Dogs That TravelPet Passports & Documents

Bringing Dogs From Mexico to the US [2020 GUIDE]

Bringing a dog from Mexico to the US is a very straight forward process, as long as you are aware of the requirements, and plan ahead.

In order to enter the US from Mexico, you will simply need to visit the vet and organise your means of travel. Your dog will require a health certificate at minimum to show that he is healthy. Your dog will not require a rabies vaccination, as long as he has lived in Mexico for the last 6 months, or since birth. If this is the case, you will need to provide written or oral declaration of this. Depending on the size, weight of your dog, and your chosen airline, your dog may fly in the cabin or the cargo area of the plane. 

In this article, we will discuss in detail everything you need to know when bringing a dog from Mexico to the US. Including, the process, requirements and cost.

What is a US Pet Passport?

US Pet Passports is a term used to represent the documentation required to travel to the US with your pet. The documents required depends on which country you are travelling from and the species of your pet. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.

Luckily, when bringing a dog from Mexico to the US, obtaining a pet passport is simple.


What is the process of bringing a dog from Mexico to the US?

You will need to prepare your dog’s US pet passport so that he qualifies for travel. Simply follow these two steps:

Book an appointment with the vet

In order to enter the US from Mexico with a dog, your dog must have a health certificate. A health certificate is required to show that your dog is fit and healthy, and does not pose as a risk to other dogs in the US.

Dogs entering the US from Mexico are not required to have microchips, rabies vaccinations or any parasite treatments.

The vet will simply check the health of your dog to ensure he is fit and healthy to travel. Once your pet has had a full health check, they will provide you with an official health certificate.

Organise travel from Mexico to the US

TRAVELING BY AIR

Different airlines have different rules and regulations about whether and how a dog can travel. Depending on the airline you fly with and the size/weight of your dog, they may be able to fly in the cabin, or in the cargo hold. Make sure you confirm this with your airline well in advance.

Airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin, usually only permit small and light dogs. This is because they must fit in a travel carriers under the plane seats. Many airlines do not permit pets in their plane cabins. Therefore, it is likely your dog must fly in the cargo area of the plane. Although this sounds scary, according to the IATA, pets often travel better this way as it is quieter and darker.

All dogs traveling unaccompanied must be claimed by someone with legal residence status in the US. They must have a valid US address.

Please note that some airlines restrict certain breeds, so be sure to check before you travel.

Dogs are permitted to enter the US in many cities including but not limited to New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.

On arrival, all domestic dogs will be examined by a vet to ensure that they are free of disease. If your dog is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at the owner’s expense.

TRAVELING BY CAR

Bringing a dog from Mexico to the US in a car is more straight forward than flying. This is because you will not have to adhere to strict airline policies. You will simply need to follow the requirements above. At the US border, your dog’s health and documents will be checked. As long as your dog appears healthy and you have the relevant documents, you will be permitted in the US.


What are the requirements for bringing a dog from Mexico to the US?

In order to bring dogs from Mexico to the US, your dog will simply need the following:

  1. Health certificate to show that your dog is fit and healthy; and
  2. Oral confirmation that your dog has lived in Mexico for the past 6 months or since birth.

All dogs require a health certificate to prove that they are fit and healthy enough to travel. These are also known as a veterinary or sanitary certificate. The health certificate must be in English, or accompanied by a version translated to English.

Please note that all requests to import an unvaccinated dog must be approved at least 10 business days in advance. Permits will only be given only to US residents and visitors staying 30 days or more in the United States.

If your dog has visited a country that the US considers to be high-risk for rabies, your dog will need a rabies vaccination. Please refer to the next section below.

Some states may require other vaccinations and health certificates. Check with your destination state’s health department before you leave on your trip.


Does my dog require a rabies vaccination when traveling from Mexico to the US?

A rabies vaccination is not required to bring a dog from Mexico to the US, as long as your dog has remained in Mexico for the past 6 months or since birth.

The US requires dogs to be vaccinated against rabies if traveling from a country considered to be high risk. However, the US considers Mexico to be a low-risk country.

This is the case as long as your dog has been in Mexico for the past 6 months, or since birth. As mentioned above, you will need to provide oral or written confirmation that this is true, when entering the US. Written declarations must be in English or have an English translation.

If your dog has traveled to a country that the US considered to be high-risk in the last 6 months, then your dog will need a rabies vaccination.

You will need to provide certification of a valid rabies vaccination. Dogs must be at least 3 months of age. Additionally, you will need to wait 28 days after your dog’s rabies vaccination before entering the US.

The US considers the following countries to be high risk:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma (Myanmar), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan,Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Does my dog require a microchip when traveling from Mexico to the US?

Microchips are not required to enter the US from Mexico, however we highly recommend that your dog is microchipped.

A microchip is an electronic means of identifying your dog. A tiny electronic chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted just under your dogs skin in between its shoulder blades. The chip has an individual identification number that is detectable with a chip reader.

If you were to lose your dog whilst traveling, the chances of being reunited are significantly increased with a microchip.


