Costa Rica Pet Passport & Regulations
Costa Rica does not require that your pet be identified with a pet microchip, but it is recommended that you microchip your pet and register your contact information prior to traveling as a means of identification should your pet be lost or separated from you. If your pet does not have a registered microchip, make sure your pets are wearing tags that identify them and have contact information for the owner.
Your pet must be vaccinated for rabies between 21 days and one year prior to entering the country. Costa Rica does recognize the 3 year rabies vaccine should your pet have that. Dogs and cats must enter the country at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the rabies vaccine.
Dogs must also be vaccinated for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus.
Blood Titer Test
A blood titer test is not required to enter Costa Rica from any country.
Within 14 days of entry, a licensed veterinarian must complete the Veterinary Certificate for Costa Rica. An alternate copy translated into Spanish is also recommended but not required. The certificate must be endorsed by your State USDA office if your pet is traveling from the United States and by the local CFIA office if your pet is traveling from Canada. Up to five personal pets can be imported to Costa Rica without an import permit.
If you are entering Costa Rica from the United States, USDA health certificate is also required and must be endorsed by the USDA.
An Import Permit is required if your pet is entering Costa Rica for unaccompanied or for commercial reasons (breeding, competition or resale). A permit will also be required if you are not entering Costa Rica on the same flight as your pet. Your pet may be held for 24 hours for additional inspection and paperwork.
Please note that all requirements must be met or your pet will be returned to the original destination or euthanised.
You must obtain an Import Permit if your pet is entering Costa Rica as unaccompanied air cargo or other classes of service where an airway bill is involved regardless of whether you are traveling with your pet. (United's PetSafe Program is an example of this.)
Ticks and Tapeworm Treatment
Before your dog or cat can enter Costa Rica, it must be treated against internal and external parasites between 10 and 30 days prior to entering the country.
Entering the Costa Rica by Air
Pets should enter the Costa Rica via Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela, located within the Central Valley region north of San Jose or Daniel Oduber Airport (LIR) in Liberia.
Notice should be given to veterinary officials so they will be available to inspect your pet upon landing. All domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the entry airport. If your dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.
You will need to carry a personal letter stating your pet's market value or a document that proves it such as an invoice. Or, you may provide this information on the Veterinary Certificate.
Puppies and Kittens
Puppies and kittens under 3 months old may enter Costa Rica with a health certificate endorsed by the governmental authority responsible for the import and export of animals.
Costa Rica does not publish a list of banned breeds.
Exporting Pets from Costa Rica
If your pet is visiting Costa Rica and leaves during the period of validity of the Certificate of Health created in the U.S. or your country and the rabies vaccine has not expired, then no additional paperwork will be required.
If your pet resides in Costa Rica and you want to take it out of the country, then you will need a Certificate of Good Health from your veterinarian in Costa Rica and an export authorization issued by the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture. The authorization will be good for 30 days and there is a fee involved. It will take several working days to process it.
Pets other than dogs and cats such as rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. entering Costa Rica will need an import permit. Birds will also require quarantine in an approved facility and tests will be performed which must prove negative for Avian influenza and Newcastle diseases among others. Birds cannot be exported from the country.
Exotic pets wil not be permitted entry. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority of their country and/or that of the country of destination.
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case. Over 180 countries participate and enforce CITES regulations. .
Need More Assistance?
To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on PetTravel.com reflect the current regulations. We cannot predict how a given country may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to make arrangements to put your pet into quarantine at your expense, return your pet to the country of origin, or euthanize your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by following the rules of the country you are visiting.
Further detail on import permits, costs, tests and procedures are available at minimal cost at PetTravelStore.com. We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping Monday through Friday until 4:00 PM EST.
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