Update – January 2023
Good news! The United States CDC has reduced the restrictions of allowing dogs who have been to Guatemala to enter the United States.
Guatemala is still considered High Risk, however if your furry friend meets the following criteria, it will be allowed into the United States.
Regulations For Dogs Who Have Visited Guatemala (and Returning To The United States)
If your dog has had a rabies vaccine/booster administered by a US-licensed veterinarian then it will be allowed into the United States if it meets the following criteria:
- Has a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate
- Has proof of an ISO-compatible microchip*
- Is at least 6 months old
- Is healthy upon arrival
- Arrives at an approved port of entry
*Check with the microchip company to determine if it is ISO-compatible. Proof of a microchip by listing it on a rabies vaccine certificate, or health certificate or a printout from the website where the microchip is registered.
Regulations For Dogs Who Are From Guatemala (Traveling To The United States)
To enter the United States, you must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit.
Be sure to allow 8 weeks for the CDC to process the paperwork for the Dog Import Permit.
Before applying, make sure your dog meets the following criteria:
• Be at least 6 months old
• Have proof of an ISO-compatible microchip*
• Have a valid foreign rabies vaccination certificate
• Have a valid rabies serologic titer test from an approved laboratory
• Arrive at one of the 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station.
*Proof of a microchip by listing it on a rabies vaccine certificate, or health certificate.
The microchip required to enter the U.S. is 15-digits.
You can get this ISO-compatible microchip from ACANGUA in Guatemala City.
ACANGUA is the registry of purebred dog pedigrees in Guatemala, similar to the AKC in United States.
Note: Although there is not a CDC approved lab in Guatemala, it is OK to use any lab that is on their approved list.
Learn more about getting a titer test done for a Guatemalan dog here.
When flying into the U.S. from Guatemala with a dog, make sure to use one of the following 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station:
Los Angeles (LAX)
New York (JFK)
San Francisco (SFO)
San Juan (SJU)
Washington DC (IAD)
Guidelines for leaving Guatemala with a dog
Here is a summary of what you will need to leave Guatemala with a dog.
- Health certificate from a licensed veterinarian in Guatemala.
- An export certificate from the Ministerio de Agracultura Ganaderia y Alimentación (MAGA).
- An up-to-date rabies vaccine certificate from the country of origin.
- Proof of all vaccinations – vaccine card.
- The CDC Dog Import Certificate (if traveling to the U.S.) Refer to the section above for more details.
Your dog must have a health check-up exam from a licensed Guatemalan veterinarian.
Whether you are driving or flying out of Guatemala, the exam should be done no more than 15-days before your date of departure.
Check with the airlines because some require the health certificate be no more than 7 days old.
If you are driving out of Guatemala, north through Mexico, you have a 15-day window to cross the border into Mexico.
The dog must show no signs of contagious diseases and has been vaccinated with all the appropriate vaccines.
What the health certificate must include:
Keep in mind there isn’t a specific health certificate form to fill out (such as in the U.S.).
Therefore, the doctor must type up the information on company letterhead paper and provide the following
a) The address of where you are living now (in Guatemala) and the address of where you will be taking your dog – your destination.
b) Record/listing of all vaccines, dates administered and expiration dates. This includes the DHPP booster, respiratory complex intranasal, rabies, plus dates of the last heartworm test, fecal exam and annual exam.
c.) Confirmation the dog has been treated against ectoparasites and endoparasites.
– Ectoparasites are: fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Products such as Bravecto or NexGard Spectra prevent ectoparasites.
– Endoparasites are: heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
d) Also required is confirmation that the dog’s rabies vaccines are up to date and meet importing country and airline requirements. If traveling to the United States, refer to the section above.
e) A photocopy of the veterinarian’s license.
If you brought your dog into Guatemala, you will have to provide the Guatemala veterinarian an original Rabies Certificate signed and stamped by the veterinarian who administered the rabies vaccine in the first place.
It’s always a good idea to ask your main veterinarian for several original copies of the rabies certificates before traveling.
If you are flying out, you will need the export certificate from the Ministerio de Agracultura Ganaderia y Alimentación (MAGA). If you are driving out of Guatemala, you do not need the export certificate.
The process for getting an export certificate is done through the veterinarian.
Here are the steps your veterinarian will take:
First step: Getting the official QR codes from the Coleǵio de Mêdicos Veterinarios y Zootecnistas de Guatemala.
In order to get the QR codes, the veterinarian will deposit the amount due for the QR codes (Q400) plus a processing fee (Q50) in the specified Banrual bank account.
Next, the veterinarian will upload the proof of payment and the required application with your pet’s information to the Coleǵio de Mêdicos Veterinarios y Zootecnistas de Guatemala website portal.
After that, the veterinarian will receive an email with the QR codes (a PDF).
Certificado Zoosanitario – Export Certificate
In order to get the export certificate, the veterinarian will need to provide the Ministerio de Agracultura Ganaderia y Alimentación (MAGA) the following:
Complete the form “Solicitud de Certificado Zoosanitario International de Exportación”.
