Nobody wants to leave his or her favorite pet behind. Whether you are planning to move to Panama as a resident or just planning a long stay as a tourist, can you bring your favorite pets?
Yes, you can. However, like most countries around the world, Panama has strict rules which must be followed. Panama doesn’t want sick or infectious pets coming into contact with other animals.
Here’s a summary of the Panama Immigration and Health laws and regulations pertaining to pets.
PANAMA IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PETS
CATS & DOGS To Panama
1. Vaccination Certificate provided by your veterinarian showing the pet has no rabies. Last shot must be at least 30 days and not more than 12 months before entering Panama;
2. Health Certificate also provided by your veterinarian showing the pet is disease free which must be issued within 10 days before leaving;
3. Health and Vaccination certificates must be certified by the USDA who have offices all over the U.S.;
4. These Vet & USDA Certificates must then be authenticated by the nearest Panamanian embassy or consulate, or apostiled by the U.S. government or Secretary of State. You can send them to the nearest Panama consulate or embassy by courier with return envelope and a money order for $30 for their fee.
5. Certificate of Origin showing where the pet was born;
6. Completed Import Form (you can get one at the Panama Airport’s Health or Quarantine Departments);
7. Panama Airport Health Department reviews papers and inspects the pet. There is a $16 fee for pet entry. The vets are in the airport on weekdays only from 9am to 3pm and from 7pm to 10pm. If your flight arrives on the weekend or during hours when there is no vet scheduled, you can make arrangements to have a vet come meet your flight. You must make these arrangements through either the Panama Ministry of Health or the Panama Agriculture Ministry. You will be expected to pay an extra fee to have the vet come meet you after hours. If you don’t make arrangements to have the vet meet you a head of time, your pet will have to stay at the airport until a vet is on shift.
8. $10 per day fee must be paid if your pet is quarantined by the Panama Health Department for 40 days;
9. Panama Home Quarantine option is available for a $130 fee where you promise to keep your pet inside your home for the required 40 days. This request must be made to the Panama Ministry of Health at least 14 days before arrival. The request must include arrival date, flight number, time, pet information and name & passport number of adult, and length of time pet will remain in Panama.
10. The $146 fee must be paid for quarantine expenses to the Panama National Bank, located on the first floor of Tocumen International Airport, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
11. Present the bank’s receipt and all the other documentation to the veterinarian of the Panama Quarantine Department of Panama Tocumen International Airport, in order to get the pet.
EXOTIC PETS (Birds, Reptiles, etc.)
1. Sanitation Certificate provided by your veterinarian;
2. Export Authorization by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora). Your veterinarian should provide you with their appropriate agency in your country to contact regarding this.
3. Letter of Request to the Director Nacional de Patrimonio Nacional, Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM).
Phone #: ++ (507) 500 – 0855.
This letter must include:
a. Name, Species (common & scientific name), age, other relevant information.
b. Country Exporting from.
c. Panama as country of Import.
d. Sanitation Certificate & CITES authorization Attached.
ANAM will provide an Import Authorization which must be sent to:
Departamento de Cuarentana Agropecuaria,
Ministerio de Desarrollo Agropecuario (MIDA)
Their Director is Cesar Maure whose e-mail is: cmauremidagobpa (cmauremidagobpa)
Their Phone # at Tocumen Airport is ++ (507) 238 – 4234
This department will provide the Pet’s Import Permit which must be presented at the airport when your pet arrives. They will determine if your pet must be quarantined. Adult birds normally will be quarantined for 15 days.
This is when you can request the Panama Home Quarantine option.
Your Veterinarian is Your Key: As you can see, most of the documentation of your dogs & cats will be provided by your veterinarian. As long as your pets have been properly vaccinated, sanitized, and place of birth documented; you shouldn’t encounter any problems with Panama’s Immigration and Health officials.
Exotic Pets Require Further Documents: Since Panama has many beautiful and exotic birds & reptiles, protecting them is a national priority. Your veterinarian can provide you with a Sanitation certificate. Obtaining CITES approval is your first step. Even with CITES approval, permission to enter ultimately rests with Panama’s ANAM agency.
CITES: Obtaining a CITES authorization is the first critical step. Their website (http://www.cites.org/ ) describes their function as: “All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.” There are 2 classes of species according to potential of extinction which CITES wishes to protect:
1. “Species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.”
2. “Species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.”
Here are the requirements by CITES for obtaining their approval based on the 2 classifications of species above:
1. “An import permit issued by the Management Authority of the State of import is required. This may be issued only if the specimen is not to be used for primarily commercial purposes and if the import will be for purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the species. In the case of a live animal or plant, the Scientific Authority must be satisfied that the proposed recipient is suitably equipped to house and care for it.”
2. “An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is also required. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained; the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species; and an import permit has already been issued.” A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and, in the case of a live animal or plant, if an import permit has been issued. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.
1. “An export permit or re-export certificate issued by the Management Authority of the State of export or re-export is required. An export permit may be issued only if the specimen was legally obtained and if the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. A re-export certificate may be issued only if the specimen was imported in accordance with the Convention.
2. In the case of a live animal or plant, it must be prepared and shipped to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment.
3. No import permit is needed unless required by national law.
As you can see, CITES has strict regulations in order to protect all types of exotic species. Knowing these requirements before you begin your application process will be valuable in obtaining their permission.
To Summarize this article: Bringing in dogs and cats to Panama is a pretty standard procedure, as long as, your veterinarian provides you with the appropriate documents. Exotic pets, on the other hand, will require an international organization’s approval and a Panamanian agency set up to protect its natural environment.