensing documentation from the Costa Rica Department of Arms and Explosives. If you intend to go through the process it is also recommended that you retain a customs agent in Costa Rica that has had experience in importing firearms to guide you through the customs maze.
When you ship the firearm to Costa Rica make sure that you include all the information such as make, model, caliber, serial number in the bill of lading. When the firearm arrives in Costa Rica it will be retained at customs and the importer will get a receipt indicating that the firearm is being held by customs pending the import permit.
In order to process the import permit the applicant must be a Costa Rican or a holder of a Permanent Residency cedula. The importer must demonstrate that they have:
- No criminal record by providing a Costa Rican police clearance certificate (Certificado de Delincuencia).
- Pass the Psychology firearms ownership test
- Pass the Firearms handling and theory test
- Get fingerprinted in Costa Rica.
The importer must then inform the office of firearm registration in writing that the firearms are in Customs and the document must indicate:
- Information about the applicant.
- Documentation showing the export of the firearm from the country of origin.
- Firearm type, make, caliber, serial number, magazineAll this information must be consistent with the information contained in the import documentation.
- The CIF value of the firearm. The customs classification and weight of the firearm. Your customs agent can provide you with the classification amount.
- Name of the Customs Agent or bonded warehouse where the firearms are stored.
- Attach a copy of the invoice for the purchase of theIf it was a gift or inheritance you will likely have to include a sworn statement before a notary public indicating that.
The firearm is then physically inspected and if approved then the import permit is issued and the information is included in the Costa Rican digital customs database known as Tic@. Once it appears in the database then the importer can continue with the process of registering the weapon before the Costa Rican Department of Arms and Explosives that is the office that oversees and regulates firearms in Costa Rica.
The reality is that Costa Rica tries to discourage the importation of firearms and as such they make the process as confusing and difficult as possible to deter it. If you are going to embark in this process I would recommend you hire a customs agent or an expert in firearms registration to guide you through the process. Do not send your firearms to Costa Rica before understanding the process completely and ensuring that you qualify for importation. If you do not qualify for importation your firearms will not be released to you.