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Trading Across Borders in Central America and the Dominican Republic 2015

This topic looks at the procedural requirements for exporting and importing a standardized cargo of goods. Documents associated with every official procedure are counted—from the contractual agreement between the 2 parties to the delivery of goods—along with the time necessary for completion.

The information appearing on this page was collected as part of the Doing Business subnational project in Central America and the Dominican Republic 2015, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small to medium-sized domestic business in cities and regions.

Click on city name to see details:
Puerto Limón (Costa Rica) | Puerto de Acajutla (El Salvador) | Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla (Guatemala) | Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala) | Puerto Castilla (Honduras) | Puerto Cortés (Honduras) | Puerto Corinto (Nicaragua) | Puerto Caucedo (República Dominicana) | Puerto Plata (República Dominicana) | Puerto Manzanillo (Panamá)

Puerto Limón (Costa Rica)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 7 245
Customs clearance and technical control 2 105
Ports and terminal handling 3 220
Inland transportation and handling 2 450
Total 14 1,020
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 7 215
Customs clearance and technical control 2 155
Ports and terminal handling 3 250
Inland transportation and handling 2 450
Total 14 1,070
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Technical standard certificate
Terminal handling receipts
Import documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto de Acajutla (El Salvador)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 4 380
Customs clearance and technical control 3 120
Ports and terminal handling 3 145
Inland transportation and handling 3 400
Total 13 1,045
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 3 370
Customs clearance and technical control 2 120
Ports and terminal handling 3 145
Inland transportation and handling 2 400
Total 10 1,035
Export documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial Invoice
Customs export declaration
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts
Import documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla (Guatemala)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 10 225
Customs clearance and technical control 2 175
Ports and terminal handling 2 205
Inland transportation and handling 3 750
Total 17 1,355
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 9 290
Customs clearance and technical control 2 200
Ports and terminal handling 3 205
Inland transportation and handling 2 750
Total 16 1,445
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Export license
Inspection report
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts
Import documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 10 225
Customs clearance and technical control 2 175
Ports and terminal handling 2 177
Inland transportation and handling 2 400
Total 16 977
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 9 290
Customs clearance and technical control 3 230
Ports and terminal handling 3 195
Inland transportation and handling 1 400
Total 16 1,115
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Export license
Inspection report
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts
Import documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Technical standard/health certificate
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Castilla (Honduras)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 8 260
Customs clearance and technical control 2 150
Ports and terminal handling 1 98
Inland transportation and handling 2 1800
Total 13 2,308
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 8 255
Customs clearance and technical control 3 200
Ports and terminal handling 1 104
Inland transportation and handling 3 1800
Total 15 2,359
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Foreign exchange authorization
Packing list
Import documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Cortés (Honduras)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 8 260
Customs clearance and technical control 2 155
Ports and terminal handling 1 135
Inland transportation and handling 1 900
Total 12 1,450
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 8 255
Customs clearance and technical control 4 215
Ports and terminal handling 2 260
Inland transportation and handling 2 900
Total 16 1,630
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Foreign exchange authorization
Packing list
Import documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Packing list
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Corinto (Nicaragua)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 10 310
Customs clearance and technical control 3 110
Ports and terminal handling 3 120
Inland transportation and handling 5 600
Total 21 1,140
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 11 325
Customs clearance and technical control 4 200
Ports and terminal handling 3 120
Inland transportation and handling 2 600
Total 20 1,245
Export documents
Bill of lading
Certificate of origin
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Quality certificate
Import documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Fiscal solvency
Packing list

Puerto Caucedo (República Dominicana)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 3 215
Customs clearance and technical control 2 200
Ports and terminal handling 1 325
Inland transportation and handling 2 300
Total 8 1,040
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 5 235
Customs clearance and technical control 2 200
Ports and terminal handling 2 410
Inland transportation and handling 1 300
Total 10 1,145
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Pre-shipment inspection clean report of findings
Import documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Plata (República Dominicana)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 3 215
Customs clearance and technical control 2 212
Ports and terminal handling 1 311
Inland transportation and handling 2 375
Total 8 1,113
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 5 235
Customs clearance and technical control 3 212
Ports and terminal handling 2 318
Inland transportation and handling 1 375
Total 11 1,140
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Pre-shipment inspection clean report of findings
Import documents
Bill of lading
Cargo release order
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration
Terminal handling receipts

Puerto Manzanillo (Panamá)
Nature of Export Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 5 160
Customs clearance and technical control 1 50
Ports and terminal handling 1 65
Inland transportation and handling 3 390
Total 10 665
Nature of Import Procedures Duration (days) Cost (US$)
Documents preparation 6 150
Customs clearance and technical control 1 225
Ports and terminal handling 1 265
Inland transportation and handling 1 390
Total 9 1,030
Export documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs export declaration
Import documents
Bill of lading
Commercial invoice
Customs import declaration