Finding information on bringing my dog to Mexico was frustrating at best. There was so much mis-information online, even the official Mexican government websites were contradicting the USDA’s official forms. Now having exported, and imported my pet dog several times, I thought I’d write a guide to make it easier for others.
DON’T use the Official USDA Pet Certificate. Instead, use the other acceptable option; provide a “letter” from your vet. The first time I brought my dog to Mexico they gave me a hard time about the official USDA certificate because it didn’t have a USDA endorsement ($25). I would have gotten the endorsement had I known, but I didn’t. Plus, it takes several days to get the endorsement back as you have to mail the certificate. I was traveling by land, so they’re usually pretty relaxed about stuff like this. They did let me cross, but not without giving me hard time.
The alternative to using the official USDA form is having your vet write a letter. The second time I brought my dog to Mexico I flew. Because I was flying rather than walking, I felt I needed to be a bit more meticulous about having my paperwork in order. This time I decided on using the letter as it didn’t require the USDA endorsement. I had no problems at all.
However, there are many important points to consider when using the letter:
- The letter must not contain any abbreviations. Including, but not limited to: Dates: “January” is accepted while “Jan” is not. States: Must be the entire word and not the two-letter abbreviation. Ages: “Months” or “Year” is accepted while “yrs” and “mos” are not.
- The letter MUST be printed on Accredited Veterinarian’s letterhead.
- The letter must be type written or done in word processor or computer. Hand written documents will be rejected.
- The certificate must be issued within 10 days of export.
- The animal must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Bring TWO ORIGINAL SIGNED copies.
I edited the example letter that the USDA provides, because when I contacted the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, and Rural Development they requested additional information that wasn’t on the USDA provided template. I included an editable letter below with fields for this information.
Just this one letter, thats all you need to bring.
At the airport you’ll be asked to enter the importation office before leaving the customs area. They’ll enter the details from the form into the computer, they’ll inspect your dog, and retain one of your original letters. They’ll then provide you with a “Certificado Zoosanitario Para Importacion” and you’ll be on your way.
Printable Editable Template:
My Edited Unofficial Health Certificate LETTER To Export Dog To Mexico (The only form you need to bring)
More information can be found on the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website & on the SENASICA (In Spanish) website.