How to Travel With a Dog From the United States to Colombia

Jacob taking in the view from our balcony in Envigado.

Jacob taking in the view from our balcony in Envigado.

Moving to Medellin was not a decision that I took lightly. Not only did I have to consider my life and how it would change but I also had to consider how the move would impact Jacob, my dog.

I had heard of dogs being quarantined for days, and even weeks, in airports around the world and I did NOT want my dog to have to suffer because of our move.

Finding useful information (online or over the phone) about importing a dog into Colombia was one hard task but I managed to get everything together and I was able to bring him along for the ride.

This may seem like a bit much, but here’s everything I did in order to get my dog into Colombia…

1. Call the airline you’re traveling with and reserve a spot for your dog. (Yes, you are making reservations for your dog!)

Do this whether your dog will be traveling in the cabin with you or down below with the luggage. This should be done ASAP because airlines only allow a specific number of pets on each flight and the spots fill up quickly.

2. Check the USDA website for any new information regarding pet travel.

The specific page dealing with dogs traveling into Colombia was last updated in September of 1994 but the requirements have not changed. I followed the directions and I had no problems getting Jacob into the country.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/downloads/co_cn.pdf

Jacob all packed and ready to go!

Jacob all packed and ready to go!

3. Make an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian no more than 10 days prior to travel.

During this visit your veterinarian should fill out an International Health Certificate for your dog. Double check all of the information to be sure that everything has been filled out correctly.

(My veterinarian wrote down that my dog was a Chihuahua but he’s a Miniature Pinscher… so proofread!)

At this time the veterinarian might give your dog any other vaccinations that he/she might need in order to get into Colombia.

If you have an overly hyperactive dog, like I do, you might want to ask your veterinarian for some calming aids. My dog slept for hours on the airplane thanks to the calming aids!!!!

4. Send the International Health Certificate to the Veterinarian Services Area Office to get endorsed.

Each state has one of these offices and you can find your states by following this link:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/

Keep in mind that the health certificate should be endorsed in the state in which you are traveling from, not necessarily the state in which you live (I lived in New Jersey but I left from New York, so I got Jacob’s health certificate endorsed in NY).

You will have to send a check/ money order with your dog’s health certificate in order for them to process your request. I think it costs about $35 USD.

You might also want to include a pre-paid, over night, self addressed envelope so that the office sends the certificate back ASAP.

You will only have about a week before traveling to send this paperwork out and get it back!

5. On the day of the trip:

  • Bring the endorsed International Health Certificate (I also brought all of Jacob’s veterinary records and the original copy of his rabies shot)
  • You will have to pay a fee to the airline for traveling with your dog whether he/she is traveling in the cabin or down below (Avianca charged me $100 USD)
  • DON’T FORGET THE CALMING AIDS!!!!

Once you arrive in Colombia you will have to stop in at the DAS office before leaving the airport with your dog. They will make sure that all of your dog’s paperwork is in check and they will also charge you 50,000 COP (which I was not aware of).

Medellin is such a dog friendly place, so if you plan on visiting or moving consider bringing your dog with you. I’ve been to many side-walk restaurants to eat, parks, and shopping centers and they have always welcomed Jacob. I hope I didn’t miss any information here. Be sure to call your airline and the closest Colombian embassy for any new information!

To verify the current requirements for traveling with pets between the USA and Colombia, visit Colombia’s embassy website.

About Ana

Comments

  1. Thanks man, this is great info. I’m probably taking my golden *back* to Colombia soon. Ugh.

    • I know it seems like tons of work but it’s well worth it… and your dog will love Colombia!

      • Hi Ana,

        I love that I found your blog because I am in the EXACT same situation! I am looking for a teaching job in Medellin (I’m from Toronto, Canada), and have a Shih-tzu that we want to take with us.

        We’ve done a short haul flight from Toronto to Nova Scotia with her and it was a nightmare, I’m hoping they give my dog what they gave yours!
        If you don’t mind, please email me back so that I can ask you a few questions about the application process there in Medellin for English jobs.

        Thanks for posting!

  2. Actually, in my case, my golden gets along better in the US (altho he was born and raised in Colombia). The dogs are less aggressive here (he gets in fewer fights) and his skin allergies aren’t as bad.

    Are you absolutely certain that Colombia requires the 7001 be endorsed at the USDA office?

    Thanks!

