Step-by-step guide on how to bring your dog to Guatemala
We love Guatemala! We have traveled there over many years. In 2018 we decided to go back to Xela Guatemala to attend our favorite Spanish school for 3 months. However this trip was different because we now travel with our two toy Australian Shepherds – Olivia and Sofia.
Next, I needed to find out what the requirements are for bringing a dog into Guatemala. The information online was mostly about what each airline required, not much about the country’s requirements. For me it raised more questions than answers.
I hope this information below helps you understand the requirements for bringing a dog into Guatemala. Dogs do not have to be quarantined before entering Guatemala, just follow these steps to ensure a smooth travel experience with your pet! Also, there are certain requirements for taking a pet out of Guatemala. Read about that here.
Step 1 – Health Certificate and Other Paperwork:
When traveling from the United States to Guatemala with a dog you need to have a U.S.D.A. accredited veterinarian perform a health-check / physical and then complete a few forms. These forms will state that your dog has been examined, shows no signs of contagious diseases and has been vaccinated with appropriate vaccines. All the forms must be stamped with the veterinarian’s license number and signed.
Note: Be sure to ask for three original copies of each of the following forms once completed.
If you are traveling from the U.S. the most important form is the APHIS7001; in both English and Spanish. This is a United States government form. Most U.S.D.A. certified veterinarians will have this form in both languages. Below is the information you need to provide your veterinarian in order to complete the APHIS7001 form:
- Where you are traveling from – i.e. home address.
- Your destination. Name, address, a phone number of where you are traveling to.
- Name, address and phone number of the owner.
The information the veterinarian will certify on this form is that your dog has been vaccinated for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus. This includes the dates given and the expiration dates. Also the date your dog was last treated against ectoparasites and endoparasites.
– Ectoparasites are: fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Products such as Bravecto or NextGuard prevent ectoparasites.
– Endoparasites are: heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Interceptor is a product commonly used for this.
The APHIS7001 will have a current list of vaccines listed for your dog, However be sure to get a separate list of all the vaccines, printed on your veterinarian’s letterhead.
A vaccine certificate should include any preventative procedures, tests and the vaccines: DHPP booster, respiratory complex intranasal, rabies, plus the last heartworm test, fecal exam and annual exam.
Include the dates when they were given and the expiration date. Make sure that everything is up-to-date and will not expire while you are traveling. Have the list stamped and signed by your veterinarian. This will come in handy when you need get a health certificate for leaving the country with your dog. Make 3 copies.
Three original printouts the rabies certificate signed and stamped by the performing veterinarian. Note: three year rabies vaccines are the standard in the US. Fortunately Guatemala also uses this standard. However, this does not mean it is standard in other countries (or airlines!). More on rabies requirements here.
IN SUMMARY, these three documents are all you need! Some sites will try to sell you a “pet passport” which is just a marketing gimmick because there is no such thing required. All of these certificates are usually provided on the day you bring your dog in for the health exam. There is a certain time frame allowed for the paperwork to be acceptable. For Guatemala it must be dated within 30-days of bringing your dog to Guatemala. However airlines have a different time frame, so be sure to check!.
Step 2 – U.S. Government Stamp of Approval:
Once you have the completed APHIS7001 form and rabies certificate in hand, it must be endorsed (stamped) by the Veterinary Services Endorsement Office. For a list of offices in your state go here.
I highly recommend you make an appointment before hand. If possible, make it for the same day or the day after receiving the completed APHIS7001 form from the veterinarian.
For Olivia and Sofia I tried to make an appointment a month in advance of our departure date. They told me to call back in a few weeks! They only took appointments two weeks in advance of departure.
Once I was able to make an appointment I was so happy I did. When we arrived at 7:30 am for our 8:00 am appointment the waiting room was already full! These folks had not made an appointments and were put on a waiting list. Fortunately we got in at our appointment time. The office took the completed APHIS7001 form and the rabies vaccine certificate at the window. About 30 minutes later they handed back the form with their endorsement stamps. There is a fee associated with each stamp. Information on fees here.
Step 3 – Guatemala Consulate Stamp of Approval:
Yes, you need to have the Guatemala Consulate provide their stamp of approval on the APHIS7001 form and the rabies certificate. Some sites fail to mention this! Find out where the closest consulate is for you here.
For us the process went smoothly. I was not able to make an appointment ahead of time. I was told to just come and wait in line.
After we got the stamps of approval from the Veterinary Services Endorsement Office we drove to the Guatemala Consulate office in downtown LA. It was first-come-first-serve at the Guatemala Consulate. We only stood in line for 10 minutes. They took the stamped APHIS7001 form and rabies certificate and then stapled their form (with stamps) to the APHIS7001 form. We paid $10 per stamp.
Arrival Process at Guatemala City Airport with dogs:
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 carriers. Then we picked up our luggage and let the dogs out of their carriers. We were directed to an office in the baggage claim area to handover the paperwork for the dogs. They took all the paperwork and scanned them into their system, then handed the originals back to us. They did not provide a 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 out of Guatemala. And there were!
Be aware… there are paperwork requirements for LEAVING Guatemala with pets. More on that here.
In conclusion I would say the experience of bringing our dogs into Guatemala went smoothly. We all really enjoyed our time in this beautiful country.
The US Embassy in Guatemala has information about bringing your pet to Guatemala here