2015-06-23 12:07:49

To be allowed to travel with you to Costa Rica, your pet must have a passport and a health certificate, accompanied by a vaccination certificate.

Wondering how travel to Costa Rica with your pet? Find some tips in this article for a safe expatriation.

If you are planning to move to Costa Rica, you will probably want your pet to accompany you during the trip. It is best to inquire about related formalities before proceeding, but these should not be complicated. Like most countries worldwide, Costa Rica is also very open towards pets, whether these are dogs, cats, etc.


First of all, your pet must have a pet passport or a health certificate for the transportation of pets. The pet passport must be signed and stamped by a licensed veterinary and the health authorities in your home country provided your pet's vaccines have been updated. In this case, you do not have to produce a pet health certificate.

The pet health certificate, if it applies, must state that your pet is healthy, that it is not suffering from any infectious or contagious disease, and that it has received treatment against internal and external parasites.


The following vaccinations are compulsory before traveling to Costa Rica: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for more than four months old pets). Note that the rabies vaccine must be administered at least one month before your pet's scheduled arrival date in Costa Rica. The rabies vaccination in the country is valid for one year.

Costa Rican veterinarians also recommend pets to be vaccinated against the corona-virus. The vaccine's validity generally varies according to the pet's age and international regulations that are known to veterinarians.


You do not have to apply for a pet import permit if your pet has been declared as personal or hand luggage. However, local health authorities will request you a pet import permit issued by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health if the animal has been transported by air freight.

To apply for the pet import permit, you have to produce a duly filled and signed application form Departamento de Cuarentena Anima before departure (it can be faxed or mailed). Thereafter, you are required to call at the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal (SENASA), within 48 hours following your arrival, to recover the pet import permit. Note that you will have to produce the international health certificate for the transit of pets issued by a licensed veterinarian in your home country. Fees of US$ 15 apply.

 Good to know:

If these steps seem complicated to you, you can also seek the assistance of an intermediary.

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Moving to Costa Rica with pets Forum 
Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal (SENASA) www.senasa.go.cr

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.