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Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Updated March 2022

Whether you are driving or flying to Mexico, traveling with dogs to Mexico is easy.

In 2020 the Mexican government – the OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) – dropped the requirement to provide a Health Certificate from a veterinarian. HOWEVER only

IF you are coming from Canada or the United States.

When flying into Mexico with your pet, a staff member of OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) will perform a brief physical inspection of your pet.

At the airport the OISA office will verify:

  • That there are no signs of infectious and contagious diseases
  • That it is free of ectoparasites = fleas, ticks, mites, and lice
  • That there are no fresh or healing wounds
  • Check for up-to-date rabies vaccine certificate

The OISA offices are at the international airports, not at the border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico.

What has not changed:

  • Only a small amount of dog food is allowed to be brought into the country. (another words, don’t bring several months worth of food)
  • Any type of disposable bedding the dog was transported in, must be thrown away. For example, newspapers or sawdust or rags (pertains to dogs flying in a crate)

Notice from the USDA about the requirements for traveling to Mexico with pets.

Driving to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada

If you are driving to Mexico with your dog, 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. (You will need a rabies certificate to enter back into the U.S.)

Note: Please refer to the section regarding entering back into the U.S. with a pet and the new process.

As a side note, the Mexico border agents are not OISA officers and are not part of the SAGARPA-SENASICA.

OISA offices are not at the U.S. border crossings.  There is no one who will ask to inspect your dog at the border.

The OISA offices are at the airports.

NEW Airline Process For FLYING To Mexico With A Pet

Flying from the U.S. and Canada (only) into Mexico with a pet, some airlines have stopped requiring a health certificate to bring your pet on board the airplane with you. Note: if your is dog is flying in cargo, it still needs a health certificate.

The airlines – Delta and United – do not clearly state on their website whether or not a Health Certificate is required.

Alaska Airlines does clearly state that a health certificate is not required. Kudos to Alaska Air for documenting this on their website.

Alaska-airlines-pet-policy

I called Delta and United directly (was on hold for over an hour) and when I finally was able to speak to someone, they could not find any documentation stating a health certificate was required. Therefore, they concluded a health certificate is not required to fly on their airline.

 

Aeroméxico does require a health certificate and rabies certificate in order to fly on their airline. I would also like to point out that the airline has recently updated their ESA policy and now require a medical certificate from a psychiatrist (not psychologists).

More information about Aeroméxico can be found here:

A rabies certificate is required when flying into the United States. So, make sure you bring this with you before flying anywhere with your pet.


Click on my link above “New Process For Entering Back Into The U.S. With A Pet” for more information.

If you are interested in understanding the difference between Service Animals and Emotion Support Animals please read my article here.

What Happens Upon Landing At An Airport in Mexico?

Once you land at the airport, the airport officials will direct you to the OISA office inside the airport.

They will conduct a brief physical inspection and ask for a rabies vaccine certificate for your pet.

This only applies to pets originating from the U.S. and Canada. If you are flying in from any other country to Mexico, a health certificate is required.

Also, as of 2021 U.S. airlines no longer allow Emotional Support Animals.

Rabies Certificate

The rabies vaccination certificate must include all of the following information:

  • Name and address of the owner
  • Breed, sex, date of birth, color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
  • Vaccine product information – name, lot number
  • Date of rabies vaccination
  • The date the vaccination will expire
  • Name, license number, address, and signature of the veterinarian who administered the vaccination

Check the rabies certificate to make sure it does not expire while in Mexico!

If it does, this is a reason your dog may be turned away at the airport.

It’s always a good idea to ask the veterinarian for several original copies of the rabies certificates.

travelingwith2dogs.com
Sofia getting parasite prevention medicine

Returning Home With Your Pet

Bringing your dog back to the U.S. from Mexico

The CDC has strict guidelines 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 

No matter what country you are coming from, the US requires an up-to-date rabies certificate be presented upon entering with  a pet.

More from the CDC on bringing your pet to the U.S.

NEW Visitors Permits Requirements (for humans) – FMM

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 or flying across the border into Mexico you will be required to complete the FMM card.

When flying, the airlines will hand the FMM card to you.

When driving across the border, generally 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 (for cars) 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.

Travel Resources

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 Traveles!

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Thinking of moving to Mexico? Check out the new 2021 Immigration Guide from  Mexperience.

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Analysis on just how pet friendly some Airbnbs really are! Review on 10 Pet Friendly Airbnbs in Mexico

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Sunny

Hello. Just needed some help. I’ll be flying from NY to Cancun, and then coming back from Cancun to NJ (Newark airport). I’ll be flying JetBlue both ways. They don’t seem to have accurate information about coming back into the states. But it seems like each state has their own requirement. The latest information I have on NJ is from 2017 and it states my dog would need a health certificate to come back. Anybody have any updates or recent experiences?

Sunny

I spoke to a representative from New Jersey’s department of agriculture and they said I would need a health certificate and rabies certificate to come back to NJ from Cancun. I want to be safe and just get the health certificate but I’m unsure if it has to be endorsed by the USDA/APHIS… this will take weeks and there will be extra fees. I’m not sure if I’m thinking too into it and being way too cautious… I don’t want my dog to be sent back to origin of departure….

