From: Dominican Republic
To: Anywhere
From: Dominican Republic
To: El Salvador
From: Anywhere
To: El Salvador

Important: Be sure to check both general and product-based categories for relevant information. Product-based categories include parts and accessories unless otherwise specified. See disclaimer below and use independent care before relying on this information.

El Salvador: Import (general)

General import regulations and requirements

Erasures and amendments on shipping documents are not acceptable unless corrections are noted at the bottom and initialed by the person signing the documents. Omissions or mis-declarations on documents may result in fines.

Original signatures in ink are required.

(Last updated on 2014-01-21)

Customs clearance procedures and requirements

The Central American Uniform Customs Code (CAUCA III) customs procedures have been implemented in El Salvador. This code was adopted to harmonize customs procedures between the Central American countries. The code has been implemented by Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras and is in the process of being approved by Costa Rica.

El Salvador has implemented the "Teledespacho" system, which allows the importer and/or exporter to process import and export documentation electronically without the services of a customs broker.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

Samples of no commercial value may be imported duty-free.
Samples of food products and medicine are dutiable.
Samples of commercial value may be imported duty-free if a bond is posted and the samples are re-exported within six months.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Import customs tariff

El Salvador uses the Central American Tariff System (SAC), based on the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS), for commodity classification. For El Salvador's tariff schedule see: Arancel Informatizado Centroamericano. (Website is in Spanish. Select "Consulta de Nomenclatura".)

Goods from CAFTA-DR countries are eligible for preferential treatment. Review Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

A 13% Value Added Tax (VAT) may apply. Certain commodities are exempt. Additional taxes may apply to cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages.

(Last updated on 2015-03-31)

Customs valuation basis

There are no specific duties.

For items subject to ad valorem duties, the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement applies. According to this agreement, there are six acceptable methods of determining customs value. Typically the first method is used (unless the buyer and seller are related parties). When the value cannot be obtained this way, or is rejected by customs, one of the other methods is to be used, in descending order:

  1. Transaction value (the price actually paid or payable by the importer, plus certain costs and expenses)
  2. Transaction value of identical goods
  3. Transaction value of similar goods
  4. Deductive value (the sale or resale value, reduced by certain costs such as customs duties, taxes, and commissions)
  5. Computed value (calculated by adding together certain costs/values for production, materials, profit and other expenses)
  6. Fall-back method

See additional information on the WTO website under WTO Customs Valuation.

(Last updated on 2013-04-24)

General import license/permit requirements

Kerosene, gasoline, fuel oil, asphalt, butane and propane gas, jute and cloth sacks, molasses and sugar require a license from the Ministry of Economy.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock must authorize certain food and animal products, including basic grains, dairy products and vegetables.
The Ministry of Public Health certifies that imported goods meet local health and sanitary regulations.

The Ministry of Defense authorizes imports of firearms.
The The Ministry of Finance and local authorities authorize gambling and gaming machines.
The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare must authorize imports of controlled substances that may be imported only for medical use under a doctor's prescription.
Quota restrictionss are in place for imports of pork and rice.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Prohibited or highly restricted imports

Prohibited items include: certain firearms; articles (items), publications, movies, etc. which are immoral or obscene or pose a threat to the political, social, or economic order; opium with less than 9% morphine, scraps and opium ash, and any material used for smoking those products; non-stamped paper for cigarettes; counterfeit coins or bills, or machines for making these; certain silver coins; tokens that can be used as substitutes for legal coins; coffee trees; coffee seeds for planting; certain used vehicles; pet food and animal feed containing ruminant origin proteins.

This country prohibits imports of hazardous waste as per the Basel Convention. For additional information see: Basel Convention (select country for details).

Note: Certain items require prior authorization (see section under import license/permits). Some items may be imported only by the government (military ships and airplanes, stamped cigarette papers, potassium nitrate, nickel for coins, stamps).

(Last updated on 2015-03-31)

Official customs/import information

Rules of origin are important in implementing such trade policy instruments as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, origin marking, and safeguard measures. Follow rules issued by WTO.

Check Member and Observer countries of World Trade Organization, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne, 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland; phone: +41 22 739 5111; fax: +41 22 731 4206; email:

(Last updated on 2015-04-02)

Foreign exchange controls and letters of credit

Foreign currency exchange is controlled by the Government through the central bank, the Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador [Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador], Alameda Juan Pablo II, between 15 and 17 Ave. Norte, POB 106. San Salvador; phone: +503 2281 8000; fax: +503 2281 8011; email:

It administers foreign exchange control through authorized commercial banks and currency dealers. Most payments are transacted by Letter of Credit. Foreign currency exchange controls are being eliminated.

The unit of currency is the USD = United States Dollar [$] (subdivided into 100 cents). It is now the official currency.

The El Salvadoran Colón (SVC) was the currency until it was substituted by the US Dollar (USD) in 2001. Officially the SVC has not ceased to be legal tender. The El Salvadoran Colón (SVC) is pegged to the US Dollar (USD 1.00 = SVC 8.75).

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is required for most commercial shipments and it must be in Spanish.

At least three (3) original, signed and certified copies should be included in the shipping documents sent forward to the consignee or the agent thereof. The invoice should begin with the date and should include:

Following the above, there should be a declaration, signed by the shipper or the agent thereof, stating that all costs and expenses are correct. Original signatures in ink are required on all copies.

If no insurance has been arranged, the reason for this must be stated on the commercial invoice.

For goods listed as "free of charge" a "nominal price" should be included in the CIF value for customs purposes.

For airfreight shipments, in most cases, the shipping documents should accompany the cargo/air waybill (AWB). For rail shipments, an additional three copies are needed. For non-commercial shipments require a pro-forma invoice. Commercial invoices are not necessary for non-commercial shipments valued at less than USD 100.00 FOB, when sent by parcel post or air cargo or samples brought in by accompanying personnel.

