Costa Rica Pet Passport & Import Regulations
There will be no quarantine imposed on your pet when entering Costa Rica as long as the following requirements are met. Unless otherwise stated, the regulations below apply to domestic dogs and cats only. Owners of other pets should refer to item 11.
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.
All dogs and cats entering Costa Rica must have a current rabies vaccination. Your pet should be vaccinated for rabies more than 30 days prior to entering the country. Costa Rica does recognize the 3 year rabies vaccine. Dogs and cats must enter the country at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the rabies vaccine.
Dogs must also be vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus.
Cats must be vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis, panlieukopenia and feline leukemia.
Within 14 days of entry, a licensed veterinarian must complete the Veterinary Certificate for Costa Rica. An alternate copy translated into Spanish is also 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 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.
A customs broker in Costa Rica must obtain an Import Permit if your pet is entering Costa Rica as manifest (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 within 15 days of 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
All dogs and cats leaving Costa Rica will need an export authorization issued by the Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture, regardless of the length of stay in the country. The authorization will be good for 30 days and there is a fee involved. It will take several working days to process it.
Dogs and cats will also need an internal and external parasite treatment within 10 days of export.
Dogs will need a vaccination against DHLP and cats will need to be vaccinated against FVRCP within the past 12 months prior to export.
Effective immediately, pets other than dogs and cats will not be permitted to enter Costa Rica.
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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