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Pet Passport
Have a question or concern? Reach out to others who have taken your journey with their pet for advice. Just gone to a fabulous place with your pet? Let us all know about it.

To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on 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 the pet into quarantine, return the pet to the country of origin, or destroy the pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by following the rules of the country you are visiting.

Home > Pet Passports > Costa Rica

Pet Passport Costa Rica

Dog Passport Costa Rica

Regulations for taking a pet dog or cat to Costa Rica

Costa Rica does not quarantine healthy pets who meet the following requirements but these requirements must be followed exactly:

An Import Permit is required if your pet is entering Costa Rica for unaccompanied or for commercial reasons (breeding, competition or resale. Your pet may be held for 24 hours for additional inspection and paperwork.

This completes a passport for your dog or cat to enter Costa Rica. Please note that all requirements must be met or your pet will be returned to the original destination or euthanised.

Dog Passport Costa Rica

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.

All pets arriving as manifest cargo must have a Import Permit and the transport must be arranged by a licensed agent.

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.

Failure to comply with these regulations will mean that your pet will be refused entry or returned to the country of origin or placed in quarantine, all at the expense of the person responsible for your pet.

Inspection: All domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry to Costa Rica. If your dog or cat is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.

Other Animals: Birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibia, mammals such as rodents and rabbits are not subject to requirements of rabies vaccination, but may have to meet other requirements and should have a health certificate to enter Costa Rica. 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 (CITIES).  You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case. Search their database. Over 180 countries participate and enforce CITIES regulations. Read more about CITIES.

Veterinary Certificate: All countries have unique veterinary certificates. This form may differ from the veterinary certificate issued by veterinarians in the United States. (APHIS 7001) It is an essential part of the cat or dog passport.

Pet Microchip: Although Costa Rica does not require a pet microchip, we strongly recommend that you microchip your cat or dog prior to traveling. 

Need a pet friendly hotel in Costa Rica?

The information published here is a guideline for pet owners importing their pet to Costa Rica. Further detail on import permits (if applicable), costs, tests and procedures are available at minimal cost at if you need them. We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping until 4:00 PM EST.

GOT QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS??? You can post them directly to our Facebook page, blog, forum or just enter them below. We will respond as soon as we can.

