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By No owner — last modified Dec 12, 2014 02:31 PM

 El Salvador - Formalities

Clearance

Contact should be maintained with the Salvadorean Navy on Channel 16, who will advise on the correct procedure.

Request an international zarpe before departing El Salvador for your next country of visit. If you plan to cruise within El Salvadoran waters, request a national zarpe.

Fees for Clearance into El Salvador were changed in March 2010 but then not enforced due to opposition by the tourist industry (see news report here).

Visiting yachts now pay a minimal charge of $30 for the first 30 days and $30 for each subsequient 30 day period.

See Fees below, for further details.

All visiting "tourist boats" are given a 60 day vessel permit by Customs on arrival (temporary import), as long as the skipper/owner has a valid immigration visa. See Customs below for more details.

For an updated guide to cruising this part of South America, including Clearance into El Salvador, see Sarana's Guidebook.

Last updated November 2016.

Immigration

Passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months on entry.

A length of stay of 90 days is normally granted on arrival. You can obtain a 30-day extension by applying at the immigration office in San Salvador and paying $25. When the extension expires you have to leave the four-country (CA-4) area.

Be aware that you can only apply for a visa extension +/- 7 days either side of expiry date only and you must provide a seperate original passport sized photo. You will also be fingerprinted.

No prior visa is required by nationals of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.

All other nationalities require a visa which must be purchased on entry.

This new CA-4 visa can be used in the following countries:- Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The length of stay (normally 90 days) applies to the whole group and only one extension of 30 days will usually be granted. To remain in the region longer, a visit to a country outside the CA-4 area must be made and a new visa will be issued on re-entry.

Last updated November 2016.

Immigration Department
Centro de Gobierno , San Salvador
Tel:(503) 2221 2111
Apply here for the extension to the initial 90 days.

Customs

The Customs Office will grant a 60 day permit for tourist boats, regardless of the 90 day permits that Immigration and the Maritime Port Authority grant. If you wish to stay longer than 60 days, you should inform Customs on arrival and they may give you an extension up to 90 days. This is however not automatic.

Permits can however be extended (renewed) once the immigration visa has been extended. This is done by leaving the country and flying back in (note, it is important you leave all of the 4 countries of CA-4). For further renewal details see report Renewal of 90 Day Visa.

The following phone number belongs to the Customer Service Desk in the Customs Office, where you can make an appointment and let them know that you are coming to renew your permit. They speak English and are happy to answer questions. The phone number is: (503) 2244 5041. Be sure to contact them before the 60 days have expired.

It is recommended to check in advance about customs duty for foreign flagged boats, and do not assume anything when dealing with El Salvador officials. The laws change frequently in Latin America.

An authorisation for firearms must be obtained from the Ministry of Defence.

Fruit is inspected and may be destroyed. Leather products may be subject to disinfection.

Last updated November 2016.

Customs Office
Tel:(503) 2244 5041
Contact this office to extend the 60 day boat permit. They speak English.

Health

There is a risk of malaria and dengue fever. Rabies is a serious risk, mainly transmitted by dogs and bats.

Cases of chikungunya virus have been confirmed in El Salvador.

If medical treatment is required, private facilities rather than state hospitals is a preferable option.

ZIKA VIRUS ALERT: (September 2016) There have been recent safety alerts from the US State Department, UK Foreign Office, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding travel to parts of Central and South America, Africa, southern Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific islands. El Salvador is an area of interest with multiple reported cases and active virus transmission. There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the ZIKA Virus and the impact of the virus on pregnant women and babies. ZIKA is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and there is currently no cure or vaccine. This situation is evolving rapidly, so please refer to the CDC’s dedicated website if you are intending to cruise in one of the effected areas.

Fees

Pre-March 2010, the only fee for clearing into or out of El Salvador was US$10 per person, payable to immigration on entering.

Now, Port permits are $1/day, available in 30-day increments up to 90 days. This means a minimum of $30 must be paid on arrival - no matter if you stay 10 days or 30 days. The permit has unlimited renewals and the port officials are reported to be accommodating if you will be away from your boat for over 90 days.

Immigration fees are $10 per person for 90 days and $25 for a 90 day extension.

An International Exit Zarpe costs $40.

Overtime is charged for clearance outside working hours (1200-1400, 1800-0800 weekdays, 1200 Saturday to 0800 Monday, and national holidays).

If leaving by air, you will pay an exit tax of about $28 in cash. There is an ATM at the airport.

Last updated January 2012.

Restrictions

Literature that may be regarded as subversive may be confiscated or refused entry.

Military style clothing is also confiscated.

Pets

Pets require an Import Permit from Animal Quarantine Department at San Salvador. Veterinarian must complete El Salvador Certificate stating pet is healthy, free of parastes and free of diseases communicable to humans.

Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, parovirus, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parainfluenza not less than 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to travel.

Cats must be vaccinated against panleucopenia not less than 30 days and not more than 6 months prior to travel.

Send Certificates to El Salvador Consulate for validation.

Pets leaving El Salvador by plane need to be certified by a veterinarian.

All animal products except sealed, sterilised meat products are prohibited.
Animal products from the USA, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Jamaica and Mexico are also exempt.

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