(Last updated on 2014-12-27)

Packing list

A packing list is recommended to facilitate customs clearance.

In general, even when it is not required regulation, it is recommended that a packing list be used with all shipments containing more than one shipping unit of packaged cargo. Most countries require a packing list be provided together with the commercial invoice. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.

At least three (3) copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers.

(Last updated on 2015-05-19)

Transport document

A properly prepared transport document is required for transportation purposes and as a source document for Customs clearance.

For ocean cargo, an ocean bill of lading is typically used. It may take several forms (a traditional negotiable bill of lading, a straight bill of lading, and express bill of lading, or an electronic bill of lading (EBL)).

An ocean bill of lading issued to order may be negotiated by endorsement to a buyer/consignee, however the designated port of discharge cannot be amended.

The consignee, a bank or the terms of a letter of credit may require consular legalization.

Note: For detailed information on completing a bill of lading see interactive bill of lading exhibit. (Scroll down to see the form, and click on any field for details on the information that goes in that box.)

For air cargo, an airwaybill (AWB) replaces the bill of lading used for ocean freight. For airwaybills, nine (9) copies on a standard IATA form are required.

(Last updated on 2015-05-11)

Certificate of Origin (general)

A C/O is needed for pesticides and for goods subject to preferential treatment or when requested by the buyer/consignee or required by the covering letter of credit.

Prepare the C/O in three (3) copies using the general certificate of origin (CO, C/O) form available from a commercial printer or stationer.
The C/O must be signed, notarized and then certified by a recognized Chamber of Commerce.

A CAFTA Certificate of Origin form is recommended when preferential treatment is being claimed under CAFTA-DR.

(Last updated on 2014-11-11)

Official cargo insurance requirements

The exporter should insure the shipment and provide an insurance certificate or other evidence of insurance coverages.
If no insurance is provided, the reason should be included on the commercial invoice.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Other general import document requirements

Certain products, including: meat, meat products, dairy products, lard, cod liver oil, wheat and rye flour, opium, and fertilizers require a certificate of analysis.

A phytosanitary certificate or health certificate is required for certain products.

(Last updated on 2013-01-01)

Wood packing materials

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) has not yet been adopted by this country.

See information issued by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Plant Protection Service, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy; fax: +39 6 570 56347; email:

Contact: Sanidad Vegetal y Animal (Plant and Animal Health), at end of Ave. Norte and 13 Calle Oriente, Ave. Manuel Gallardo, Santa Tecla, La Libertad; phone: +503 2202 0835, +503 2210 1747; fax: +503 2534 9911, +503 2534 9837; email:

General Information:

For a listing of countries that have adopted ISPM-15 requirements see:

For IPPC contact information by country see: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and select "Countries".

(Last updated on 2015-04-30)

Shipment packaging and marking requirements

Packages consigned to El Salvador routed via Puerto Barrios or Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, should be marked: "Puerto Barrios In Transit to El Salvador" or "Santo Tomas de Castilla In Transit to El Salvador".

Goods with different duty rates shipped in the same container should be wrapped separately inside the container.

Recommendation: for marks use at least three digits, for numbers at least four digits. This recommendation should also be followed if there is only one package in the shipment (identification assistance and pilferage prevention).

Optionally, each package should be marked with:

Dangerous Goods require the use of U.N. Performance Oriented Packaging (UN POP).

(Last updated on 2013-08-20)

Product packaging/labeling requirements

Product-specific packaging and labeling requirements may apply to food products.

Labels should be in Spanish. Labels should include price and weight, volume or measure. Stick-on labels are not permitted.

Products for retail sale must have the price on the packaging or in a visible place.

Products to be sold in El Salvador require the following information to appear on the label:

There are special labeling requirements for pharmaceuticals, textiles, lighting, mouthwash, poison, fertilizers, insecticides, alcoholic beverages, frozen foods and canned foods, and tobacco.

Additional product packaging and/or labeling requirements may apply to particular types of products. Refer to the product-based information herein for the product you are considering to import or export. An exporter should also verify with its prospective importer in the destination country as to requirements for a specific product to be shipped.

(Last updated on 2014-01-09)


Product standards are regulated by the El Salvador Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) [National Council of Science and Technology], 1, Calle Poniente y Final 41 Ave. Norte, 18. Col Flor Blanca, SV-San Salvador; phone: +503 2247 5321; fax: +503 2225 6255; email:

Also see ISO Standards Correspondent Membership.

(Last updated on 2014-01-07)

ATA carnets

The ATA Carnet currently is not accepted in this country.

An ATA Carnet is obtained in the country from which the goods are to be first exported (see list of participating countries). Initiating and governing authority for ATA Carnets is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 38, Cours Albert 1er, F-75008 Paris, France; phone: +33 149 532828; fax: +33 149 532859

Note: An ATA Carnet is typically accepted for Commercial Samples, Exhibitions and Fairs, and/or Professional Equipment. An ATA Carnet does not cover perishable or consumable items, nor goods for processing or repair. Some countries are more restrictive in the scope of allowances for temporary imports covered by ATA Carnet. It is recommended that prior verification be made with the issuing agency.

(Last updated on 2014-12-29)

Important: Exercise independent care before relying on information contained herein. Although we strive to ensure all information is correct and current, GISTnet assumes no liability for detrimental reliance on this information. Trade requirements may change with little or no prior notification, de-facto requirements in certain countries vary from official regulations, and particular shipments and/or importers may have special destination customs arrangements. We encourage you to check with the importer or its customs agent in the destination country for specific importation requirements for specific products and circumstances. We ask your help with feedback ( concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.