Mabel, international traveler.
Posted on 2013-06-09 22:10:24.0
Pets traveling into Costa Rica on their own ticket, MUST have an import permit in advance of arrival. Working in Costa Rica since 2000. We can clear your pets prior to their arrival assuring quick release upon landing in the country. See for more information.
Posted on 2014-01-31 18:26:34.0
We have traveled several times with our 5 pound dog in the cabin of the airplane to Costa Rica. We go through the process each time of having the dog examined by our local vet and given a health certificate (APHIS Form 7001) showing he is up to date on vaccinations, etc. This form is then sent to the USDA, along with the fee, to be stamped by their dept. and returned to us to show to appropriate official while traveling. To the best of my knowledge, the vet exam must be done within a 10 day (or maybe 2 week) window prior to our departure and is only good for 30 days. Since we fly frequently to Costa Rica (every 2-3 months or more), it becomes very time consuming, expensive, and just inconvenient to go through this process each time. Do you know of any other way to simplify this procedure? I don't know if a pet passport will do this or not.
Posted on 2014-02-20 19:26:41.0
We know of no way to simplify this procedure and cannot recommend taking any chances that your pet won't clear customs.
Posted on 2014-02-21 04:01:15.0
Our Canadian dog has been in Costa Rica for three months. We have the paperwork to take her into Canada, but I have been told she needs something to leave Costa Rica? Does anyone know the procedure?
Posted on 2014-03-29 16:43:32.0
Hi Lorraine, I would assume Canada is very similar to the US and we flew back from CR with our dog after having her there for 3 months as well. You need to book an appointment with a vet in CR and have them give her the required vaccinations. It is very unfortunate to have to over vaccinate your dog to travel like this but they require another rabies and a DHPP, they also de-wormed our dog with Cardomec. The vet will then give you the proper exportation paperwork filled out and stamped for leaving CR and arrival into Canada. The vet will need all of your travel information for the form, like where you are departing from and what date, etc. You must do this within 30 days of departure but not too close to your departure date as the vet needs time to send it to the Ministry of Agriculture in CR for signatures and then gets it back to you before you leave. From what I remember it was about 1 week that it took to do this. And of course some fees which I do not remember the exact amount I paid.
Posted on 2014-03-31 05:29:09.0
If they recognize the Aphis 7001 coming in and I am only staying 15 days why won't they recognize the same Aphis 7001 coming out? Do I really need two vet checks and certificates if I am staying just 15 days?
Posted on 2014-04-25 16:22:13.0
David - the APHIS 7001 form is a USDA form. It is used for pets leaving the US. That said, if you are only traveling to Costa Rica on vacation for 2 weeks, then returning to the US, your pet should not require another health certificate.
Posted on 2014-04-26 22:44:46.0
I am traveling to Costa Rica with a service dog for only 15 days. See my earlier post. I was told by the USDA that their health certificate is good for 30 days. However the lady at the USDA said..... "beware the airlines have their own seperate set of rules also". They may require I again get a health certificate at least 10 days before returning which absolutely makes no sense since the USDA health certificate is good for 30 days. Does any one know this for sure. I would hate to show up to the gate and have them say... "NO GO" I am flying with Frontier airlines and their website is just a bit confusing on the issue and not clear. They talk about pets and service dogs and I am not sure what they are referring to. Help?
Posted on 2014-04-29 01:02:47.0
David - this according to the Ministry of Agriculture: If the pet leaves during the period of validity of the Certificate of Health created in the U.S. and rabies certificate , then that is all that is required to leave Costa Rica. However, the Embassy website is a bit confusing. You should confirm this at the CR APHIS office: (506) 2290-4548.
Posted on 2014-04-30 23:44:12.0
We are hoping to travel to San Jose CR in November for approximately 5 months. We have 2 beardies to take with us. We will leave from Toronto - but Air Canada have an ongoing embargo since December 2013. Can you recommend an airline which will fly us and them?> I am currently enquiring with Air Transat who say to confirm with the authorities in CR that they will be accepted. Has anybody travelled there recently?
Posted on 2014-07-02 16:52:22.0
You will need an Import Permit from Ministry of Agriculture to bring a Bearded Dragon to Costa Rica. This species is not listed as accepted, but you would get an answer after filing the permit.
Posted on 2014-07-11 13:56:10.0
Sorry my mistake - they are Bearded Collies, as in the canine breed. This being said, would you know how difficult it is to bring our dogs with us? Thanks again.....
Posted on 2014-07-11 18:05:56.0
Lynne - Delta, American and United all have flights to San Jose. United may require the use of an agent as they do in many Central and South American countries.
Posted on 2014-07-13 10:02:06.0
Hello pet name is Angie and im planing to travel with my cats in costa rica for about 3 months,what exactly papers i need to get them for 3 months in costa rica?thank you
Posted on 2014-07-14 20:18:46.0
Angy - you will need proof of rabies vaccination (and other kitty vaccinations) at least 30 days prior to entry and a health certificate (translated into Spanish) issued within 10 days of travel to enter Costa Rica. You will need another health exam prior to leaving the country.
Posted on 2014-07-17 04:24:23.0