(Request of International Zoosanitary Certificate For Exportation)
Next, provide a health certificate for your pet, proof of vaccines and rabies certificates, and the QR codes.
The veterinarian will also deposit a fee (Q48) into the specified Banrual bank account for the MAGA.
The veterinarian will upload the proof of payment along with the health certificate, the rabies and vaccine certificates, the QR codes along with his/her veterinarian license to the Ministerio de Agracultura Ganaderia y Alimentación (MAGA) website portal.
Then MAGA will issue the export certificate within 24 hours.
If you are driving out, you do not need the QR codes and export certificate.
You will need the health certificate, the rabies certificate and vaccine card.
Remember to always check on the requirements for the country you are driving to from Guatemala (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador).
Note: make at least 3 photo copies of everything.
Airport Check-in with your dog
Fortunately, the airport in Guatemala City is not very big and there are a few grassy areas for your dog to use before heading into the building.
At the check-in counter the airline representative will ask for all the paperwork for your dog.
Then they will call over a government official (not airline official) to view the paperwork.
Once it is determined everything is in order the airline official will make copies of all the documents and begin the check-in process.
I have heard stories of folks who did not get all the required paperwork for their dog and were not able to board the airplane with their pet.
It is important to be informed before you go!
Staying Less 30-Days? Read this!
If you are staying in Guatemala less than 30-days you can use the same paperwork (used to enter) to exit Guatemala.
No need to get another Health Certificate and Export paperwork for your dog. Saving time and money!
Be sure to inform the MAGA/SEPA Inspector stationed at the Guatemala airport that you are staying less than 30-days. Then get a copy of the MAGA/SEPA paperwork so you can use it to exit Guatemala with your dog/cat.
Read the Guatemala Government Requirements for entering and leaving Guatemala with a pet.
Airlines flying to Guatemala that accept Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
Aeroméxico – accepts emotional-support pets onboard their flights, in compliance with Air Carrier Access Act.
COPA – Emotional support dogs will only be accepted on routes where they are recognized in the country’s regulations: to or from Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Mexico.
Update on driving out of Guatemala with a dog
Editor Note about driving out of Guatemala to Mexico with a dog. I recently heard (May 2021) from a reader who was kind enough to write me back about her experience driving from Guatemala to Mexico with her dog.
She went to the border crossing at Tecun Uman/Ciudad Hidalgo.
When she arrived at the border she asked where she needed to show the health certificate in order to cross into Mexico.
The Guatemala border agents said they did not need to see the health certificate and that the Mexico border agents will take care of all that.
When she got to the Mexico border agents, she handed over the health certificate.
Her dog was examined by them. As she held the dog, they looked in her ears and at her teeth.
She said it was a very smooth and easy process.
Determining If You Can Bring a Dog into the United States – From the CDC
CDC Dog Import Permit FAQs – a good source of information especially about bringing an adopted “street dog” into the U.S.
Learn more about getting a titer test done for a Guatemalan dog here.
List of High Risk Counties
You may also be interested in…
U.S. airlines no longer allow Emotional Support Animals.
Crossing the border in Texas? Details about crossing the border at the Columbia Bridge crossing (near Laredo Texas)
Pet Friendly Mexico Road Trip Checkout this pet friendly (and kid friendly) road trip itinerary with cool places to visit and lodging suggestions.
We are planning on driving from the United States to Costa Rica with 4 dogs. Is it necessary to meet the requirements of each of the Countries as you pass through. Any resources?
Hola Jack! Unfortunately there is no reciprocation between countries when it comes to health certificates for pets. You will have to meet the pet requirements for import/exporting of your dogs for each country. The veterinarians in each country will know what the pet import regulations are for the neighboring country. There are always veterinarians near the border crossings. As long as you have rabies certificates from a licensed U.S. veterinarian for each dog, plus a few copies of their vaccine records and parasite prevention, you will be good to go. =8-) It’s just a hassle to get health certificates for… Read more »
As far as resources go: IOverlander app (gives great info for each town and border Xing – (gas stations, hotels. camping, food shopping). Also WAZE for mapping. So much better than Google maps. Plus you can connect with other travelers if you want while stuck in a traffic jam to find out what’s happening (for example). A translator app if you are not fluent in Spanish.
Hope that helps! =8-)
Thank you. As I expected unfortunately. Best
Hello, how do I find a vet in Guatemala who can issue a certificate? Do you know of any resources for this? Thank you!
If you are in Xela, I can recommend the veterinarian we used. Let me know.
Otherwise, you could contact the ACANGUA group.
They are the association for registering purebred dogs. Similar to the AKC in the U.S.
They are located in Guate City. WhatsApp: 502 5559-5409.
Great information Thank you, I’m planning to go to guatemala in May with my little pomapoo, do you know how soon do I need to get the cdc rabies vaccination and microchip record from my vet?, 10 days before flying?
You can get the rabies certificate and microchip record now. These are not time sensitive documents.
