Update – June 2022
Guatemala is on the list of 113 countries that have a high rate of dog rabies.
The CDC has lifted the “ban” on dogs entering and leaving Guatemala.
However, there are a few additional requirements you need to know before you go!
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 A – Must haves before you go
Your dog must have…
To be at least 6 months old
A valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate
An ISO-compatible microchip
To be in good health
These are all requirements needed in order to return to the U.S. after visiting Guatemala with your dog.
Step B – 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:
- Have your USDA Accredited Veterinarian use USDA’s online Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS) to complete health certificate for Guatemala.
Note: APHIS7001 FORM no longer accepted!
- Signed rabies vaccine certificate that is current and will not expire while in Guatemala
- 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.
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.
Next… have the APHIS office endorse the health certificate.
APHIS is a branch of the USDA.
It stands for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Step C – Getting the Health Certificate Endorsed by the USDA Veterinary Services Office – APHIS
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 digitally 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.
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.
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.
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
How To Find a USDA Accredited Veterinarian
Guatemala requires that the health certificate be issued (completed, signed, dated) by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian.
A USDA Accredited Veterinarian has completed formal training from the National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) in the state(s) they are licensed to practice medicine in.
Accreditation is state-specific and is voluntary (not all veterinarians are accredited).
Use the NVAP self-search tool for finding accredited veterinarians in your area