Bringing your pets to Panama can be a fun and exciting experience, but there are some things that you need to know before you make a move. Here we will outline all of the requirements from the Panamanian government for bringing a pet into the country, and what you need to do to get the ball rolling. We will also provide some tips on preparing ahead of time, and let you know which animals are allowed in Panama as pets. If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We would be happy to help make your relocation smoother.
Here’s a summary of the Panama Immigration and Health laws and regulations pertaining to pets.
PANAMA IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PETS (CATS AND DOGS)
- Upon arrival in Panama (Tocumen Int. Airport) you will be asked for a Certificate of Good Health of Exportation and a vaccination record issued by the Sanitary Authority in your home country. In the US, for example, this is the Department of Agriculture.
- The Certificate of Good Health must also be endorsed by an official USDA veterinarian and a licensed veterinarian, no more than ten days prior to travel, and must include the following information: Pet’s name, species, breed, sex, color, and date of birth, and birthplace.
- Once you have this certificate, you must send it to the Panamanian Consulate for authentication. The consular fee is $30, and can be paid by money order made out to the Consulate of Panama.
- The 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 9 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm to 10 pm. 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 to 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 to meet you after hours. If you don’t make arrangements to have the vet meet you ahead of time, your pet will have to stay at the airport until a vet is on shift.
- Your pet or pets will need to be quarantined once in Panama. The 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 fee must be paid in cash at Tocumen Int. Airport. 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 the adult, and the length of time the pet will remain in Panama.
PANAMA IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR EXOTIC PETS (Birds, Reptiles, etc.)
- Sanitation Certificate provided by your veterinarian.
- Export Authorization by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora). Your veterinarian should provide you with the appropriate agency in your country to contact regarding this.
- Letter of Request to the Director Nacional de Patrimonio Nacional, Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM). Phone #: ++ (507) 500 – 0855.
This letter must include:
- Name, Species (common & scientific name), age, other relevant information.
- Country Exporting from.
- Panama as country of Import.
- 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: email@example.com
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 your 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 the potential of extinction which CITES wishes to protect:
- “Species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.”
- “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:
- “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.”
- “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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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 their natural environment.
If you are interested in Relocating to Panama, or obtaining legal residency in Panama, please contact us for a personal consultation with International Relocation Firm along with a quote for our Pet Immigration services.