The Health Certificate is the one that is time sensitive and needs to be done within a 5 to 10 day window depending on the airline you are flying. =8-)
Enjoy your time in Guatemala!
Thank you very much for responding, your information is very helpful.
My pleasure to help! =8-)
Hi all i have found this 6 month puppy in the streets in Guatemala. She it is vaccinated and examined by a local veterinarian but i’m not sure what else i need to take this poor puppy to the United States with me…
Please refer to the section “Regulations For Dogs Who Are From Guatemala (Traveling To The United States)”. If you have a specific question on the process outlined above, please let me know. Safe travels! =8-)
Does anyone know a good veterinarian in Guatemala City that is which is affordable. I just asked for a quote for a health certificate for Q1850, which is about 242 Euro! That can’t be true, can it? I need a health Certificate to fly back to Mexico.
Perhaps you could try contacting the ACANGUA group.
They are the association for registering purebred dogs.
They are located in Guate City. WhatsApp: 502 5559-5409.
Maybe they know of some reasonable priced veterinarians.
Best of luck! =8-)
Thank you! Will contact them!
Could you provide contact info for a vet in Antigua who is experienced with the full process for a US dog visiting Guatemala to return to the US?
I am not familiar with any veterinarians in Antigua. However, Antigua has a lot of expats living there (more than any other place in Guate). I would confidently guess that most of the veterinarians in Antigua have the knowledge on exporting dogs/cats from Guatemala to the US and Canada.
Please feel free to let us, the readers know, who you end up using in Antigua, for future reference.
Safe Travels! =8-)
Hi do we still need 9 maga stamp! We just got export cert and it does not have 9 maga stamps on health cert. vet says export cert is all I need.
Hola Jaeson! Thank you for the question! Your vet is correct. The MAGA stamps have been replaced with MAGA QR codes. It is Q400 plus Q48 processing fee. Your vet should print out the QR codes to go along with the health certificate and export certificate. =8-)
Helpful information. Could you please let me know how do I get a serology titer test from Guatemala. My husband is US citizen and just moved to work to USA. I am planning to travel by air with my dog in about two months to de United States from Guatemala. Her birth certificate indicates only my name as the owner. thanks for your help.
Thank you so much for the question. =8-)
It was perfect timing because I just finished an article on how to get a titer test done for Guatemalan dogs.
Here is the link. After you read it, let me know if I answered all your questions or not. Feedback most appreciated!
Very clear. The information helped me a lot.
Do you know if the microchip thas has my dog, the one with 10 digit is still valid or she should have the 15 digit code.
Hum… I do not know. However, since the CDC’s website says “have an ISO-compatible microchip” I would guess it doesn’t matter if it is 10-digists or 15-digists as long as it is ISO-compatible.
Check with the microchip company or your vet to determine whether your dog’s microchip is ISO-compatible.
Also, make sure to have proof of a microchip by listing it on a rabies vaccine certificate, or health certificate or a printout from the website where the microchip is registered.
Good question! Thanks for asking. =8-)
Hello I have 2 Dogos in Guatemala and my wife just got her green card if I travel by land to the US is it much easier to take my fury friend with me? Anyone here have gone by land from Guatemala to the US ? If so is it much easier and what is needed? Other than the Mexican documents for my pets? Will CBP at Texas boader ask for anything? Please help cause I am traveling by land and I have had my dogs with me for years. They were born in GT and are up to date… Read more »
Hola Amilcar… You mentioned your wife’s status but not your legal status for the U.S. If you are a US citizens and lawful resident bringing your dog with you to the U.S. – there is a process. You could apply for a dog import permit. More info can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/apply-dog-import-permit.html If you are not any of the above, and your dog got its rabies vaccine in Guatemala, it will not be allowed into the U.S. (right away). There may be a way around this. Driving from Guatemala into Mexico is less expensive because you do not need to… Read more »
Hello thank you for your feed back. Yes I am a US Citizen and my wife a new PR and are relocating. I have requested 2 dog imports for both my pets but haven’t had a answer yet so I was just curious if anyone has traveled by land from GT to the US and yes I am aware of Mexicos requirements for pets entering their country. I will try my luck and I pray hopefully they will let us in with out any issues
Thank you for the helpful information! We are hoping to travel with our 1.5 year old dog to Guatemala this summer from New York. Is our interpretation correct that if our dog received his rabies vaccination in the US and if are returning to the US through an approved port of entry (JFK), then we do not need to worry about an export license or a visit to a Guatemalan vet in order to return to the US? I saw someone mention that they needed to visit the Ohio consulate below – what is that for and would we need… Read more »
Hola Jill! Thank you for the question. Since you are flying in and out of Guatemala you will need an export certificate from the Guatemala government. The export certificate is basically the health certificate from a Guatemala veterinarian. This health certificate is then sent to a government office in Guatemala City to get the M.A.G.A stamps (which I explain about in my post). Before you fly out of Guatemala, they will check to see if you got the M.A.G.A. stamps on the health certificate. You do not need to visit the Guatemala consulate before flying into Guatemala. Everything is done… Read more »