I want to move to costa rica with my 2 african greys and my green wing macaw-- Is this going to be a proublem ?
Posted on 2014-07-26 14:38:19.0
Leslie - you will need an Import Permit from the National Service of Animal Health (SENASA) to bring your pet bird to Costa Rica. We did hear, on a secondary website that birds cannot be exported from CR, so you want to be sure you are not planning on leaving. (have not validated this fact.)
Posted on 2014-07-30 03:44:39.0
Hi, we plan to move to CR with our dog but we will stay more then 3 months. Does dog have to leave and reenter the country after 3 months as well or she can stay in cr?ty
Posted on 2014-08-20 13:40:39.0
Matej - you will need to direct your question to the Ministry of Agriculture in Costa Rica. We are not familiar with regs on when you need to register your pet with local authorities. Sorry..
Posted on 2014-08-23 00:07:59.0
Angela do you work with pet travel? if so can you please send me a private message?
Posted on 2014-08-31 17:45:36.0
can someone tell me please if taking a pet to Costa Rica in either American or United airlines as CHECKED BAGGAGE (MEANING i WILL TRAVEL IN THE SAME FLIGHT WITH HER), NOT AS CARGO OR INSIDE THE CABIN (CAUSE MY PET IS TOO TALL -15 INCHES- AND DOES NOT MEET THE REGULATIONS THO SHE'S ONLY 9POUNDS) WILL REQUIRE AN IMPORTATION PERMIT AND ALL THE REST THAT GOES WITH THAT SCENARIO? I know about the health certification and the approvals from the department of agriculture here in the states (USA) and I also know that her carrier needs t be airline approved. I'm really concerned with not having all the documentation once I enter Costa Rica and my beloved pet be euthanize due to my inability to figure out what she needs. It has been murder so far cause while I would spare no expense to bring her I am also in a fix income so money is not abundant but.... she's 13 years old and I am part of her pack of about 2 (she and I) Thanks in advance.
Posted on 2014-09-27 21:18:20.0
Miriam - import permits are only required for unaccompanied pets entering Costa Rica, people entering with 2 or more very large dogs, people entering with 5 or more dogs or people entering with dogs intended to change ownership or use breeding purposes.
Posted on 2014-09-30 01:55:43.0
I am moving back to Costa Rica and I am traveling with my 1 year old English bulldog. She is also my service animal. What other things do I need besides the APHIS form 7001 and the letter from the psychiatrist?? Thanks in advance
Posted on 2014-10-08 00:32:30.0
You should be fine with those forms and proof of rabies vaccination.
Posted on 2014-10-10 03:20:35.0
Dolly - import permits are required on commercial transports only. It would be important that your boss give a Power of Attorney letter to the family friend assigning her to represent him and stating that there will be no change of ownership of the pet. This is a precaution we advise so as to avoid any questions that may arise. It may or may not be needed, but just in case.
Posted on 2014-10-10 12:54:33.0
what about getting back into the states? what requirements does the US have to bring a dog back?
Posted on 2014-10-20 15:32:09.0
Randee - the US will require proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entry. Check with your airlines about a health certificate requirement.
Posted on 2014-10-22 14:30:16.0
I have flown from the USA to Costa Rica with my dog 2x and never was questioned about the 3 year rabies vaccination. He has never been turned away with a 3 year rabies certificate.
Posted on 2014-10-22 15:33:43.0
PetTravel from my experience the USDA health certificate is good for 30 days and customs in the US will ask to see it. Never had a problem bringing my US dog back from CR.
Posted on 2014-10-22 15:36:26.0
Phyllis Wall good to hear - thanks for the info!
Posted on 2014-10-22 22:56:30.0
Bringing a female pit that is not fixed is that ok
Posted on 2014-10-23 15:12:52.0
Thank you for this information, Phyllis. We had some difficulty with this in the past. Glad to hear the 3 year vaccine is now satisfactory.
Posted on 2014-10-24 14:14:04.0
Hi, So just so I'm clear...if I want to bring my dog as a service animal all I need is her chip info, updated rabies vaccinations and paperwork? We will only be there 3 weeks. Does she need to visit a vet in CR before I bring her back to the US?
Posted on 2014-11-10 21:16:24.0
Leba - your dog will need a health certificate to visit Costa Rica as well. No need to see vet if you are traveling as a tourist.
Posted on 2014-11-11 17:41:10.0
Kati - that is ok especially if you are traveling with it. If not, you will need a permit. If it is in heat or pregnant, you may have a problem with the airlines.
Posted on 2014-11-11 19:22:17.0
Hello, please what other forms do I need to fill when i am traveling from Slovakia? My dog has European Union passport, he is chipped and has all the vaccination needed stated in the passport. Where can I get the health certificate? (i am bringing him for non commercial reasons.) Thank you
Posted on 2014-11-19 10:54:25.0
You need to go to your vet to get the international certificate of health and get it endorsed by food and animal inspection agency.
Posted on 2014-11-20 04:46:27.0
Marina - the EU pet passport will not be acceptable to enter Costa Rica. You will need a health certificate (translated in Spanish if you can arrange that). You can find links to forms and instructions here if you need them:
Posted on 2014-11-21 02:22:25.0
Hi there, I want to take my dog from Russia to costa rica (via Frankfurt as our connection) I am trying to establish what paperwork I would need for Germany ( both sets of flights will be with the same airline). The dog will be just over a year old, she is of no particular breed as we found her on the street. Somebody mentioned to me that the governmental body we would need to verify our certificates would be the costa rican embassy in moscow is that accurate?
Posted on 2014-11-23 19:03:41.0

