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Lo de Marcos • El Monteón • Punta Raza • Los Ayala • Rincón de Guayabitos • La Peñita • Boca de Naranjo • Chacala • Playa Las Tortugas • Platanitos
Updated November 8, 2014
Regardless of whether you cross the border by land, air or sea, you are required to follow the same basic guidelines when bringing pets into Mexico. We have contacted SAGARPA officials and our local USDA-APHIS office for clarification, and have done our best to include the current regulations for Mexico, the United States and Canada. We highly recommend that you read through the regulations for the country you are traveling to (and from) to make sure you comply with both. We also suggest that you contact your personal vet and your airline to confirm that this is all you need to travel, as each state and airline can establish their own rules.
Anyone traveling with pets is now required to stop at the SAGARPA/SENASICA Office at your port of entry (the office at the Puerto Vallarta airport is located before the baggage claim area). Here, an officer will ask you to present a valid health certificate and perform a quick physical inspection of your pet(s) to make sure they are in good physical condition and that their rabies vaccines are current. The officer will enter your name and information into his computer and present you with an import health certificate, which you have to sign and later present to the person in customs. The entire process can take between 30-60 minutes, so be sure to plan a little extra time if someone is picking you up.
Pet Travel Tips Table of Contents:
It is important to note that each airline has their own policies and that they can change at any time. Being aware of the following information can make your trip planning process a lot less stressful:
Please check with your specific airline to make sure you understand their rules and that they don't require any additional information and/or paperwork as indicated either above or below.
Added November 2014
Health/Rabies Certificates: There has been a lot of talk on our forum recently from people being held up at SAGARPA because they didn't have the rabies lot number listed on their Rabies Certificate. I always recommend that you bring the original copy of both your pet's current Health Certificate and Rabies Certificate (as well as copies) and make sure one of them includes:
Rabies Vaccine (1-Year vs. 3-Year): Mexico now allows pets (dogs and cats) to enter Mexico with a 3-year rabies vaccine from the US/Canada as long as the proper paperwork accompanies the pet, including a copy of the Rabies Certificate that indicates that the vaccine is still current (see below). This regulation change basically makes it possible for those of us who have had our pets vaccinated using the 3-year vaccine to not have to re-vaccinate our pets unnecessarily.
The exception is this... if your pet (dog or cat) is originally from Mexico (rather than the US/Canada), and your pet has been vaccinated in Mexico with a 1-year vaccine (which is standard here), you are required to show the Mexican booklet you received from your Mexican vet indicating the original vaccine date. Obviously, pets of Mexican origin cannot re-enter Mexico if their vaccine has expired (and obviously pets from the US/Canada cannot enter Mexico if their 3-year vaccine has expired).
US/Canadian Paperwork: A quick reminder... anyone traveling with pets MUST comply with both countries regulations, not just Mexico. In other words, if you are traveling from the US/Canada to Mexico, you need to provide the proper paperwork required to LEAVE the US/Canada, as well as to provide the proper paperwork required to ENTER Mexico. In addition, individual airlines can dictate their own rules, so I highly recommend that everyone check with their particular airline to see if they require any additional paperwork.
All current regulations for pet travel within the US, Canada and Mexico are listed below.
Updated October 14, 2014 – Information from SENASICA/SAGARPA
In Mexico, only cats and dogs are considered pets for purposes of regulation. Remember that you may travel freely throughout Mexico with your pet without requiring health regulation, it is only required when bringing your pet into Mexico from another country. If you wish to bring other live animals (such as a bird, reptile or hamster), you must complete a series of requirements.
Consult the requirements for import listed here, and familiarize yourself with the pet inspection process conducted at all points of entry into the country.
When Traveling with Your Pet to Mexico:
When you arrive to Mexico with your pet, you must contact SAGARPA/SENASICA personnel who will conduct a brief physical inspection and verify that your pet is in compliance with the following requirements:
1) A Health Certificate in original and simple copy, issued by a either private or official Medical Veterinarian indicating (you may have more than one pet on a single certificate):
If the above requirements are not met, you may request the services of a Mexican licensed Medical Veterinarian of your choice and at your expense, to issue a new valid health certificate and /or apply the treatment required.
2) Your pet should arrive to Mexico in a container, kennel or carrier of any sort, that is clean, without bedding, cloth material or accessories, for these will be retained by the OISA official for destruction. The container will then receive a preventive spray treatment by the SAGARPA/SENASICA official.
3) You may bring a day's ration of dried dog food when traveling with your pet and/or an unopened bag which must be properly labeled in English or Spanish stamped by the food inspection authority; or the product must comply with the combined MCRZI requirements originating from authorized countries, packaged, tagged and without content of ruminant origin.
