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Bringing Your Pet to Costa Rica

Are you bringing your pet to Costa Rica when you move here? Of course, because pets are family! Thankfully, the process isn’t overly complicated. Costa Rica doesn’t require quarantine, nor do they ban certain dog breeds like some other countries do.

The first thing you need to do is find out from your home country what are the export requirements for pets. For most countries, including the US, you’ll need to consult with your local veterinarian for a routine health check and to make sure all vaccines are up to date.

For travel of pets between the US and Costa Rica, a health certificate provided by USDA APHIS needs to be completed by your vet and signed by a USDA accredited verterinarian. Please see the link here for more information and a link to the form. Make sure the checkup is done within 2 weeks of departure – the parasite treatments must be applied by your vet just before you leave!

Once you have the export documents, you’ll need to arrange with your airline the transportation. This includes having the properly-sized approved kennel for your pet.

Once you arrive in Costa Rica you will need to show your pet and the health certificate documents to the SENASA (Costa Rica’s animal welfare agency) agent.

Things to note:

  • Costa Rica does not require any microchip for your pet.
  • Costa Rica does not ban any particular dog breed.
  • Additional steps and permits may be needed if your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret (such as a turtle). Costa Rica is very protective of its wildlife.
  • If you are not traveling with your pet (for example, air cargo) you’ll need to send paperwork for a health import permit to Costa Rican authorities before the pet leaves. Once you arrive you’ll then be able to secure the permit and recover your pet. We recommend a professional agent for this to avoid any surprises.

At CRIE we can assist with bringing your pet to Costa Rica by referring you to a trusted local service provider for pet travel — especially if your pet is not traveling with you.

Remember, while pets don’t need to apply to immigration to live in Costa Rica, you do! Find out how we can help by completing our FREE residency assessment.

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