Pet Passports & International Pet Travel
Often times, the hardest part of traveling is leaving your family pet behind in a kennel or animal compound. What many people don’t know is that it is possible to transport your pet from the States to your new residence abroad. Planning in advance is key to avoiding problems when entering a foreign country. This article will identify present laws and regulations regarding international pet travel in order to safely and legally transport your pet to your new destination. Specifically, the following information will target travel from the U.S. to both Belize and Nicaragua.
What is a Pet Passport?
This may be the first time you have heard the term “pet passport,” and you may be asking yourself why your pet needs one. Much like people, animals are required to show proper health documentation upon entering a foreign country. This requirement ensures the safety and preservation of the local animal population, as well as the prevention of the spread of animal diseases.
Pet passports work much in the same way as human passports. Despite some differences among countries, they are generally comprised of key information such as animal identification, vaccine records, and certificates of good health, in order to permit your pet’s admittance into a foreign country.
Essentially, every country in the world requires a certificate of good health along with documentation of a recent rabies vaccine. Some countries, however, require more specifics in terms of animal health and mandatory vaccines. This report will attempt to simplify the seemingly complicated rules and regulations surrounding this topic.
How to Create Your Pet’s Passport?
- It is highly recommended that you meet with your veterinarian before travel to discuss the specific requirements of the country you will be traveling to.
- Once you determine the required testing for your destination country, you should have your veterinarian complete a health certificate, also known as a “veterinary” or “sanitary” certificate.
How to Avoid Pet Quarantine?
It is advised that you follow these guidelines to ensure a quick and efficient pass through immigration and customs, and to avoid pet detention and quarantine. It should be noted, however, that some countries require immediate quarantine for all animals entering the country, regardless of adherence to their rules.
- It should be noted that the following information is pertinent to pet dogs, cats, and ferrets. Other animals, such as birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and rabbits, are not specifically subjected to the same requirements. Nonetheless, they should have health certificates upon entering the country. It is strongly advised to obtain further information from the proper authority in your country of origin, as well as the destination country.
- It is recommended that you check with your airline ahead of time in regards to their methods and procedures for animal transportation.
Requirements for Pet Travel to Belize
Belizean officials will not quarantine your pet as long as the following requirements are adhered to:
- An import permit must be obtained prior to travel to Belize. This form can be obtained from the Belizean Department of Agriculture. Once the form is approved, the Belizean office will fax it back to you and charge you a small service fee. Failing to do so may result in animal quarantine and a subsequent fine.
- A Veterinary Certificate for Belize must be presented to Belizean officials upon arrival. This form can be issued by a licensed U.S. veterinarian within 14 days of entry. This certificate must also be endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Rabies vaccine documentation must prove that your pet has been administered a vaccination, no less than 30 days and no more than one year, before arrival.
- Tick and tapeworm tests are also required for pets to enter Belize.
- The Belizean government recommends that dogs be vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus. It is recommended that cats be vaccinated against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR). While not required, these suggestions are meant to ensure the safety of your pet while in Belize.
Requirements for Pet Travel to Nicaragua
Nicaraguan officials will not quarantine your pet as long as the following requirements are adhered to:
- A Veterinary Certificate for Nicaragua must be presented to Nicaraguan officials upon arrival in Managua. This form can be issued by a licensed U.S. veterinarian within 14 days of entry. This certificate must be endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Rabies vaccine documentation must prove that your pet has been administered the vaccination, no less that 30 days and no more than one year, before arrival.
- A U.S. $10 fee will be charged per pet upon arrival by a MAGFOR Quarantine Delegate to carry out a brief inspection. It is advised that you request MAGFOR assistance ahead of time through airline personnel.