It is relatively easy to travel with a pet to Colombia. You can travel to Colombia with a dog, cat or other household pet with only a few requirements.
Colombia does not require an import permit for personal pets from any country. And there is no pet microchip required for Colombia.
Several Medellin Readers asked about travel with a pet to Colombia. So, we we now have an up-to-date guide.
Also, be careful, as many websites in English I found on the Internet have inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date information about travel with a pet to Colombia.
What Documents are Needed to Travel with a Pet to Colombia
Within 10 days of travel, an accredited veterinarian from the country of origin must complete a veterinary health certificate for your pet. If you are traveling from the U.S. or Canada, the veterinary health certificate must also be endorsed by the USDA in the U.S. or CFIA in Canada.
In the U.S., the USDA has APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Offices in all the states where you can get health certificates and rabies certificates endorsed. Note that this endorsement should be from the state you a traveling from to Colombia.
You send your veterinary health certificate and rabies certificate that are endorsed by the USDA and returned to you within 48 hours. Keep in mind the 10-day limit. So, you don’t have much time to send this and get it back. So, use express mail. Canada’s CFIA works similarly and endorses and returns health certificates within 48 hours.
In addition, your pet must be vaccinated and you need a vaccination certificate with a record of vaccinations.
To enter Colombia with a pet, your cat or dog must be vaccinated for rabies no sooner than 30 days before entering the country and before the vaccination expires.
Dogs reportedly must also be vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parvovirus. And cats must be vaccinated against Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Feline Panleukopenia. And if entering Colombia from countries other than Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, your pet should also be vaccinated against Parainfluenza and Coronavirus.
Check with the Airline to Travel with a Pet
Airlines only allow a specific number of pets on each flight and the spots fill up. So, call and make a reservation for your pet. And most airlines require at least a 24-hour notice of a pet traveling with you. Also, it isn’t free to travel with a pet. In addition, don’t forget pet calming aids.
Pets can travel in the airplane cabin or air cargo, depending on the size. Large dogs can be more complicated to travel with, as not all airlines will take large dogs. So, make sure to check with the airline about their pet regulations.
Pet Rules of International Airlines that Fly Non-Stop to Medellín
The following are the pet rules of several airlines with international non-stop flights to Medellín in Colombia:
- American Airlines – permits pet carries in the cabin of up to 19″L x 13″W x 9″H and a maximum weight of 20 pounds including the pet and carrier. American Airlines also does transportation of pets as checked baggage depending the the aircraft (checked pets can’t travel on Airbus A321, A321S, A321H, A320 and A319). In addition, American Airlines supports checked pets of up to 100 pounds including the pet container. See American Airlines website for more information about travel with a pet.
- Avianca – permits pets of up to 18 pounds (8 kilograms) in the cabin with a charge of $125 from the U.S. and Canada. In addition, Avianca permits pets weighing up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms) in the hold for flights of less than four hours with a charge of $150 from the U.S. or Canada. See Avianca’s website for more information about travel with a pet.
- Copa Airlines – permits pet carries in the cabin of up to 11″W x 18″D x 11H” and a maximum weight of 20 pounds including the pet and carrier. Copa does not transport pets as checked baggage. See Copa’s website for more information about travel with a pet.
- JetBlue – permits pet carriers in the cabin of up to 17″L x 12.5″W x 8.5″H and a maximum weight of 20 pounds including the pet and carrier. Also, JetBlue charges a pet fee of $100 each way. AndJetBlue does not transport pets as checked baggage. See JetBlue’s website for more information about travel with a pet.
- Spirit – permits pets traveling in the cabin with a limit of a pet carrier of 18″ L x 14″ W x 9″ H with a maximum weight of 40 pounds (18 kilograms) for the pet carrier and pet. And Spirit permits only four pet carriers per flight and Spirit charges a pet fee of $110 each way. Also, Spirit does not transport pets as checked baggage. See Spirit’s website for more information about travel with a pet.
Visit an ICA office at the Airport in Colombia
When you arrive in Colombia make sure to declare your pet. And upon arrival, get your luggage and proceed to the ICA office with your luggage, pet, heath certificate and vaccination record and a credit/debit card to pay the ICA fee.
All ports of entry into Colombia (airports, border entries and ports) will have an Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) office. This is the Colombian agency that handles pet and other animal importation into Colombia and also food safety and agricultural health.
When you arrive, visit the ICA office they will be looking for two documents:
- Health certificate – issued by the official veterinary service of the country of origin within 10 days prior to arrival. The certificate should describe the animal and certify that is has been examined and is free of infectious and parasitic diseases and without the presence of fresh wounds.
- Vaccination certificate – this must include the current vaccination plan according to age and species and a list of vaccinations including product names, batch numbers and dates of vaccinations.
According to ICA’s website, these documents must be original and translated to Spanish if not in Spanish. But two expats I talked to recently said the documents didn’t need to be translated. And there is no need for an apostille.
After the document inspection, ICA will perform a physical inspection of the animal to verify the health condition of the animal.
If the documents you have are accepted and the animal passes the physical inspection, a Certificate of Inspection (CIS) will be issued and the animal will be let in.
And the cost is currently 45,813 pesos. This is for Monday to Friday between 8 am and 5 pm. Other hours have a surcharge except at the El Dorado International airport in Bogotá, which does not have a surcharge for extended hours and it operates 24 hours.
Also, you can pay this fee to ICA with a credit or debit card (Visa or Mastercard only). And no cash is accepted by ICA. But you can pay in cash at several banks including Banco Agrario, Bancolombia, Banco de Occidente and Davivienda. ICA has information for paying at a bank.
Dogs and cats and other household pets that do not meet the requirements for importation must comply with a period of post-entry home quarantine in Colombia, which includes two follow-up visits by an ICA official. And the cost becomes 537,572 pesos.
In addition, you can see the complete list of requirements for importation of dogs and cats into Colombia on the ICA website here (in Spanish).
Warning: Several Dog Breeds are Not Permitted in Colombia
Several dog breeds are not permitted to be bought to Colombia. The following dog breeds are considered potentially dangerous and cannot be brought to Colombia:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Argentine Mastiff
- Brazilian Mastiff
- Bull Terrier
- Japanese Mastiff Tosa
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Terrier
- Any crosses or hybrids of the above 11
You can find many of these dog breeds in Colombia. But you are not permitted to bring these 11 dog breeds or crosses or hybrids into Colombia.
The Bottom Line: Travel with a Pet to Colombia – Travel with a Dog or Cat to Colombia
It is relatively easy to travel with a pet to Colombia. You only need a health certificate, rabies certificate and vaccination certificate. And the cost with ICA in Colombia when you arrive with your pet isn’t very much. It’s only 45,813 pesos ($15.85) if your documents are accepted and your pet passes a simple examination.
To travel with a pet to Colombia the fee will be higher with the airlines than the fee once you arrive in Colombia. The airlines charge at least $100 to travel with a pet to Colombia. Also, larger pets will be more difficult to travel with, as not all airlines support traveling with large pets.
In addition, Medellín is a pet-friendly city. For example, most shopping malls and some restaurants permit you to bring your dog.
Note that this article will be kept up-to-date, as things like pet importation regulations and costs change in Colombia each year.
In addition, “Can I travel with my pet to Colombia?” is question asked by some expats visiting Colombia or moving to the country. So, we included this question in our list of Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ).
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Editors note: updated on October 15, 2018 with addition pet transportation rules for American Airline and Copa Airlines to Medellín based on several readers questions about transporting larger pets from the U.S. and also pets from Panama.