The admission of firearms and ammunition in to the territory of Costa Rica are subject to restrictions and import permits approved by the government of Costa Rica.
Applications to import non-military weapons to Costa Rica must be filed by or through a licensed importer, authorized dealer, or a particular person. (This is statement is not clear… what defines a “particular person”?)
NO weapon of war is permitted in Costa Rica; therefore any war weapon in hands of a non-authorized individual is ILLEGAL in Costa Rica by definition.
Firearm permits are issued by the Ministry of Public Security (Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública).
The process to issue these permits can take up to two (2) months (possibly longer) once all the requested documentation is presented.
The embassies state “If you want to bring a handgun, revolver, or pistol in to Costa Rica, you must follow the required procedure:”
1. Inform the airline that you are traveling with a weapon. More specifically, the weapon must be placed in your (checked) luggage in an approved container, either hard shell or soft shell. Ammunition must be placed in a separate approved container but can be taken on the same flight. You must fill out paperwork beforehand, normally at the airport. Check with the individual airline for their policies on this.
2. Once your gun arrives in Costa Rica, the weapon will remain at the Customs office until you have registered the weapon at the Ministry of Public Security (Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública) in the Department of Firearms and Ammunitions.
There, you must provide the following documents:
* Official Registration of the firearm with the corresponding authorities of your State of residence (Secretary of State and or Police Department). This document must be duly certified by the Costa Rican consulate. You must send or take these records to a Costa Rican consulate in your home country and have the certification done there. This is normally about $45.00 per document.
* Police record from the Police precinct where you have legally reside for the last six (6) months. This document must be no older than six (6) months, and must be duly certified by the Costa Rican consulate, please follow the authentication procedure above for that record also.
* Weapon Entrance Proof of Receipt issued by the Customs/Airport authorities in Costa Rica.
* The results of your psychological test, taken in Costa Rica, that evaluates your personality traits.
Once you obtain the required permit, take it to the Customs Office and your weapon will be released.
Note: In order to carry a gun, you must have a carry permit and that is only issued to legal residents of Costa Rica.
NOTE! If you are caught traveling with a weapon without the appropriate permits and registrations in Costa Rica, your weapon will be confiscated and you will be fined, arrested or deported. They do not fool around with this stuff here. If you are a non-resident, expect to get the boot! If a resident, expect serious problems.