Hello we want to move to Costa Rica from the UK. We have 15 pet dogs and can't find information on taking that many pets. Any guidance welcome.
Posted on 2014-11-27 16:55:12.0
Ian - you will need an import permit to bring that many dogs to Costa Rica. You will also need to coordinate their transport with the airlines as they limit the amount of pets in the hold per flight. The airlines may require an agent book the transport. It would be very helpful when clearing customs in CR. If you need one, try You can search by country.
Posted on 2014-12-01 02:04:05.0
Hi Christopher - if you are flying in and out of Frankfurt on the same airline, and your layover is under 2 hours, then the airlines will move your pet from plane to plane. (assuming it is traveling in the hold.) Endorsement by the Embassy is not required to enter CR.
Posted on 2014-12-01 02:12:56.0
Interested in the steps needed to take an iguana to Costa Rica.Please email me back at Thank you
Posted on 2014-12-04 17:12:56.0
We are traveling to Costa Rica with our two dogs. There are two humans and two dogs. Does that mean we will need an import permit because we have 2? How large do they have to be to need a permit? Thank you
Posted on 2015-01-08 17:41:47.0
Sarah - a permit is not required in your case.
Posted on 2015-01-12 04:03:25.0
Exotic animals (other than dogs and cats) require an import permit from Sensa. Not sure about your iguana, but it will state on the permit.
Posted on 2015-01-12 04:05:59.0
I am a Canadian but have been in Mexico for 2 mths with my pup. I have the rabies certificate and a veterinary certificate saying he is in good health. Coming from Mexico, what else might I need???
Posted on 2015-01-23 03:18:20.0
I am traveling on a cruise through the Panama is 2 weeks..visiting multiple ports. I have international health cert. Dog is chipped and has all recommended vaccinations. How safe is it for me to bring her?
Posted on 2015-01-24 00:09:57.0
Hi Cari - you will need a health certificate done within 2 weeks of your departure date from Mexico. Bring another copy as well. Also you will need your pup's rabies certificate.
Posted on 2015-01-26 02:28:48.0
Lynn - it totally depends on what ports you are visiting. Each country has different rules. The health certificate for CR must be done within 2 weeks of departure. Panama requires consulate endorsement. Belize requires an import permit. You may want to discuss with your cruise line as well as sometimes they stop at their own properties.
Posted on 2015-01-26 02:32:40.0
I have a 23 year old Macaw, a 1 year old green check conure, 2 Chihuahuas and my German Shepherd that I want to bring with me when we move to Costa Rica. What all do I need to do to bring them with me?
Posted on 2015-01-27 21:02:09.0
I am planning to rescue a six week old puppy from Costa Rica and bringing her back to Canada. The person who organizes these rescues says there is a cost pending on your airline and that the veterinarian she works with will organize all the papers before I leave, is there anything else I should be aware of when bringing a pet home from another country last thing I want is for customs to take her away from me.
Posted on 2015-01-29 14:44:31.0
Tara - you should be very wary of getting pets over the internet. Do you know the person or organization you are getting the puppy from? We are not an airline, nor do we transport pets under the name of There have been many schemes over the internet that have involved our name without our permission. Please confirm and send information to By the way, the airlines will not ship a puppy at 6 weeks of age. AND, if you are bringing the puppy into Canada for re-homing, there will be an import permit required.
Posted on 2015-01-31 18:01:22.0
Hi Marty - you will need an import permit from the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture to bring your birds to Costa Rica. As for the dogs, the regulations are here and there are links to instructions and forms if you need them:
Posted on 2015-01-31 21:06:26.0
Hello..we are flying out from toronto to liberia Costa Rica and bringing our 9 lb pet, we already booked him flying with westjet..what paper work do we need ?
Posted on 2015-02-03 01:53:52.0
You need proof of current rabies vaccination and a health certificate to enter Costa Rica. Details here and links to instructions and forms if you need them:
Posted on 2015-02-05 02:42:27.0
Susan - forgot to mention that the CFIA in Canada will need to endorse your forms prior to travel. A Spanish translation of the health certificate would help.
Posted on 2015-02-05 02:48:18.0
Can someone other than the owner travel with your dog? For example, could a friend or family member bring my dog down to Costa Rica for me? With all the correct paperwork etc.
Posted on 2015-03-04 13:11:44.0
