Country Guide: El Salvador

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Updated: June 06, 2015

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Passport
  • Numero de Identificacion (NIT) from the Ministry of Finance (registered at customs system)
  • Certificate of Migratory Movement from the Immigration General Office
  • Original Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed inventory in Spanish indicating quantity per item for customs purpose
  • Packing list
  • Letter of Employment (foreign citizens)
  • Diplomatic Franchise (Diplomas)


Specific Information

  • All shipments are subject to inspection.
  • The shippers must be present for Customs clearance.
  • The shipment must arrive within 90 days of the shipper’s arrival. (Returning citizens applying for exemption of duties and taxes) 
  • Normal customs clearance takes approximately 3-5 business days.
  • Returning residents must have lived abroad for at least 3 years for duty-free import and provide proof of residency abroad; citizens must not have returned to El Salvador for more than 30 consecutive days during the 3-year period of official residency abroad. Contact the destination agent for specific requirements of eligibility.
  • The packing list must include the value of each item and the make, model and serial number of electrical appliances. (Including size in case of TV)
  • Foreign Diplomats and certain government/organization members are granted duty-free entry. Documents must be received by the destination agent 15 days prior to the shipper’s arrival.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required 

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Certificate of Title / Registration
  • Purchase / Commercial Invoice
  • OBL (rated)
  • Diplomatic Franchise (Diplomats)


Specific Information

  • Diplomats can import vehicles duty and tax free.


Documents Required 

  • Vaccination Record (including rabies)
  • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Import Permit (Agriculture Ministry Government at destination)


Specific Information

  • The Veterinary Health Certificate must be issued within 15 days of arrival of the animal by a licensed veterinarian at origin.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • The following items require an original invoice and are subject to the payment of duties:
    • Antiques and works of art
    • Precious metal objects, including jewelry and coins

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic and subversive materials
  • Military clothing and equipment
  • Cleaning chemicals and supplies
  • **Firearms and ammunition (a permit from the local police is required)
  • **Live plants (an original invoice, Phytosanitary Certificate and a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture are required; subject to payment of duties)
  • **Medications (a permit from the local drug administration is required)
  • **Cigarettes (200) and cigars (50)
  • **Alcohol (an Import Permit is required)



**Prohibited items only within Household Goods, they can be imported as General Cargo under certain circumstances.Check with the local agent.  

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.