Driving to Mexico with a dog is less stressful now that Mexico has new pet requirements for entering Mexico from the U.S. and Canada by car.
In November 2019, Mexico relaxed the regulations about bringing pets to Mexico.
Bringing Pets to Mexico – US/Canadians only
Note: Only dogs and cats are considered pets by Mexico’s definition.
What changed for driving to Mexico with pets?
As of November 2019, driving to Mexico with your dog or cat, you do not need to spend the money to go to a veterinarian and get a health certificate.
You do not need to have a veterinarian provide proof that the pet has had parasite prevention.
You do not need to provide a rabies certificate for your dog or cat.
What has not changed
- Only a small amount of dog food is allowed to be brought into the country (enough for a week or two is OK)
Here is a link from the USDA confirming the new requirements for bringing pets to Mexico.
Will my dog be inspected at the border?
Mexico border agents are not OISA officers. Therefore they are not part of the SAGARPA-SENASICA which oversees the importation of animals.
There is not an OISA office at the border. No one is there to inspect your pet.
Documents to have while traveling
Although Mexico does not require a health certificate to enter with your dog, it is always a good idea to have following documentation with you:
- An up-to-date rabies certificate. You may be asked to present it when entering back into the U.S.
- Vaccination record of vaccines and due dates
- Record of medications for flea/ticks/mites and lice. Plus, heart worm prevention.
Crossing the border back into the U.S.
UPDATE June ’21: Although Mexico no longer requires proof of the rabies vaccine for your dog or cat you will need to bring the up-to-date rabies certificate with you in order to enter back into the U.S. with your pet.
Reason: On July 14 2021, the CDC put a temporary suspension on dogs entering the U.S. from countries that have a high risk of dog rabies.
113 countries are on this list – Mexico is NOT on this list. View list
However, when you enter the United States, they may ask where your pet is coming from. At this time you will provide a verbal statement that your dog(s) lived in a country that is NOT high risk for at least 6 months.
They may ask to see your passport for proof.
More from the CDC on bringing your pet in to the U.S.
NEW Visitors Permits Requirements (for humans)
Getting a FMM is not the same as it used to be. The Mexico Immigration Office no longer allows tourists to visit Mexico for up to 180-days automatically.
A FMM is a visitors permit, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM. It is what you need to enter Mexico legally.
When driving across the border you will be required to complete the FMM card at the immigration office.
Often times the desk for the FMM is in the same building where the desk is for the TIP (temporary import permit, for cars) is located.
The immigration official will ask how long you intend to stay in Mexico.
Be sure to let them know your plans so that they provide you with sufficient days for your visit.
The immigration official may ask for proof of how long you are staying; such as hotel, Airbnb, and VRBO reservations. If you are flying out, show the airline ticket.
Be sure to surrender your FMM and TIP when leaving Mexico!
Their new systems will keep track of your entry and departure. The officials will look you up on their system before determining how many days they allow you to stay in Mexico.
You can learn more about the FMM here.
The GrinGO App for traveling in Mexico.
WAZE is the best app for directions and up-to-date information on accidents and where the police are. All information is supplied by other drivers. It is also a great resource to contact other drivers around you to find out why you find yourself stuck in traffic.
Another great resource is the private Facebook group called On The Road To Mexico. Even if you are not a fan of FB, this private group is well worth joining.
There are 56K+ members who can help to answer your questions real-time with up-to-date travel information all throughout Mexico.
Google Translate, as it allows you to use your phone’s camera to translate menus, signs, ads etc if you are not familiar with Spanish.
WhatsApp for free texting and internet phone calls all over the world.
Uber and DiDi for ride -share services. Very inexpensive in Mexico. Note: not all states in Mexico allow ride-share services.
As always… safe travels!