I am planning on traveling from Costa Rica to the US in May for 3 weeks with my Chihuahua. I will get my dog the required paperwork for her to travel from CR to the US and I have been told that this is valid for 30 days. I have been told that this paperwork is valid for her to re-enter CR, but I have also heard that the airlines may require US paperwork within 2 weeks of my departure back to CR?
Posted on 2015-03-30 16:25:32.0
Hello Kristen, That will entirely depend on the airlines policies. You will want to confirm well in advance if they require a more recent health certificate. Some airlines do require a health certificate that was completed within 10 days of travel.
Posted on 2015-04-03 19:58:12.0
My pet will be traveling unescorted from USA to CR. I have been getting incomplete information from United airlines and now am being told I need a "broker" to have him released by customs. Is this a requirement of all airlines? The cost for this service is upwards of $300!! I'm highly concerned. United does not allow him to travel as checked baggage. Can anyone help please?
Posted on 2015-04-20 21:16:55.0
Maybe this is too late, but I found this site that may help!ut/p/a1/pVTblpowFP2WPvQxK5FbyKOMo4DX1k4VXrICBE0rFzG6xn59A-O0MtbLWuUFzmGf284-gSFcwjBnB7FiUhQ529R2aFF_6modB2neYE6ekTf53h_bI6xPXUMBguuAoY_b8TZ2EfL6U3_o9OY66nVO8ejK00X34hcwhGGcy1KuYcDKtdjRuMglzyXdiKhi1fEz2jFa7CuaFvF-11gsFxnb0DVnG7luPCIri0pSkcuCnkAqRXWkFd_uRcUzZSl3LN-RG3Hgpzy7uoUyFgkMTJLYJDVSwJNEB4ZtpcA2NAIIMSNkGylOUOcjZZcztSkfPDuK0f5ohoe-hr5cUt4GDM3H4p8GXdfAI0WyYWvI6zluD5Ox6sT6v_oKcEcyzZHdEU0DuKWKm03WHDSAG0MGagp8fQoM53-PVTd5ZHFMgG6bCBgk5sAmSQdohEcRixLesRLoP8CbVo2fxiuVlsk1EHlawOUfOe6a75JLKit24PXuBeLHdht2lcBrSb9KuHxU4SeV8tf6dab5t79nRT7S0D4tYpzT8JC6_QdujH_T0N7BxnW5g3B5ZQcXjirc36-6K1hmLy-ZrR-FEODnV_fXtzRbzEbpZALCYOZ1P_0GuCaYDQ!!/?1dmy&urile=wcm%3apath%3a%2Faphis_content_library%2Fsa_our_focus%2Fsa_animal_health%2Fsa_import_into_us%2Fsa_entry_requirements%2Fsa_avian%2Fct_return_pet_bird Thank you PetTravel for the resource
Posted on 2015-04-24 12:34:48.0
My son is volunteering in Costa Rica and has found a dog that is in need of a home that he would like to bring back. She is too big too bring on the plane what are our choices of airlines she can travel on, and what will she need to enter the US.
Posted on 2015-04-25 02:28:36.0
We are moving to Costa Rica with two dogs. They will go as cargo on the same flight as us. Do we need a broker to get them released from customs?
Posted on 2015-04-29 17:45:00.0
Maria - United does not offer checked baggage service, and all animals traveling unaccompanied must do so as air cargo. United and American do require agents to book the transport on all Central and South America flights. You can try Copa or LAN if they serve your route.
Posted on 2015-04-30 04:08:39.0
Shelly - the US will want to see proof of rabies vaccination no sooner than 30 days prior to entering the country and a health certificate issued in English within 10 days of travel. It can fly as checked baggage with your son if not traveling on United. Try Copa or Avianca if they serve your route. very hard to comment not knowing your destination.
Posted on 2015-04-30 04:15:39.0
Oystein - not all airlines require that an agent clear your pets, but some do. This is because of the language barrier and foreigners not knowing local customs and entrance requirements. If you do not speak Spanish, it is certainly a good idea. Check with your airline to see if you have to use theirs, otherwise you can check at and see if there is one that serves your airport. If you feel that you can handle it on your own, then find an airline that will allow it. (not United or American as they require agents in CA and SA)
Posted on 2015-04-30 04:18:42.0

Hello! My family and I just moved to the U.S from Costa Rica but my mother had to go back and get our 1 year old rottweiler and fly back with him. While at the airport she was getting complains on the type of dog it was and the cage size. The airlines never told us that rottweilers aren't allowed and the airlines website also didn't say anything about the breed. The cage was a perfect size for him to move around and stand up. We also flew to grown rottwileres at least 150 pounds without any complains! us there a possible chance for him getting down there without any complains? ps. the airlines was american airlines.
Posted on 2015-04-30 18:02:15.0
my dog just renewed her rabies vaccine this month, and we plan to bring her down in 6 weeks. Is she going to need to get another vaccine shot within 21 days? Will a bet even do that?
Posted on 2015-05-16 11:49:30.0
Ok I just reread that. I understand now. I have to have the vaccine administered at least 3 weeks prior to leaving. Got it! :)
Posted on 2015-05-16 11:53:31.0
PetTravel Do I need a permit for two dogs that belong only to me, one traveler?
Posted on 2015-05-17 15:42:18.0