Costa Rica Veterinarian- Importing Pets Documents Required

Importing Animals into Costa Rica

Dr. Adrian Molina’s Pet Van

1. Necessary documents:

a. Health Certificate – Must be issued by a licensed veterinarian and endorsed by Veterinary Services – VS – in the Veterinary Section of the
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA APHIS). The examination is recommended
within two weeks prior to traveling to Costa Rica.

b. Here, the name of the Exporter (who is taking the animal out of the US) must be specified, and the ‘Importer’ (who is responsible for the pet once it
arrives into Costa Rica). In this case, it is Dr. Adrian Molina.

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c. Bill or Proof of purchase, stating the market value of the pet. If you will
not be using the animal for commercial reasons (selling or breeding), you might
just state that your pet will not be used for economical reasons, so it’s market
value is more sentimental than economical. (So they don’t try to charge you extra
in Customs).

d. If your pet’s market value is lower than a $100 dollars, and, you haven’t
brought pets into Costa Rica for the past 2 years, your pet will be considered
to be of non-commercial nature, and no Customs Duty will be required.

e. Customs bill that shows you paid for getting your pet out of the country
(if necessary).

f. Quarantine permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture an Animal Control.

The Health Certificate must have the following information:

a) Information of your Vet:

a) Name, and last names

License numbers

Name of his workplace


Phone numbers


b) Personal information

Name, and last names

Passport number

Home address

Phone numbers


c) Pet info

Place of birth (city, state, country)




Pedigree (if aplicable)

Vaccination received

Vaccination dates

A statement made by the vet certifing that the animal is in good health, dewormed,
and free of infectious diseases


The laws have recently changed drastically regarding the importation of birds to Costa Rica so please cosnult with Dr. Molina LONG before you plan on being in Costa Rica if you plan to brings birds with you.

Dogs and cats:

*It is recommended to include an Interstate and International Certificate (VS
Form 18-I) , that contains the following info:

1. The dogs/cats have been vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis y Parvovirus

2. If they are more than 4 months old, they have to be vaccinated against rabies. This vaccines must be applied at least 30 days before travel, and no more than 1 year before your trip.

3. If there is an infectious disease breakout in the area that the pet lives,
it must be specified in the Health Certificate that the animal is free of this

Costa Rica Customs:

1. When you pass thru Customs, an officer will conduct a visual examination of
your pet ($1 fee per animal)

2. If your pet has a highly contagious disease, it will not be allowed into our
country. It can be sent back to where it came from, or be sacrified (All of this
can be avoided with proper medical care before you travel)

3. If your pet has a disease that is not highly infectious, it will be put in
quarantine (in the Animal Shelter of the Ministry of Agriculture an Animal Control)

4. You only have to pay Customs Duties if your pet’s market value is over $100, if you are using it for commercial reasons, or if it doesn’t travel in the same plane as you.

B. Exporting an animal from Costa Rica

You have to get a Health Certificate expended by your veterinarian. He will
also have to conduct a clinical exam, update vaccination programs and deworm your pet.

If the animals you’re exporting are from the wild, you will have to present a special
permit expedited by the Department of Wild Life (From MINAE) and/or CITES permit
(Convencion Sobre El Comercio Internacional De Especies Amenazadas De Fauna Y
Flora Silvestres)

The Department of Animal Quarantine will expedit a permit that will be valid
for travelling for 22 days after being issued. (This can all be handled by our
staff members at the Clinic).

For more specific information, please contact their clinic and don’t forget to
them that you heard about Dr. Molina from your amigos at

Dr. Adrian Molina Araya

Escazu, Costa Rica

Phone: (506) 228-1909

Fax (506) 289-9989

E-mail: [email protected] (Checked on Fridays)

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