(Please Note: A total of 20 kg per family is allowed, in up to two packages equaling that amount.)
4) If you send your pet in cargo, it is important that you verify all requirements of the airline of your choice and consider the need to utilize the services of a Customs Broker to clear Customs prior to compliance with SAGARPA/SENASICA tariff free regulations.
(Please Note: The Health Certificate issued by a private Medical Veterinarian should be printed on letterhead, with the professional license number or a photocopy of the license, signature in original and simple copy form.)
If you are transporting one to three pets, the Animal Health Import Certificate process is free of charge. If you are importing four or more pets, the fee of the Import Certificate would be $1,882.22 pesos (this amount may vary in conformance with the Federal Tax Law). This payment can be made using the e5cinco form via bank window or internet.
Remember that compliance with the regulations established by SAGARPA/SENASICA do not exempt you from compliance with regulations of other authorities at the point of entry into Mexico.
When you return to Mexico with your pet:
From the US or Canada:
From Other Countries:
Please, avoid delays by getting informed of the requirements before you travel!
Editor's Note: Our contact at SAGARPA informed me that if your pet is of Mexican origin and you are traveling from the US or Canada, you can present the zoosanitary health certificate you received from your veterinarian before you departed from Mexico as long as:
According to the Mexican regulations, only dogs and cats are classified as pets.
The animals shall be accompanied by either:
The HC must contain the following information:
Special requirements for dogs and cats residing in the border zone:
States of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Editor's Note: See below for more information on how to use these forms correctly. Please note that failure to present any of these documents will result in the pet being held up in customs until a registered veterinarian can be called. In addition to paying the veterinarian’s fee for an airport inspection, a wait of several hours can be expected, especially during weekends and holidays.
We have contacted SAGARPA and our local USDA-APHIS office for clarification, and have received the additional information:
1) APHIS-VS 7001 Form (Here are the USDA Guidelines for APHIS 7001 Form (from APHIS-VSPS MN):
Editor's Note: If you choose to use the VS 7001 Form as your only form of documentation, you need to get it numbered and stamped at a APHIS-VS Area Office office near you to make it official (cost is $37 USD and by appointment only). In addition, you need to type all the certification statements (everything listed on the Non-Official Letterhead Certificate in English and Spanish) onto the electronic form to make it bilingual (we've added the necessary statements in red as an example above). Please also see a list of additional items we suggest you add to this form.
2) Bilingual Letterhead Health Certificate:
If you choose to use the Letterhead Certificate as your form of documentation instead, your vet needs to type it up (in English and Spanish) on his/her office letterhead and sign it to make it official. Click here to download a copy of the 2012 Non-Official Bilingual Letterhead Health Certificate (updated Sept. 29, 2012) that your veterinarian can use. This document was provided to us by the USDA-APHIS-VS MN Export Department in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Editor's Note: After reading through the current SENASICA guidelines, and corresponding with both SAGARPA officials and our vet in Puerto Vallarta, we recommend that your vet include the following information as well in order to meet the Mexican entry requirements:
According to the CDC, the regulations required to bring your pet back into the US are the same whether you drive or fly. Although a health certificate (called a "Certificado Zoosanitario" in Mexico) is not required by the CDC for entry into the US, most airlines and some states require them. Dogs and cats are subject to inspection at the border and may be denied if they do not appear to be healthy. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a health certificate from your vet. Dogs must also have a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry in the US. Some states require cats to be vaccinated for rabies, so check with your local authorities before traveling.
If you are flying, you should check with your airline to make sure they do not require any additional information and/or paperwork.
Visit the CDC website for more information.
Updated July 14, 2014 – Information from Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
As specified on SENASICA's website, you must present the border authorities with an original and a copy of a veterinary health certificate that has been issued within the last 10 days.
You have two options for this document:
The General Health Certificate for Cats and Dogs meets Mexico's import conditions. Please note that Mexico may change these requirements without notification to the CFIA. As a result, it is strongly advised to review this certificate to ensure that all requirements are addressed.
Canadian Pet Travel requirements have recently changed for importation of commercial dogs (including rescue dogs) and dogs less than 8 months of age. You can find more information on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.
Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website for pet import information and regulations for transporting commercial/rescue animals back into Canada.
Helpful and informative links for traveling with your pets…
Many tourists who visit the Jaltemba Bay area come to realize how many stray animals here need homes. If you are interested in adopting a pet, you can contact these wonderful organizations:
To learn about exporting your new friend back home, contact the groups listed here. And don't worry, it's easier than it sounds. There's no doubt about it... rescue animals make the best pets!