How to Ship Your Household Goods to Panama
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Do you want to move to Panama and want to take your household goods with you? Good news, domestic goods can be imported duty free. But first of all, what are household goods, according to the Panama Customs authorities? The term household goods can refer to the bed, the washing machine, the dryer, the dishes, the dining room table, the sofa, overall the furniture and accessories of the home. The goods must be used and be seen used. Construction equipment, commercial tools/equipment, motorcycles, trailers, new items and other non-domestic goods will be taxed.
Do you want to move to Panama and want to take your household goods with you? The good news, domestic goods can be imported duty-free. But first of all, what are can refer to the bed, the washing machine, the dryer, the dishes, the dining room table, the sofa, overall the furniture and accessories of the home. The goods must be used and be seen used. Construction equipment, commercial tools/equipment, motorcycles, trailers, new items, and other non-domestic goods will be taxed.
What documents do I need?
For the process of importing your household goods you need your passport, your Panama migration ID card (carné de migración), copy of the Bill of Lading and a packing list. This means a detailed list of the articles of domestic or personal use that you wish to introduce to the country (in English or Spanish) must be presented prior to the date of arrival of the shipment. Additionally, invoices for newly purchased household goods or non-domestic goods are required, if applicable.
What is the procedure to import my household goods to Panama?
Importing your household goods to Panama can be a headache for many, but it can be done efficiently, as long as you choose a reliable and experienced international moving company and a reputable customs broker. In general, the process takes between 5 and 10 working days in order to liquidate the household goods. Additional charges may apply for equipment holds, container usage (depending on the shipping company), or deposit and storage at the customs authority's facilities depending on the duration for customs clearance.
When the container with your goods arrives in Panama, you must be in the country. All shipments will be personally inspected at the port of entry. We suggest that you pay for the revision in residence due to the congestion of shipments in the fiscal precinct. This in-residence inspection has an additional cost.
All shipments entering Panama by sea, land, or air are fumigated at the port and/or airport of entry. Fumigation is a pest control treatment. This procedure may cause a delay in the delivery of the shipment.
How much do I have to pay?
The final cost of importing your household goods depends on what is in the container (household goods, tools, machinery, valuables, etc.). Non-domestic goods will usually be taxed at about 20% of the resale value.
Get different offers from moving companies and compare prices and services included. Some have paid much more than they were originally quoted, due to unexpected additional fees. Get a price with door-to-door delivery and make sure there are no extra charges.
Should I bring my car to Panama?
According to our professional experience it is generally not cheaper to bring your car to Panama. The process of customs clearance and vehicle registration in Panama is long, and there are likely to be delays. The import taxes on your car are approximately 27 to 30 percent of the CIF value. In fact, you will probably be able to buy a car in Panama at a lower price and with less hassle.
Are there any goods that cannot be imported?
There are some items that can only be imported if they are in limited quantities, have the appropriate additional documentation and the shipper has paid all required duties and taxes. Among them are food, alcoholic beverages, jewelry and coins (gold bullions), leather goods and living plants (it is not advisable to include plants in any shipment). There are also prohibited items like ammunition, firearms, drugs, and narcotics.
All shipments of household goods that bring in wood furniture or any other wood items are subject to a Quarantine Import Permit that must be applied for before the shipment reaches Panama. Restrictions also apply to the use of wooden packing materials such as barrels, crates, lift-vans, and pallets. The wood must be treated and sealed. Any wood packaging that is not properly marked may cause extra charges and delays.
Instead of shipping your complete household, you can also consider sending only some boxes with certain items that are important to you. You can even check the possibility of bringing extra luggage on the plane. Keep in mind that many rentals and properties for sale in Panama come fully furnished. So before making a decision, find out what is available in Panama and what the costs are. This will help you decide what to bring with you and what to buy new in Panama.