Whether you or moving permanently to Mexico, leaving your pets behind is often not an option—particularly if you are going to be away for a long period of time. Luckily, with a little effort, you can bring your four-legged family member along with you. Whether you are flying, driving or sailing to Mexico with your pet, here are the procedures to follow.
Things to know
It is crucial to have your papers when entering Mexico. These need to be presented at the SAGARPA (Mexican Agriculture Department) at international airports, land crossings and international seaports.
Also known as International Health Certificate, this document can be obtained from USDA-accredited vets in the USA. A Health Certificate for your pet requires the following information: name and address of the exporter (the animal’s owner), information identifying the animal, the animal’s destination, date and duration of the animal’s rabies vaccine (if over three months old) and that the animal is clinically healthy at the date of the appointment. In addition, since regulatory changes in 2017, the Health Certificate must now also include a statement that the animal is free from internal parasites (worms) and external parasites (ticks or fleas). The document must also state that your pet has been treated for both internal and external parasites within the past six months and what products were used during treatment.
A Health Certificate must adhere to several issuance rules. It needs to be on your veterinarian’s official letterhead with a description of their professional title and qualifications (if in doubt, ask for a copy of their business license). It must also be ink signed by the issuing vet and endorsed by an APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer with the application of an APHIS embossed seal. Keep in mind that this document is only valid for 10 days after being issued, so make an appointment with you pet’s vet close to your date of departure.
Upon arrival at your port of entry, present the relevant documentation to the zoo sanitation kiosk—look for the acronym SAGARPA. If you meet the list of requirements, you will be issued with a Health Certificate of Import, or Certificado de Importación. You can import up to two pets at a time without incurring a fee.
Things to keep in mind
Before you purchase your flight, check your airline’s pet travel policy. Some airlines only accept pets small enough to fit into a carrier that can be stowed under the seat.
According to regulations, you may not bring along your pet’s bedding or other similar items, and you are only allowed to carry enough pet food to feed your cat or dog until the day of arrival.
Be sure to have at least two copies of your pet’s Health Certificate on hand. One for the SAGARPA and one for your personal reference.
According to Petzone Mexico, importing pets other than cats and dogs—such as birds or reptiles—into Mexico is considerably more difficult and may incur a substantial fee. Contact your closest Mexican consulate for more information.
The Yucatan Times
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