When you’re flying to Costa Rica, you can now leave your pen in your bag.
As of mid-2019, Costa Rica’s Customs Administration no longer requires the majority of international travelers to complete a customs declaration form when entering the country.
Travelers who do have items to declare (e.g. agriculture, live animals, chemical agents, or goods that exceed the personal allowance) will still need to complete the form before clearing customs.
However, the change means a more straightforward arrival into Costa Rica for most people.
After landing at either of Costa Rica’s two major airports, international passengers still clear immigration, collect their checked bags, and must pass all luggage through an x-ray scanner at customs. But that’s entirely a paperless process as of July 2019.
Previously, every passenger had to complete an immigration form, and each family had to fill out a customs form. The documents asked for demographic information and included questions confirming how long the travelers had been out of the country, whether they were transporting more than $10,000, and if they were carrying plants or animals.
The changes will help shorten lines and allow customs officials to focus on inspecting declared goods.
“The elimination of this declaration was made thinking, mainly, of Costa Rican travelers and tourists who usually must make long lines to present their declaration to customs, even if they do not bring with them any additional merchandise beyond their luggage,” said Juan Carlos Gómez, General Director of Customs, according to La Nación.
For more information about flying through Juan Santamaría International Airport, check out Costa Rica 101.