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Ecuador Shipping and Customs FAQs with Ana Herington

Embarking on the adventure of relocating to Ecuador comes with its set of challenges, particularly in the realm of shipping and customs. In this interview, we delve into the intricacies of this process with Ana Herington, an attorney and certified customs agent for numerous clients, including Ecuador Moves. 

This detailed conversation covered many topics. From household goods to shopping with couriers and recent law changes on what you can bring in as personal effects, Ana drops a lot of value bombs. So much so, that we consider this video essential viewing for anyone thinking about shipping or sending goods into Ecuador.

We hope you enjoy it!

Shipping Household Goods

Documentation Requirements

To initiate a household goods shipment, specific documentation is essential – particularly information of the receiver in Ecuador. Ana sheds light on the necessary paperwork, emphasizing the need for accuracy and completeness.

You’ll need detailed packing lists & guidance from an experienced shipper. Transparent and detailed documentation not only aids in the customs clearance process but also serves as a crucial record for the expat throughout their relocation journey.

The underlying message is clear: meticulous attention to paperwork is an investment in a smoother, stress-free relocation

Fees and Fines

Understanding fees and potential fines is a vital aspect of shipping household goods. Ana breaks down the most common pitfalls that can catch expats out and highlights a recent, welcome change to how Ecuador customs treats packing list issues.

Personal Effects and Air Travel

Ana urges future ex-pats to explore the aduana.gob.ec website meticulously. Here, a comprehensive list of allowed personal effects can be found. However, as of the date of writing, the list has not been updated with the latest changes. For example, a 60” TV is now allowed (before it was 32”) and vitamins/supplement allowance has doubled from 4kg to 8kg. Hopefully, Sanae will update their website soon to reflect these too. 

Ana highlights the dynamic nature of these regulations, underlining the need for expats to stay abreast of the latest updates. This section serves not only as an informative guide but also as a practical tool, enabling expats to make well-informed decisions about what personal effects to bring and ensuring compliance with Ecuadorian customs regulations.

Muling and Risks

The term “muling” comes into focus as Ana explains the practice of individuals frequently traveling and acting as couriers for others. Ana takes a deep dive into the associated risks, providing a comprehensive overview of potential consequences, including the ominous risks of confiscation, fines, and legal entanglements. This section serves as a stark cautionary tale, offering a realistic portrayal of the precarious nature of muling.

Customs Monitoring Social Media

One of the lesser-known risks of muling is customs officers monitoring popular muling forums. Ana discloses that customs and government officials actively monitor social media, with a particular focus on platforms like Facebook. Ana underscores the potential consequences of such posts, highlighting the increased scrutiny and legal ramifications that may follow.

Courier Services and Exceptions

Expanding on alternative options, Ana provides a detailed exploration of using courier services like DHL, UPS, or FedEx in response to potential airline restrictions. Conditions for leveraging this option are carefully laid out, including a 20-day window for items to arrive and specific labeling as unaccompanied personal effects. Ana emphasizes the exclusivity of this exception, shedding light on an alternative shipping method that is not widely known and not officially published.

Tips for Dealing with Customs

Ana underscores the importance of consulting licensed customs agents, individuals who are immersed in the day-to-day nuances of customs laws. Caution against misinformation, especially from couriers or airlines, is reiterated, emphasizing the need for independent verification.

Overall Perspective on Customs

Acknowledging the initial complexities that may perplex expats, Ana reassures them of the importance of understanding and adhering to regulations. The emphasis on going to the source for accurate information resonates throughout, with Ana advocating for seeking help from certified customs agents who bring a wealth of expertise to the table.

The journey through Ecuadorian customs may seem intricate, but with Ana’s guidance, expats are equipped to navigate the terrain successfully, ensuring a smoother transition into their new life in Ecuador. 

Even though this was a 52-minute interview, there is still a lot of detail to cover on certain topics like household goods shipping which we will cover in a follow-up video. Stay tuned!

Contact Ana

Contact Ecuador Moves

Official customs website

YapaTree Properties

View full video transcript

4 Responses

  1. Exceptional article! Thank you so much Jason and Ana!!! What a wealth of information at the perfect time for us. We have just started our visa process while here in Cuenca. We plan to move here full time in April 2024!

    1. Thanks Sue! Great to see you’re getting value from the article and video.

      As a Cuenca newcomer, feel free to let us know if there are any topics you’d like to see more information on (doesn’t need to be related to shipping).

  2. I have a question. I ordered sugar-free BBQ sauce and sugar-free syrups from Tiendamia about 2 months ago. When I went to place a reorder, the pages are showing these items are not allowed to be imported into your country.

    What happened? What are the options since these are not available here?

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