Costa Rica News – When I taught first grade and asked the kids to draw a picture of the PEOPLE in their families many included their pets. I bet you consider your pet a member of your family as well and plan to move them with you when you relocate to Costa Rica.
Relocating with a pet can be tricky but doesn’t have to be. Rules change often, so make sure to check with the Association of Residents in Costa Rica (ARCR) before hand. Your vet in the States may have an idea of what’s necessary but it’s best to check with a local official so you can breeze through customs.
Cats and dogs are not subject to quarantine anymore. With the correct paperwork they can go through immigration right next to you. You will need a certificate that complies with the US Department of Agriculture from your vet. This may need to be validated by the Costa Rican Embassy near you. All shots must be current (within 30 days or transportation). Rabies is the only exception; the rabies shot must be over 30 and under a year. These rules are strict. If you are off by a day it could mean quarantining your animal.
Be careful choosing an airline as some don’t allow pets at all and others have blackout dates for travel with pets around holidays. Some have a “one pet per full paying customer” rule. It’s also a good idea to travel when the Embassy is open (daytime) in case you are denied boarding on an international flight because of attendants who don’t know the rules. This way you can call in case of the airline personnel needing clarification of current rules.
If you happen to have a less common pet there are other rules. Birds are not allowed as of 2008. There is a loophole where you can import them but will never be able to export them! Rules for snakes and rodents change frequently. A variety of permits may be necessary for import and export. Always check and recheck 5 weeks before travel with ARCR for the most up to date information.
By Kerry La