Entering Costa Rica With a Pet

Information about the restrictions and requirements when bringing your pet into Costa Rica...

For any cat or dog being brought into Costa Rica, a health certificate is required and, in some cases, an import authorisation from the Costa Rican National Service for Animal Health (Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal - SENASA).

Pet owners must inform the Animal Quarantine officials at the port of entry of their arrival at least 72 hours before traveling to Costa Rica. For further information, contact SENASA:

    : 2587 1600 / 2260 8300

There is no quarantine period in Costa Rica; a pet entering the country is released to a customs warehouse. However, all cats and dogs need a health certificate from a registered veterinarian in their home country. Pet owners should check whether their home country has an official animal health certificate for this purpose. It is advisable to have the health check done in the final two weeks prior to traveling. An animal must meet the following requirements:

  • Animals over three months old must have had a rabies vaccination in the last year and at least 30 days before moving to the country
  • A dog must be vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parvovirus
  • The animal must have been treated for both ticks and parasites prior to travel
  • The animal must be free from infectious diseases and in good health

The health certificate should be in either Spanish or English and must be endorsed by a competent authority (Veterinary Services) in the country of export. It must also include the following information:

  • Full details of the veterinarian who carried out the checks (contact details, clinic name, license information)
  • Full details of the pet owner, including contact details and passport number
  • Full details of the animal, including name, place of birth, species, pedigree, gender and age
  • The name of the exporter and importer of the animal

If the animal travels unaccompanied or by cargo, an Import Health Requirements Form must be completed. This can be obtained from the Animal Quarantine Department (Dirección de Cuarentena Animal). If the animal travels with the owner to Costa Rica, the only document required is the health certificate, which must be presented to the Animal Quarantine Officer (AQO) at the port of entry before clearing customs.