Importing Household Goods - Shipment of Household Goods
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
If you are moving to Bolivia and you plan to import your household goods, there are several very important things you need to know. We contacted ADUANAS (the national customs office) in Santa Cruz Bolivia (Phone: 591-3-349-2923) and spoke with agents to get you the information you need. Here's what we were told:
a) If you plan to reside in Bolivia you MUST arrive to Bolivia with a Visa de Objeto Determinado (which we've explained here and also discussed in our Bolivia Visa Requirements page here.)
This travel visa allows you to enter Bolivia specifically for the purpose of requesting residency. This is why in English the "visa de objeto determinado" is called a "specific purpose visa". If you arrive on a tourist visa, you will not be able to request residency in Bolivia.
b) If you import USED household goods and you arrived on the correct visa (the specific purpose visa), you will NOT pay import duties (called "aranceles" in Spanish) on your USED goods. However:
c) If you import any NEW household items you WILL pay between 10% and 15% import duties on those goods. To this end, you MUST bring with you the invoices of these items to show how much you paid for them.
d) If you arrived on a TOURIST visa (many people mistakenly do this) you WILL pay import duties on ALL of your household goods, whether they are used or new.
e) When you arrive, you must seek out a DESPACHANTE DE ADUANA (this is a customs clearance agency) to do the paperwork for getting your stuff out of customs. The customs agency will require documentation from you in order to do this. The documentation you must bring with you is:
- Detailed packing list (lista de empaque) - it must include EVERY single item in your container. Anything not on this list may be considered contraband.
- Bill of lading (flete marítimo) - this document contains all the information about the container in which your goods will be arriving, as well as all the information about the ship it is/was on.
- Invoices for all new/unused items you import.
With help from the "despachante de aduana" you will sign a sworn statement which basically declares that the belongings are yours, that you are importing them for your own use, and that you have no intention of reselling them, etc.
This information was provided to us by Mr. Majim Gutierrez, the agent we spoke with at the Customs Office in Santa Cruz Bolivia.
Click here for information on Importing Vehicles