    • Hi George,
      In New Jersey the health certificate had to be endorsed by the USDA… BUT, my vet didn’t use a 7001 he used a document that was called “United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals”. I know that the website that I mentioned in the blog suggests that you use an APHIS FORM 7001 but my vet didn’t and I had no trouble. Maybe the 7001’s don’t have to be endorsed and all other form do? I’s call your local Colombian embassy or the USDA. Hope this helps!

    • Hello. All the info in this blog is about bringing a dog to Colombia but can you please tell me what do i need to do to take my dog from Colombia into the Unites states.I have the basic info that I found in ICA’s and CDC and APHIS websites like I know I need a health and vaccination certificate but is there a form like the 7001 that the vets is Colombia can used? and does it has to be endorse by ICA as well?. do all the documents ( certificates from the vet, vaccination record, sanitary certificated inspection by ICA( CIS) have to be in English?? do i need to get them translated? if so by whom? any official institution or something??? please heeeeeelpppp!!!!!!

  3. Thanks. We called ICA in Bogota and then at the Rionegro airport. Typically, we got multiple answers and none was particularly clear. This government stuff is hilarious.

  4. I discovered that the “United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals” actually is the same thing as the 7001 form.

    • I guess that since the form didn’t say “7001” I assumed that they were different. Thanks for filling me in!

      • Hi Ana~ We are moving to Medellin in a few months from the USA (Wisconsin), and are hoping to bring our small doggie with us. Can you please email me at Atwaters@colombiaschildren.org (I don’t do these blogs well yet) so that I can ask you any other questions that come up? Your post was VERY helpful! Thank you~ Jennifer

  5. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH THIS WAS VERY HELPFUL =} IM TAKING MY GOLDEN BACK HOME AND I WAS NOT INFORMED AT ALL ABOUT THE ENDORSEMENT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE …NOW I HV TO RUSH BC MY TRIP IS COMING UP!

  6. We got our golden here safely from Miami. It was such a weird experience but it worked out alright. I got the 7001 form, got it endorsed in Pennsylvania (even tho the dog flew out of Miami it was fine), got a rabies certificate and a letter from the vet. Avianca refused to take him but Tampa Cargo got him on the same Avianca flight I went on! In fact he went into the same compartment with a smaller dog that Avianca deigned to carry as checked baggage. The paperwork and cost with Tampa were reasonable. I’d use them again.

    In Colombia, the authorities let me pick him up without too much runaround. I had to visit the ICA office and the DIAN. They had to type up some paperwork and then I got him. I also had to pay the ICA some money.

    • George, did Colombia require a Microchip on your dog? Other than the vaccination records and 7001 form what else does Colombia require?

      I’m moving to Bogota in January and it’s been hard getting contact the embassy here to get any information. I just want to make sure all my stuff is in order.

      Thanks

      Dan

      • Nope, no microchip required for Colombia.

        In my paperwork I also included a letter from the vet saying that the dog was healthy, had his vaccines, blah blah blah. But I think just the 7001 and rabies shot certification would have done it.

        The embassy will likely not be of any assistance to you on this. Good luck!

  7. Kathleen says:

    Does anyone know any information on taking a cat into Medellin, Colombia?
    From what I can find, it looks like the only vaccination needed in rabies?
    Any advice/info would be greatly appreciated!
    -Kathleen

  8. i will be moving to collage next year to colombia medellin and i have a toy Chihuahua(she is like half the size of yours) she is about 5years old. i don’t want to leave her because she becomes very deppressed and doesn’t eat and crys all night when i’m not home, and i’m afriad she might die.but about papers and all that i’m not sure i have any because i’ve moved alot thus changing vets and the current vet i go to is in mexico since i live so close and my family has tons of dogs. she is not fixed because they told us they was always a risk of her diying being so small and now she is older so we deffently can’t. do ou think that is a problem? she is an inside dog she sleeps with me she is like my little ugly baby haha. i don’t want to leave her and ill do anything to take her well as long as she will be okay with the move the last move we took she had no problem ajusting but this one would be to an oe contry nd im scared she might take the move bad….thankyou atleast i know now it is possible to take her:)

    • George Donnelly says:

      It shouldn’t be a problem. Just get your paperwork in order. Ask your vet to help you and bring all your records. Good luck. It shouldn’t be very hard.

