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.
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:
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.