July 27, 2013
Many people couldn’t imagine life – esp. starting a new life – without their dog, cat, or other animal friend.
You can bring your pet to Panama.
It isn’t hard, but the process can be daunting at times.
There are many regulations and organizations involved in the transport process.
In spite of this, with patience, it can be fairly easy to accomplish.
Each entity in the pet relocation process has its own rules
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- Each Airline
- Panama Government
- Government Of Origin
IATA Has A Helpful List
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing about 80% of the world’s airlines. Their site is helpful.
It provides a list of items to consider when transporting a pet including, airline regulations, government regulations, and the pet itself. For those IATA guidelines, click here.
Size & Number of Pets Makes a Difference
If you are transporting only one animal — especially if it can travel in the cabin under the seat — you shouldn’t have a lot of difficulty bringing your pet with you to Panama.
Of course, you still must do all the paperwork and your pet must be healthy. However, the process will be pretty straightforward and not very expensive.
It can get more complicated when you have larger or multiple pets.
Panama Government Rules
The Government requires strict adherence to the rules.
You must have the following:
- Health Certificate dated no more than 10 days prior to arrival in Panama.
- It must be signed by the Veterinarian on the right side and the USDA stamp with signature on the left side of the document (i.e, U.S. NASPHV form-51). If you are not in the USA, get it stamped by the agricultural department of your country. Just having the veterinarian sign it is not enough.
- It must then be taken or sent by courier to the nearest Panamanian consulate, embassy, or an Apostille certification agency for processing. It has to be authenticated by one of those agencies. One more stamp for your scrapbook.
Vaccinations and their documentation
- Up-to-date Rabies Vaccination (not required for puppies).
- Your pet must have its Multi Vaccinations (DHLPIPV).
- The record book of vaccinations must accompany your pet during transport
Panama Government Fees
- MIDA import license fee is $16.00 for one pet and $10.00 for each additional pet.
Health Ministry “Home Quarantine” process costs $130.00 per pet.
- This fee allows you to take your dog home with you, and not be quarantined at the airport.
Try To Arrive During Their Business Hours
Your pet’s entry into Panama will only be processed Monday through Friday from 8 am to 10pm.
If your pet arrives outside of those times, or on a holiday, your pet will be kept in an airport kennel until the office opens again.
You must check with your airline.
They all have different rules. Some of which include:
- Not allowing pets to travel in the cargo hold if the temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. (This often means you, or your pet, take the red eye flight)
- Every airline will require you to purchase your own crate/container for your pet. However, depending upon the airline, the size restrictions for each crate can vary.
- Number of animals allowed to share a crate vary. At one time, the IATA required that there be only one animal per crate. But when I visited their site today, it seemed they had relaxed that rule for smaller animals.
Preparing Your Pet
Allow your pet to spend time in its travel crate before your trip. Travel is stressful for animals. Getting familiar with its new crate is important. You may want to put a worn T-shirt, or other item, that has your scent on it in the crate with your animal. Unless advised otherwise by your vet, you should not sedate your animal. This is to avoid any unexpected health complications.
30 Day Home Quarantine
Upon leaving the airport, your animal is officially in home quarantine for 30 days. This means that your dog must stay with you at all times for the next 30 days. Sometime during the quarantine period, you will be contacted to ensure that your dog is still healthy.
Once the 30 days have passed, your dog is free from quarantine restrictions.
Taking Your Animal Out of Panama
My older daughter is always asking to bring our dog with us when we visit the States. I have always said no because I fear it is a difficult task. I have heard that you must visit 3 different Panama Ministries and get 3 separate stamps to get the dog out of Panama and into the U.S.A
However, I have not confirmed that process. In a future post I will cover taking pets out of Panama.
FYI , for those of you simply visiting Panama for a short while (i.e., less than 31 days), you don’t have to do get all those stamps to bring your pet back with you.
My Information Sources
We have never taken a pet to or from Panama. I owe my knowledge to a number of sources, including
- Susanna Perkins of futureexpats.com
- Goldenfrog.net. They offer pet relocation services.
- Various embassy sites
- IATA’s website
Please comment below.