Advance rulings: New procedures, guidelines, and forms in Costa Rica

Picture of Jossué Chacón

Jossué Chacón

Advance rulings are contained within international, regional, and national customs regulations and are a binding administrative act in which the Customs Authority determines the treatment that will be given to a specific commodity at the time of importation, concerning critical aspects of the process.

In recent years, this pre-import procedure has gained significance as part of the commitments undertaken in the Trade Facilitation Agreement and its inclusion in the General Customs Law (hereinafter referred to as the Law). According to Article 85 of the Law, advance rulings may be requested on:

    • Tariff classification.
    • Customs valuation.
    • Rules of origin.
    • Application of refunds.
    • Suspension and exemption of customs duties.
    • Reimportation of repaired or altered goods.
    • Preferential origin of a commodity under free trade agreements or other international instruments.
    • Country of origin marking.
    • Quota application.

As of May, several resolutions have been made available to the public, detailing the procedures, forms, and guidelines for requesting and issuing advance rulings in the areas of tariff classification and origin. These documents outline the requirements that must be met by applicants and the procedures that officials must follow for issuing the rulings.

Regarding advance rulings, it is important to establish that:

    1. They may be requested by an importer, producer, or exporter before the importation of goods.
    2. The act is issued by the customs authority and is mandatory.
    3. The request must be accompanied by the necessary documentation and information for its issuance.
    4. In some cases, certain goods may not be subject to an advance ruling.

The importance of advance rulings lies in the fact that importers, producers, or exporters can obtain a binding preliminary opinion from the Customs Authority, ensuring legal certainty at the time of importation. This mechanism allows for predictability and transparency regarding elements that facilitate and expedite customs procedures.

Customs matters involve critical elements that can be complex for trade operators, potentially leading to litigation, disputes with the administration, inaccuracies in tariff charges, and other inconveniences.

Overall, advance rulings can be very helpful in reducing costs and, specifically, for complex customs procedures, they become a fundamental decision-making tool or confirmation of information.

If you are interested in requesting an advance ruling or require more information related to the content of this bulletin, please consult with the specialists in the Customs and Foreign Trade area of the Firm at email: