Shipping Personal Items to Nicaragua
by Ross Campbell
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (Photo Credit: Nica Life Realty Century 21, San Juan Del Sur)
Nicaragua has beautiful weather, a great agenda for entertainment both indoors and outdoors and numerous areas where foreign retirees and expats can find affordable housing with plenty of socialization with others.
When you’re moving to Nicaragua, even if it is just for a short period, you may want to have your personal items and/or your vehicle with you. I’d like to help you choose the best way to get your items safely to their destination.
Do some research beforehand to make the transaction as smooth as possible. Check with the Nicaraguan Embassy for visa requirements and other beneficial information on crime statistics, local laws and other information about the area you plan to visit.
RetirePedia.com, the website you’re on right now, also has great information about Nicaragua.
Shipping Companies Can Help Move Personal Items
There are regulations that not only do you have to adhere too, but these companies too. Knowing this information will allow you to know what you can send with the company when the time comes.
You do have to be present to have customs clearance for the products which you ship. You will be billed directly for any extra charges that might incur if you’re not there to receive the items, as well as duties and taxes that are charged on the household good and personal effects you’re bringing.
All products shipped to Nicaragua are subject to inspection. Household goods cannot exceed $20,000 USD, and the vehicle being shipped cannot be valued over $25,000 USD.
Provide the shipping company with a list that contains every item located in the container. All items will be checked and cleared once they’ve arrived at the destination.
You’ll have to pay all fees, taxes and surcharges in full during the time of shipment. The shipping company will handle this for you.
List of Prohibited Items
Like most countries, Nicaragua prohibits certain items from entry...
• Illegal drugs of any kind
• Explosives, ammunition or assault weapons
• Chemicals of any kind
• Any pornographic materials
The following items are allowed in limited quantity…
• Personal hunting firearms (these items require a license)
• Alcohol, tobacco and food (require special permits if you have large amounts)
Pack and declare these items separately from your other, unrestricted items.
Motor Vehicle Requirements
You can import new and used vehicles up to 10 years old. Vehicles that are over 10 years old can’t be imported unless you plan on donating the vehicle to one of the many Nicaraguan government offices.
The amount you pay varies depending on the year, make, model, size and extra accessories. All vehicles are subject to heavy taxes, so keep this in mind during shipping.
The documents for the vehicle must have all the information about the vehicle on them, providing in depth information for the customs to consider.
This is the paperwork you need to ship the vehicle:
• certificate of origin (the Free Trade Act (FTA) requires proof that the vehicle comes from the country stated on the paperwork),
• purchase invoice and
• bill of landing.
The documents must be originals.
You may find that it is more affordable to sell a used car or place one in storage before heading to Nicaragua; importing a car can be very expensive due to the taxes.
New cars have rather high taxes as well, but they tend to be worth the import fees, especially if the car has a high value or is one that will maintain resell value well.
Driving Yourself to Nicaragua
We don’t recommend driving yourself to Nicaragua. It’s dangerous, it takes more time and can even cost you more.
There have been quite a few reports of hijacks, kidnapping for money and robberies happening to those that decide to drive themselves from the U.S. to Nicaragua.
Save yourself the trouble and find a shipping company that can handle not only your personal belongings, but also your vehicle while you fly to the destination.
Both you and your belongings will arrive safe and sound, without having to worry about crime or accidents along the way.
Ross is a wanderlust at heart who has been to many countries around the world and doesn't plan to ever stop traveling. He first came to Nicaragua in 2005 and decided to move here recently. His company A-1 Auto Transport keeps him busy. In his free time he likes to surf and relax in the sun.