Tarah

Hello furbaby parents! Wanted to provide a little info on my travels from the US to Cancun and then on to Tulum yesterday 3/6. I flew Delta with my 2 small dogs (6lbs and 8lbs in the same carrier for $200 each way). Delta didn’t require any information regarding my dogs. However, Mexico does require US citizens to show proof of rabies vaccination. US citizens do not need a Certificate of Health any longer. Once I went through customs and picked up my luggage, we then met with SENASICA. They inspected my dogs for fleas and ear mites. They also… Read more »

Sunny

Hello. I am flying from New York to Cancun Mexico and then coming back to arrive in Newark New Jersey. I know USA in general requires proof of rabies certificate, but it seems like each state has their own requirements. Is this true? New York doesn’t require a health certificate to come back but it looks like New Jersey does… not sure if this is updated because the information seems like it’s from 2017. Anybody have any recent updates or experiences?

Tarah

Hello, the US only requires proof of rabies vaccine for US citizens. I recently flew to Cancun with my dogs from JFK.

Jamie

Hello. All your information is fantastic and very helpful I’m planning to leave Canada to Puerto Vallarta. As I understand, Mexican customs will only do an inspection and ask for rabies vaccination. I’m looking at flights on Areomexico and they seem to be a bit strict. As I understand they want a health certificate even though I’m Canadian. They also state “Pets shall have been dewormed and deloused no less than six months prior to their arrival into Mexico. Documentation stating the name of the product used and the date of application is required” Is this actually needed? Leaving Mexico… Read more »

Natalie

Hi! I was just reading your comment and had very similar questions since I’ll be traveling with my dog from Los Angeles to Mexico City. Did you already travel to Mexico? I’m leaving in a few weeks and still unsure if I really need the certificate of good health. Did Aeromexico check for the certificate? I’ve talked to several people at Aeromexico and they all say the certificate of good health is required and when I’ve mentioned that the SENASICA office says it’s not, they’ve then given me contradicting replies. It’s been confusing to say the least. Hope you have… Read more »

Natalie

Ok. Good to know. Thanks!

Yvette

Wow, Thank you for your wonderful information & this site, so helpful! I’m flying from San Francisco, CA to Puerto Vallarta. I’m bringing my 8lb Chihuahua dog. I have her rabies certificate, it’s good for 3 years & she got her vaccine for it last year. Hoping that’s okay. I’m also bringing her current record of other vaccinations. I’m not planning to get a health certificate as I’ll be flying Alaska Air or United, (I read both don’t require a heath cert & neither does Mexico) My main questions are: -Does Mexico require specific vaccinations on dogs? -Does the U.S.… Read more »

Courtney

Hi! This was all very helpful and I’m so thankful that you took the time to write this. I’m going to be traveling in about a week with my 7 pound Pomeranian. He has bad anxiety and scratches a lot. He does have a few scabs but they are healing quickly. Do you know what happens if he doesn’t pass the health inspection?

Julia

Thank you so much for all the information! Planning on traveling to Mexico in February with my 2 dogs, and you have answered every question I had in mind! Thank you will be following for more 🙂

Julia

Hi again Deborah, I just checked and it looks like most of the local airlines in Mexico are asking for the health certificate for domestic flights, and it has to be issued within 5 days before the flight. So it looks likes I’m going to need to find in Cancun the local official veterinarian for this, as i’m planning to fly to Mexico City from Cancun. Are you familiar with the procedure and if so can you direct me to the right vet. please? Thank you in advance for any insight!

Nini

Hello, thank you for the helpful information!

I’m going to be leaving Mexico for the UK with my cat next month and I am a little bit confused by the following information on AeroMexico’s website:

Animal Health Export Certificate from SAGARPA – SENASICA: issued by a veterinary physician on letterhead paper printed with the veterinary physician’s professional ID number) (except on flights into the US and Canada)”

What is this certificate they mention? Is it separate from the health check certificate from the vet?

Nini

Thank you very much!

Bill

Thank you for posting all of this helpful information! My wife and I are flying to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and plan to bring our 4 lb dog with us.  I was wondering if you could answer the following two questions: a.      Your website and the USDA website indicate that no health certificate/CVI is necessary — but when I check the Consulate General of Mexico website, it says an original and certified copy of a veterinary health certificate is necessary. Is the Mexican website behind (as I know the regulations recently changed)? b.     Are there any arrangements we need to make with Mexico for the… Read more »

Tamie V

Thank you for this info! I am taking my 5lb rescue dog to Mexico in Feb. I have been reading everything I could about what is needed and you have made the entire thing very easy! My dog is scared of people coming into our home, he will hide in the closet and bark non-stop. In order to enjoy my trip I knew I had to bring him with me! My only question is can you pack their dog food in your checked luggage? I read that you can only bring food for the day of travel?? Thanks again!!

Lizzet

I would like to know if a copy of rabies vaccine certificate is valid. And if a health certificate has expiration date.