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

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:

  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 C – 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! CDC Portal 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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Ana Rosales

I am traveling to Guatemala

Ana Rosales

Where can I find the veterinary Health Certificate for dogs and cats both in English and Spanish

Chelsea

Hi! I am traveling with my service dog from Miami to Guatemala City on May 2nd. I’m returning back to Miami on June 2nd. I have applied for the health certificate to leave. It’s looking like I will need to have another health certificate done for my dogs re-entry into the US, correct? (She meets CDC requirements to re-enter without an import permit.)

I’m flying with Avianca and I’ve been trying to get clear word on requirements to prevent any mishaps. Thank you!

Chelsea

Awesome thanks!! So I have to get the health certificate for the airlines? That paragraph is a little confusing as it states the certificate isn’t needed but the export paperwork aka certificate needs approval?

Chelsea

Hey! Just wanted to give you an update! Our trip to Guatemala was smooth as ever! I flew with Avianca out of MIA to GUA, in MIA the airline counter reviewed my paperwork, and then I just went to board! When we arrived in GUA, we got our bags and went through Customs. Customs looked at the health certificate and gave me a stamp for 30 days (the length of my stay) and on we went! Simple and fast! Thank you for your help and input!! I’ll send another update when we get our certificate here in Guatemala to return… Read more »

Jose

Hello,

Thanks for all your notes and details process on how to bring your pet from USA to Guatemala, I am traveling with my puppy this coming wednesday 03/09 and uploaded the rabies signed vaccine certificate with the updated form into VEHCS portal. However, I haven’t received an answer yet, any recommendation? what it will happen if I do not receive the health certificate endorsement?

Jose

Thank you very much again for the detailed information. Our current vet Couldn’t make the certification but We were able to find certified Vet that help us out her in California. It was pricy: health check up, time to fill the application, doctor fee, upload file for a grand total of $460 however, we make it to Guatemala successfully Without major inconvenient. Currently, planning to return home with our puppy and wanted to ask for your help again. By looking into the CDC requirement and because we stay less than one month it looks we count with everything has a valid… Read more »

Scott Woods

Will Guatemala accept a 3-year Rabies? Also, what if you are only traveling through Guatemala on the way to Nicaragua. This will all be in by car and not plane.
Thanks,

Amanda

Hi Deborah, I plan to travel to Guatemala with my dog at the end of January, from Bolivia. I will remain in Guatemala for several years, for work, and my dog will live there with me. I really appreciate your detailed and updated information. However, as I am flying from Bolivia, I cannot get the USDA veterinarian to upload the health certificate, with an eAuthentication account, to the VEHCS portal. Do you have any recommendations for how to find information about taking a dog from Bolivia to Guatemala? The only airline that flies this route, that takes dogs in the… Read more »

Amanda

Hi Deborah, Thanks so much for your timely response and great information.
Do you know if the Nexguard tablet, for internal and external parasites, is sufficient for air travel requirements? Or do I need to inject my dog with a preventive medication?
Thank you!

Lara Latshaw

Hello! I’m driving from the US to Honduras. So the USDA won’t endorse the certificate and are saying they can’t with me driving through Mexico first. Any suggestions? Ty!

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