  9. I will be moving to Bogota in late August and will be bringing my cat with me. I will be taking my cat to the Vet on August 5th and then immediately be sending the paperwork to the USDA. I then will be leaving the cat with family in another state while I travel to Bogota looking for an apartment, car, etc and will fly back to pick up the cat and permanently move on August 28th. That’s 23 days from vet appointment to flight. Do you think that will be a problem? I’ve been reading that you need the vet and USDA approval within 10 days of travel.

    However, that just won’t be possible due to the schedule we are following. Who should I call to obtain approval?

    • George Donnelly says:

      Yes, that’s enough time, but yes you also definitely have to wait until 10 days (better:less) before your flight. Do you know where the USDA office for the state you live in? If you can’t go there yourself, fedex the documents in. Have you contacted them? They may have some useful advice for you.

  10. Thank you so much for this info!!! Im taking my maltese with me… I’m so happy I get to bring her in the cabin with me. Also, about those 50.000 COP! good to know!! :) thanx!

  11. Hello. May I import a hamster to columbia. I can’t find any information about it.
    Please reply quick. I’m leaving from Mexico to USA to Columbia in 4 days
    Thanx

  12. Wow great read!!!!

  13. does your dog have to be microchipped?

  14. Kari Redmond says:

    Hey there- I am hoping to move to Barranquilla in January and will be bringing my 2 cats. My mom will be traveling with me so we can each take one on the flight. I love all the research you did and find it very helpful. I am wondering if you know if everything is pretty much the same for cats as it is for dogs. Also is there any quarentine either way? Or other fees I should know about? Thanks so much!

    • I am moving to Bogota this month. I have gotten several different answers on what is needed to take my two cats with me. Both are chipped and up to date on shots. My vet knows about the form. My only question is do I have to get it verified by the vet in Richmond. No one has called me back, from either the Colombian consulate or the federal bigwigs in Richmond. If I find anything else out, I’ll post again.

      • George Donnelly says:

        This is a straightforward procedure. The vet does an exam and signs a form, probably one for each animal. Then you take the forms to a certain federal office and they give it their stamp. This costs money too.

        I’m pretty sure I documented this above.

        • Brian Moody says:

          George when you arrived in Bogota with your dog, did you fly him to Medellin? Or make the drive ?

          • FYI! You cant bring an amstaff, pitbull, or staffy bull into Colombia. There is a law against importing those breeds. That was a deal breaker for me. Even with dual citizenship theres no way Id move back now. What an idiotic law.

  15. Dear Ana,

    Great info, but you didn’t mention Colombia now requires according to the USDA office that the health certificate be issued and stamped no more than 48 hours prior to flight. and FYI, I’m taking my 2 pinchers end of Nov to stay with my brothers in Envigado. my female Kahlua looks like your Jacob, would live to meet you guys! email me at claudia41@comcast.net

  16. Claudia- I’ve read this too recently. Does this mean that the visit to the vet ALSO has to be done within 48 hours? Or can it be done before 10 days and THEN the USDA has to sign off WITHIN 48 hrs of departure?

    Thanks

    • Just FYI- I called ICA today (INSTITUTO COLOMBIANO AGROPECUARIO) and they confirmed the vet exam needs to be done within 10 DAYS before departure. THEN the USDA office also has to sign/stamp the certificate within 10 DAYS (NOT 48 hours). The 48 hours is just the amount of time it takes the USDA offices to return the paperwork back to you.

  17. Excellent article. Sounds pretty much like Panama so that settles it. Colombia it is!

  18. su min oh says:

    hi I am from south korea, i am planning to live in bogota for 3yrs but i donno how i can take her. shes month old more than 65 days and she has done 1st vaccination. my familly are planning to stay inL.A for five days and i don no what to do. do you know what i should bring when i go there. could you tell me what i should do??

  19. Caro VR says:

    Thank you for this article, it is very helpful!
    My husband and I are traveling to Medellin in 3 weeks and we would like to bring our two dogs. Does the form the vet fill out have to be in Spanish or it could be in English?
    Also, we’re staying just for few weeks, Does anyone know the procedure to bring them back? Will we have to do the same thing in Colombia in order to bring them back to States?

    Thank you!

  20. Maria Crilley says:

    Best help ever !! We’ll done ! Congrats !!

Speak Your Mind

Comment Policy: Please use your real name. If you use your company name or keywords instead, it'll be deleted. If it is your first time leaving a comment, or you include a URL, it will be held for moderation. Other than that, please keep it polite and respectful.


*


9 + = 18