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Bringing Pets to Panama

Bringing a pet to Panama is straightforward if you follow the rules. It's just an extra degree of work at an already-busy time. In many households, pets are full-fledged members of the family. Their owners wouldn't for one moment consider leaving them behind when they move. Bringing a pet to Panama is simple enough. It just takes a little patience.

Here's what's needed to bring your pet to Panama:

A health certificate from a veterinarian issued not more than 10 days before departure. It should state your pet is in good health and, for animals, had a rabies shot in the past year. The vet will issue a standard three-part form.

The form must be stamped by the agricultural department in your home country.

It must then be taken or sent by courier to the nearest Panamanian consulate or embassy for processing.

There are fees for each of these services.

In Panama, your agent or relocation service must have a letter or email containing the following information:

1. type of animal;
2. age;
3. weight;
4. owner's full name and passport number;
5. where the animal will live.

These particulars will then be included in a letter to the Minister of Health, requesting permission for home quarantine. The same information will be used to ensure someone meets the plane, welcomes your pet to Panama, and takes custody of it overnight if you arrive outside normal business hours of 8 am to 5 pm. Your agent can also arrange to pay a government inspector overtime to clear your pet outside these hours, saving a night in the lock-up for an animal that has already had an unusual day. Upon arrival to Panama with your pet, the veterinarian at the airport will take your pet's documentation and issue new papers allowing your animal to remain with you for home quarantine for 40 days at a cost of $130. This process takes approximately 2 to 5 hours. The pet will then be released to you. You must keep the pet in your possession at all times. If you have no authenticated health certificate, your pet must be held at the airport in quarantine for 40 days at $12/day.

Also, at the airport, you will need to go to the Banco Nacional branch there and pay $19.50 to Ministerio de Desarrollo Agropecuario and $40 to Ministerio de Salud, Control de Alimentos y Vigilancia Veterinaria. Don't bother trying to remember the names if you're not fluent in Spanish. Just have the money available!

Some airlines have embargoes on pet transport during extreme summer or winter months. Most airlines will allow you to take your pet in the cabin with you as long as your pet meets certain weight and size restrictions.

There is usually an extra fee associated with bringing pets. Some airlines charge according to the weight of the animal others charge a flat rate.

If at all possible, try to arrange for your pet´s flights to be as direct as possible. The less time your pet has to spend travelling, the less stress they will experience.





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