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Tax exemptions (Duty free on-line purchases)

¿What is an exemption or a duty free import?

It’s the right the law gives to an adult, foreign or national, that hasn’t used this benefit in the last 6 months to import duty free a Courier package with a CIF value* under US $ 500.


In other words, the exemption benefit is an option for Costa Ricans and foreigners to shop online abroad and import duty free up to US $500 CIF value every 6 months.


What is the CIF value?

CIF means "cost, insurance and freight"

  • CIF value: Cost of merchandise + Insurance + freight.


The CIF value is used by Customs to calculate duties.

¿How does the exemption process work with Aeropost?

To enjoy the exemption benefit, the following steps must be followed: pre-alert the exemption, document it, authorize Aeropost and pay.


  1. Pre-alert the exemption:  notify Aeropost through the pre-alert* process your wish to exonerate the package previous to its arrival at our PO box address in Miami.

  2. Documentation: once the package has arrived to Costa Rica, deliver at any of  Aeropost’s store*, the following documents:

    • 4 photocopies of your personal ID -each copy must be signed and original-.

    • The printed invoice of the purchased item(s).

  3. Authorize Aeropost: additionally, you must fill and sign the special power* document, which will be facilitated to the client by Aeropost. This special power will give Aeropost the right to process the exemption on behalf of the client.

  4. Payment of the processing fee: The client will have to pay to Aeropost the amount of USD $20.00 (this amount includes sales taxes). This payment will only be requested if the exemption is accepted by the Customs Office.


Aeropost will give you a voucher stating that all documents were received.


*Pre-alert: important! choose the exemption option.

*Stores: deliver the original documents mentioned above at one of our stores.

*Special power: this document can be downloaded from, handed by our sales representatives in one of our stores or sent by an Aeropost’s customer service agents per request by calling our service line 2208-4848.


¿Starting when can you apply for an exemption for on-line purchases?

Starting August 17, 2017, the exemption process can be applied to online shopping purchases.



¿Who can use the exemption benefit (shop online duty free)?

Any foreign or national adult, that hasn’t enjoyed this benefit in the last 6 months. This procedure is not transferable.


To apply for an exemption with Aeropost, you only require an active Aeropost account or be an authorized user of an account.


What articles apply for tax exemption?

Online personal* purchases, with a maximum CIF value of US $500.00, excluding restricted items or purchases that require a special import permit.


*Personal purchases are limited to 5 units of the same article.


Does the exemption process apply for both Casillero and purchases (all included service)?

From September 18 on, Aeropost will be able to apply the exemption process to packages received in Aeropost’s Miami address through the casillero service.


In November Aeropost will also be able to offer this service to packages purchased through (all included service).


Can I consolidate packages in order to make one exemption process for various items?

No. Aeropost is a Courier service, which mission is to transport e-commerce packages as fast as possible. Because of this reason, Aeropost doesn’t offer consolidation services in Miami and the exemption process will only apply to one package.


In the case that a client purchases various items from one store and this supplier devides the purchase in more than one package, the client must choose which package only one of the to be exempted and follow the exemption process.

Does the return policy apply to exempted packages?

Yes, Aeropost’s return policy applies to any package purchased though its services.


Nevertheless, it’s important to clarify that Aeropost can process a re-purchase or return the amount of money of the CIF cost. Note that in case of a re-purchase, the client will not receive an exemption until a 6 months period has lapsed from the original purchase. This means, that you will have to pay duties in full for the re-purchase.


When can an exemption be made?

Only one event may be exempted, every 6 months. Aeropost will keep track of the exemptions made in each account.


IMPORTANT: if you use the exemption benefit in the last 6 months without the help of Aeropost and attempt a new exemption with Aeropost, within that period of time, the process will initiate and will be rejected by the National Customs Office; after that you will assume the payment of taxes or carry out the exemption process personally.


What happens if an exemption is processed for less than USD $ 500.00?

Any exemption process regardless of it’s amount, will count as an event; therefore, if the customer, for example, exempts a package with a CIF value of USD $ 100.00, this benefit will be newly available after 6 months -regardless of the fact that USD $ 400.00 were not used-.


How long does the exemption process take?

The exemption process will last approximately 7 business days, after the customer has delivered the complete documents required, and the status of "In Customs - Exonerating" has been activated  (the you can view this status on "My Account")


This process ads 7 days to regular delivery (purchases without exemption) timeframes.


Who is in charge of an exemption process?

Any citizen or foreigner can carry out and is in charge of an exemption, however, Aeropost will be responsible for completing this process on behalf of customers who request it.


How much does it cost to process an exemption with Aeropost?

Aeropost will charge USD $ 20.00 i.v.i, regardless of the CIF value of the merchandise, to complete the process.


The cost will be charged to the client's account once the process is approved by the National Customs Office.


The customer may pay this amount with any of the payment methods offered by Aeropost.


Under what grounds can an exemption be rejected?

  • If the value of the merchandise exceeds USD $ 500.00 CIF.

  • If the client has used his / her benefit in the last 6 months.

  • If the article requires is restricted or requires permission in order to import it.

  • If the content of the package exceeds 5 units of the same item.

  • If the Customs Operator’s criteria rejects this procedure; for example: If the declared value of the article does not match it’s market value.


What happens if the exemption process is rejected?

In the case when an exemption process is rejected, Aeropost will notify the client and offer the following options:


  1. You can authorize Aeropost to make the payment of taxes and customs handling in your behalf.

  2. Aeropost can deliver the exemption documents to you, so that you can undertake the process personally.


How can I know the status of my exemption process?

The customer can view the status of the process at any time by entering into My Account.


The status of packages associated with the exemption process are:


  • In Customs - Exemption in Process: the tax exemption process has already begun. This can take approx. 7 business days.

  • In Customs - Exemption Needs Documents: the process could not yet be initiated because one or all of the required documents are missing.

  • In Customs - Exemption with Problems: the procedure was rejected. Aeropost will offer the customer the options available to release the package.

  • Freed of Customs: The process of exemption has already finished, we proceed with the invoicing and delivery of the package to the customer in the next 24 hours approximately.


Why was the exemption for online purchases reactivated in 2017?

In November 2011, the National Customs Office issued a criteria stating that, from that point on, the exemption process would no longer apply to online purchases.


However, last August 17, 2017, the Attorney General's Office dictated in the legal criteria DN-862-2013, in favor of exemptions for online purchases, so that the Ministry of Finance officialized this procedure in the circular note CIR- DN-037-2017, published on the same date.