Does my dog require parasite treatments when traveling from Mexico to the US?

Parasite treatments are not required when bringing a dog from Mexico to the US.

When traveling to the US from some countries, dogs require screwworm and tapeworm treatments. However, this is not the case when traveling from Mexico.


How much will it cost to take a dog from Mexico to the US?

Bringing a dog from Mexico to the US should not cost you too much. The cost will depend mainly on how you are planning on traveling to the US from Mexico.

The cost for bringing a dog from Mexico to the US is broken down into the following potential fees:

  1. Rabies vaccination – this is only required if your dog has traveled to a country the US considers high-risk for rabies. The average cost of the one-year rabies vaccination is around $15 to $20. A three-year shot will usually costs around $35 to $50. However, some charities offer this service for free.
  2. Health certificate – the average cost of a veterinary consultation can be between $25 and $150. However, some charities offer this service for free.
  3. Airline fees – the cost will vary widely depending on which airline you fly with, the size and weight of your dog. Of course, different airlines charge different amounts for shipping dogs. Additionally, they usually charge depending on the weight and size of your dog.
  4. Travel carrier – if you are traveling by air, you will need to ensure your dog is traveling in a secure, IATA approved travel carrier.

For information on how much a US Pet Passport costs, check How Much Does a US Pet Passport Cost in 2020?.


How long does it take to bring a dog from Mexico to the US?

It shouldn’t take you long to take a dog from Mexico to the US as there are not many requirements that must be met.

If your dog has resided in Mexico for it’s whole life, or at least for the last 6 months, then you will just need to take your dog to the vet for a health check. You will not require any vaccinations or parasite treatments.

However, if your dog has traveled to a country that the US considers high risk for rabies, then the process may take a little longer. If this is the case, your dog will need a rabies vaccination. Once your dog has been vaccinated against rabies, you will have to wait 28 days before you can enter the US.


Bringing dogs from Mexico to the US for Commercial Reasons

The USDA APHIS Animal Care has separate requirements when bringing dogs from Mexico to the US for the purpose of resale or adoption.

Puppies and dogs entering the United States intended for resale or adoption must:

  1. Be 6 months of age;
  2. Be fully vaccinated (rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP); and
  3. Accompanied with an import permit

An exception would be dogs being imported for veterinary treatment that is unavailable in the originating country or dogs being imported for research purposes.


Tips for bringing a dog from Mexico to the US

  • Get your pet used to its carrier before traveling.
  • Purchase flights with fewer connections or layovers.
  • Choose departure and arrival times to avoid extreme heat or cold.
  • Consult with your veterinarian.
  • If driving, take plenty of pit stops.
  • If flying, walk your pet before leaving home and again before checking in.
  • If your pet is allowed in the cabin, check in as late as possible to reduce stress.
  • If your pet will be transported as cargo, check in early so it can go to the quiet and dimly lit hold of the plane.

What airlines allow flying a dog to the US?

Most airlines allow flying a dog to the US. However, depending on the airline you fly with, pet policies differ.

When flying with a dog, it’s important to check airline pet policies before booking any travel. Different airline’s have different rules for flying with dogs, including which dog breeds are allowed, the size and weight of dogs that are permitted, and the number of dogs they allow. Fees also vary between airlines.

Most airlines will allow dogs to fly in the cargo section of their planes, in a climate controlled, comfortable pet zone. Although some pet owners think this will be stressful for their dogs, it can actually be a lot calmer than flying in the cabin.

Some airlines will allow dogs to fly int he cabin with their owners, but generally only small dogs that weigh under 8kg are permitted. This is because dogs must fly inside an airline-approved carrier that fits under the seat in front of their owners.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies].


Guidelines for Dog Carriers

If you are flying to US with a dog, it is important that you use a dog carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route. 

The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

The rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether your dog will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.

If you are travelling in the cabin with your dog, then you will need to ensure that it fits under the seat in front of you. This is why only small dogs weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.

Furthermore, airlines often require that your dog must be obedient to your commands and must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff. If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies].

BUDGET

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Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Is quarantine required when bringing a dog from Mexico to the US?

In most cases, quarantine is not required. As long as your dog appears healthy upon arrival in the US, they will not need to be quarantined.

Can I bring my puppy from Mexico to the US?

Yes, as long as your puppy has a health certificate and seems healthy upon inspection. Puppies entering the US for commercial use, for resale or adoption, require additional vaccines. Please refer to the section above.

Is there an entry fee when taking dogs to the US?

Luckily, there is no fee to pay when entering the US from Mexico.

Can I adopt a dog in Mexico and take it back to the US with me?

Of course, as long as the dog is healthy. You will need a health certificate, and potentially a rabies vaccination.


Bottom Line

Bringing a dog from Mexico to the US is straight forward. As Mexico is a country that the US considers to be low risk for rabies, you will simply need to take your dog to the vet for a health certificate, and organise travel.

If traveling by air, check that your chosen airline will allow your dog to travel with you either in the cabin, or in the cargo area of the plane. Different airlines have different policies and prices.

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