Outline of the system
As a general rule, the importation of products does not require import licences; however, there are some products that require permits, authorizations, certificates and/or approval for importation, for reasons of public safety, animal or plant health, or environmental protection.
El Salvador has the Import and Export Processing Centre (CIEX El Salvador) of the Central Reserve Bank, Import Section, which is the body responsible for centralizing, streamlining and simplifying import and export procedures.
Interested parties can contact the Centre by email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or telephone: (+503) 2281 8000. Some import procedures are available online at: https://www.ciexelsalvador.gob.sv/ciexelsalvador/.
A process to improve governance is under way to reduce response times for products requiring import authorization, provided the required documentation is complete and submitted in advance of importation.
The Ministry of Defence shall issue the special permit for the importation of firearms and ammunition. The importer must obtain this permit prior to the entry of such articles into the national territory.
Arms and ammunition
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The purpose of these licences is to control and regulate the use, manufacture, import, export and marketing of firearms, ammunition, explosives, accessories and similar items, in order to protect the lives, personal integrity and property of citizens.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The system applies to products originating from which country?
It applies to all countries, irrespective of the origin of the products.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
This type of product is governed by the Law on the control and regulation of arms, ammunition, explosives and similar items. Annex III (a).Anexo 3 (a) Ley de Control y Regulación de Armas, Municiones, Explosivos y Artículos Similares.pdf
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
All persons/importers have the right to apply for import authorizations, whether natural and legal persons, including foreign nationals with a residence permit.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
What information is required in applications?
Application with the applicant's details and area of activity according to the format given in Annex III (b). Information on the importer and the product to be imported is required. For each section by product, the application form is attached.Anexo 3 (b) SOLICITUD PERMISO ESPECIAL DE IMPORTACIÓN ARMAS Y MUNICIONES.pdf
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
The documents required are described in detail for each product in the section entitled "Documentational and other requirements for application for a licence", such as the certificate of free sale or other official document containing the same information, etc.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Prior to importation, so that when the product enters the country, it already has the import licence (permit).
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
There are no limitations on the date of submission of an application.
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Generally speaking, import permits are granted promptly, provided all documentation is complete.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Import licences (permits) are generally issued in an expeditious and timely manner. Work is currently under way on a government improvement process to reduce response times, provided that the required documentation is completed prior to importation.
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
The special permit application to import and market firearms and ammunition is to be submitted to the Logistics Directorate of the Ministry of Defence.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
No, these products are not subject to quantitative restrictions.
There are no other conditions.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
The special permit to import arms and ammunitions is issued subject to the payment of a fee of USD 1,434.86.
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Authorization is refused only when the established legal requirements are not met.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
Applicants are informed in writing.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
Appeals for review may be filed before the same institution from which the import licence or permit was requested.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
In El Salvador, the Law on Administrative Procedures regulates the administrative review procedure for settling disputes when authorization is refused.
Once administrative remedies have been exhausted, there is also the option of filing a claim before the administrative tribunals, which have jurisdiction to verify the legality of and settle any administrative disputes that might arise between the public administration and individuals.
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
A copy of the Salvadoran national identity card (DUI), tax identification number (NIT) and credentials of the legal representative, and the import permit.
- Criminal and police records of the company's legal representative and board members;
- The company's articles of association, NIT, value added tax (VAT) identification number and business registration number;
- A sworn statement before a notary public that the information is true;
- List of arms and ammunition to be imported/marketed (first time);
- A sketch of the company's location;
- If the importer cannot complete the formalities, an authorized representative may do so upon presentation of the special or administrative power of attorney with a special clause, and certified DUI and NIT.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
It is generally 30 days. The validity of licences cannot be extended, they must be requested again. Consideration will be given to special cases where the goods are in transit and there has been some delay.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
No penalty is imposed for the non-utilization of import licences or permits.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Import licences or permits are non-transferable, as they specify the particulars of the importer and the specific product/quantities to be imported.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
The legal currency in circulation in El Salvador is the United States dollar and the exchange rate is set by the Central Reserve Bank and has been fixed since 2001.