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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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Andrew

We are wanting to retire short term in Mexico traveling from the US. We have three (3) Rhodesian Ridgebacks, family members, that need to come with us: Bree (85#), Archie (100#) & Benni (120#). Your thoughts, suggestions are most welcome. It seems that most questions in the chat address smaller in-cabin dogs.

Rhonda

Hi- very helpful info. Do you know the hours of operation for the OISA office or how I can find out their hours? I want to make sure that they’re open when I arrive so my dog can get cleared and checked.

Amélie

Thank you, your article helped me a lot! We’ll be traveling from Canada (Air Transat) to Mexico in October with Cachou, our 8 month old Welsh Terrier. 🙂

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mcm

Hi – great article, it helped us understand much better what will be going on. We are flying with aeromexico with our dog for the 1st time. He will fly as checked luggage – going from Chicago to Cancun, through Mexico City. In Mexico City we only have 2 hrs 15min layover and we think we will need to do the customs on our checked luggage as well as SENESICA, then recheck-in luggage and dog for next flight. Both flights are in Terminal 2. My question is – does anybody know how long the SENESICA exam takes, and where is… Read more »

mcm

Thank you so much for your reply, DL! There is a difference I want to mention between the pet being in “cargo” vs being “checked luggage” – we ran as fast as we could from cargo because there are exorbitant fees at the destination where we would need a “customs broker” to clear the dog. With Aeromexico though we can fly him as “checked luggage” which means we can do the customs ourselves, by going to SENESICA (or having them come to us like you say). The Air Tag idea is great – we will do that so we know… Read more »

mcm

Thank you, DL! 🙂

Mindy

Is there any way to get around the rabies vaccination? Are titer tests accepted? Or a veterinarian exception?

Mindy Smith

I am driving and yes, he is originally from the US.

Masaki

Hola, I sent this inquiry to the official Senasica contact in Mexico but am still waiting for a response (and my Spanish is too poor to ask over the phone). I am going to Puerto Vallarta from Canada with my dog, for just one week. I understand that my dog ​​does not need a health certificate to enter Mexico. But, does she need a certificate from a Mexican veterinarian when she leaves Mexico? I know that Canada does not require a certificate for her to re-enter Canada. But, I see on the Senasica website that Mexico requires a certificate for… Read more »

Masaki

Thank you, that’s reassuring! Yes, the airlines cause us so much grievance…

John

Hello, I’m flying from Chicago to Guadalajara next week. I want to bring both my dogs and one weighs 13 lbs and the other weighs 22 lbs. I can Bing the smaller dog in the cabin with me but what do you suggest I do with the other 22 lbs dog?

Pamela

Hi,
Thank you for sharing all of this information, it’s been very helpful planning my travels. I’m heading to Mexico from Canada with my little dog July 1st. I’m landing in Mexico City by Aeromexico (terminal 2) very early in the morning (5am!) and wondering if the SAGARPA/SENASICA inspection will be available 24 hours? And how long does it take on average? I haven’t yet booked my connecting flight and want give myself enough time.
Warmly, Pamela

Pamela

Thank-you! Again, very helpful! Sending many blessings.

marianna

Hello, I am flying in with my little pomchi to Cancun on June 12, she already had her rabies vaccine shot 3 years ago, and it recently expired (may 5th, 2022). I was told that there is no need for a health certificate but that a valid rabies certificate needs to be presented, and I have an appointment with a vet on June 7, is there a minimum days between the shot and the travel dates that I need to respect?

Marianna

thank you 🙏🏼

Ruma

Hi, I am staying in Mexico, want to move to Canada, Montreal. I have 9months old,4.5 KG weight Shih Tzu.Can I take him with me in flight cabin? What are the requirements?
Please let me know. Thanks