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Traveling to Guatemala With a Dog: Step-by-Step Guide

Update June 2021

Urgent Update:  Do NOT bring your dog to Guatemala.

Beginning July 14, 2021, there is a temporary suspension for dogs imported from countries that CDC considers high risk for dog rabies

Guatemala is on the list of 113 countries that have the temporary suspension and is considered high risk for dog rabies.

Traveling to Guatemala with a dog – NEW 2021 process

There are important steps you must take to bring a dog to Guatemala and for taking your dog back home from a trip to Guatemala

It is important to distinguish between the airline requirements for bringing dogs to Guatemala and the Guatemala government’s requirements for taking your dog to Guatemala.

This article will share information about both.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to bring a dog to Guatemala.

Step 1 – Health Certificate

Guatemala’s Government Requirements

Here is what you need to take a dog to Guatemala. No matter if you are flying or driving into Guatemala, the government requires 3 things:

  1. Complete the NEW health certificate form for Guatemala >> view here.
    Note: APHIS7001 FORM no longer accepted!

  2. Signed rabies vaccine certificate that is current and will not expire while in Guatemala

  3. Confirmation the dog/cat is being treated for prevention of external and internal parasites

Note: You do not need a “Pet Passport” – this is not part of Guatemala’s official requirements.

bringing dogs to guatemala requires a health check from a certified veterinarian

When traveling with dogs to Guatemala you must prove the dog is healthy.

There is a new health certificate form for Guatemala is called “Veterinary Health Certificate for Export of Dogs, Cats from the United States of America to Guatemala”.  It is in both English and Spanish.

This new health certificate must be completed and signed by USDA Accredited Veterinarian.

Be sure to provide the veterinarian with the address of where you will be staying/living while in Guatemala. This is part of the requirements.

Step 2 – Getting the Health Certificate Endorsed by the USDA Veterinary Services Office

The good news is that you don’t need to go to a Veterinary Services Endorsement office anymore to get the official endorsement stamps. 

Guatemala accepts a digital endorsed health certificate. This is done with the USDA’s online Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS).

 Keep in mind the USDA veterinarian completing the health certificate must have an eAuthentication account in order to submit to the VEHCS portal.

The health certificate is completed within the VEHCS portal.

The signed Rabies Certificate is uploaded into the VEHCS portal as well.

The cost to submit these forms is $38. This is paid through the VEHCS portal.

Once the form is uploaded, a tracking number will be issued.

It can take 3 to 4 days to process. Keep in mind the health certificate is valid for 10 days. 

I was told that once the form is received, they will prioritize according to the travel date.

Common mistakes that are made and can cause a rejection and delay:

–  Rabies Certificate not signed

–  The old form was submitted – not the new one

Once the paperwork is reviewed and endorsed, the veterinarian will print out completed and endorsed forms.  Ask for additional copies or get color copies made.

The airlines will be able to use the same paperwork for their requirments.

You no longer need to go to the Guatemala Consulate to have the health certificate endorse since they allow the USDA Accredited Veterinarians to use USDA’s online Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS) to complete health certificates.

That is huge time and money saver!

USDA government link about bringing pets to Guatemala.

Our experience flying into the Guatemala International Airport with our dogs

Editors note: The following account was done before 2020.

We landed at the Guatemala airport with all our dog’s paperwork stamped and ready for entry into Guatemala.

First, we went through the customs area and had our passports stamped. We kept the dogs in their soft-side carriers during this process.

Next, we picked up our luggage and let the dogs out of their carriers.

We were directed to a government office in the baggage claim area. It was a small room with a desk and a printer/scanner.

The official took all the paperwork and scanned each page into their system, then handed the originals back to us.

The official did not provide any government form stating the dogs were legally admitted to Guatemala.

Before we left the office, I asked if there were any special requirements for taking our dogs home or out of Guatemala. And there were!

Be aware… there are strict requirements for taking a dog home from Guatemala.

In conclusion, I would say the experience of bringing our dogs into Guatemala went smoothly. We followed all the government requirements for traveling to Guatemala with a dog.

We all really enjoyed our 3 months in Guatemala and were so happy to have our girls – Olivia and Sofia with us!

Airlines flying to Guatemala that accept Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Avianca: The transport in cabin of the service dogs, rescue dogs, guide dogs or emotional support dogs has no additional charge.

Aeroméxico – accepts emotional-support pets onboard their flights, in compliance with Air Carrier Access Act.

Volaris – ESAs can travel at no cost on flights within Mexico and from/to Central America only.

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.

Requirements for bringing your dog to the U.S.

Here is a link from the CDC about bringing your pet to US.

As always… Safe Travels!

You may be interested in…

What you need to know about leaving Guatemala with a pet

Our experience attending a pet friendly Spanish school in Guatemala – SISAI Spanish School

Crossing the border in Texas? Checkout this pet friendly (and kid friendly) road trip itinerary with cool places to visit and lodging suggestions.  Pet Friendly Mexico Road Trip

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Andrea

Hello,

Thanks for the instructions, they are really helpful. We are planning to travel to Guatemala In Oct 15 and return mid Nov but are nervous about the temporary suspension from CDC and didn’t understood it quite clearly.

If we bring our dog with us will we be able to bring our dog back to USA?

Our pet is a service dog, Can we get a permit to be able to travel with him and bring him back?

Thanks in advance for your help

Bonnie McCarthy

Thank you so much for this page. We will be traveling to Guatemala in Sept 2021 with my brothers dog (yorkie, Khole) that we have been watching all summer while his family made a permanent move there. I was very unclear (and anxious) about the process of getting her into the country and you have explained it so clearly here. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. A million thanks!

Ingrid

Hello. We noticed the temporary suspension for dogs coming to the US. Does this apply only to dogs that are being shipped for sale? If we bring our service dog to Guatemala for a short 7 day trip, will be able to bring her back to the US? Thank you for a reply

Michelle

You were so helpful the first time I traveled to Guatemla 3 months ago! I made it with both of my pups. All went well. I’m aware of the new CDC restriction on 7/14. But I am leaving Guatemala to Florida on 6/28 to 7/2 and need to bring my oldest pup with me. My Guatemala vet is doing all paperwork for entry to US. But my question is, are you aware if I’m I can just return to Guatemala without seeing a vet again in the US because it’s within the 30 day window if the paperwork being valid?… Read more »

Michelle

Ok, thank you so much for the insight! I appreciate it so much

Yamila Gutierrez

Thank you for the insightful information on your page! Just had one follow-up question, were your pets where able to fly in the cabin with you? Any special insights regarding that experience?

Michelle

Hi there! Me and my husband are heading to Guatemala in about one month. Long term move to do missionary work. The Guatemalan Consulate told me they no longer are, or need to stamp/endorse the The 7001 form after you have it done by the USDA. Has anyone heard this update? Everything I find online is “outdated” but says it needs to be brought to the Consulate as well to be endorsed. HELP! 🙂

Michelle

Awesome!!! Thank you so much. You have eased my mind for sure. I have been a pile of nerves. LOL.

I have heard from many people they don’t even really check paperwork sometimes. But I know leaving back to the US is a chore with the pups! My oldest pup is 13!

Thanks again!!!

Mishelle

Hello,

I’ll be traveling to Guatemala in two weeks and it will be my first time traveling with my dog. Your information was so helpful. Thank you so much for sharing. Did your documentation have to be translated to Spanish or were the English APHIS7001 and Rabbies certificate acceptable?