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Bringing a Pet (Cat or Dog) Into Panama From the USA (Version 1.1, Updated January 28, 2019 With New Information about United Airlines) This topic applies specifically to the procedures and forms associated with bringing pets into Panama from the USA. In the context of this topic, the word pet only means a cat or a dog, and not birds, equine, reptiles, exotic, or controlled animals, etc. The term used for the procedure of bringing a pet into Panama is 'to import.' What follows are thirteen steps to follow in the sequence listed for importing a pet. These steps were compiled by Judy Sacco based on her research and experiences. She provides this information to those who inquire of the process. Judy has graciously agreed to let her information be published here in CL for the general benefit of pet owners wishing to bring their pet into Panama. For more restrictive information about using United Airlines for pet importation, please scroll to the bottom on this posting below the horizontal rule line. (Added January 28, 2019). If you have questions about importing a pet, you may post a reply here (assuming you are a CL member). Alternatively, Judy is a member of CL; you may contact her via private message to 'JudyS'. It is reasonable to think that bringing pets to Panama from countries other than the USA would follow roughly the same steps, but that the agencies in the home country would, of course, have different names and procedures. For background information, first go to the US Embassy website for Panama to find the requirements for bringing in a pet (Traveling With Pets). There is a two page Panamanian Ministerio de Salud form in PDF format called "Solicitud De Cuarentena Domociliaria" (Home Quarantine Request) that should be filled out and faxed to Panama. That PDF form is attached at the bottom of this posting. It is strongly recommended that you read the entire referenced page on the US Embassy website. If you have information changes that you believe should be included herein, please send your suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The preferred method to share this information with others is to provide a URL hotlink for this topic. We request that references to this resource listing include attribution as to source, specifically meaning the Chiriqui.Life website. The URL hotlink for this resource listing is: http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/2405-bringing-a-pet-into-panama-from-the-usa Disclaimer: The information provided herein is simply information and a listing of resources. CL does not endorse, make recommendations, or screen the resources listed. It is suggested that you do your own due-diligence prior to engaging any of these resources. Step 1: Call the USDA office in your state and make sure you get the right forms that the veterinarian needs to fill out. This is really important because a lot of vets don't know the right forms (although they may say that they do), let alone even know if they are federally accredited or not. Also find out from the USDA if your vet is federally accredited -- they have a database of all vets that are accredited. Step 2: Call around to different airlines and see if they will allow the pet to travel either in cargo or in carry-on. This is important because depending on the airline and the time of year, sometimes you can't carry your animal in cargo. Be sure the airline has a temperature controlled and pressurized cargo hold for animals. Get it in writing and triple check that they know that you are traveling with a pet. If it is a carry-on animal, be extra careful that the carrier will fit under the seat in front of you. And don't trust the people from the airline on the phone as to what dimensions will fit. Step 3: Call the selected airline and book your tickets and your pet's ticket at the same time. This is because they only allow so many animals on one plane, and you do want your animal on the same flight as you. Then when it is done, call back and verify that everything is correct with a different agent. Step 4: Download the form Cuarentena de animales formularios y requisitos. You will also find this document as a link on the embassy website link listed above. Follow instructions in Step 11. Step 5: Ten days (not earlier or later, but ten days) prior to departing the USA for Panama, go to your veterinarian, who must be federally accredited (check with the USDA and make sure your vet is federally accredited, as mentioned before). Have the vet fill out three documents: the International Health Certificate (USDA Sanitary Certificate) the signed rabies certificate. The rabies vaccine must be at least 30 days old, but no more than 1 year when you arrive in Panama. Puppies and kittens under 4 months old do not need a rabies certificate. The pet also must have other recommended vaccinations. The vaccine records must accompany the pet when you take it to Panama. the general health certificate. This one is required by the airlines. It does not have to be sent to the embassy. Step 6: Take the International Health Certificate and signed rabies certificate from the vet to the USDA office the same day to be notarized (or apostilled). Go to the USDA office that notarizes animal health certificates (there is one per state that does this), and with all of the forms (the originally signed ones, not copies) and have the USDA office notarize all of the forms. Tell them to make sure to make copies of all forms before you send the originals to the embassy. Note: If you have more than one pet, all of them can be put on the same form. That way the $30.00 you will send to the Panamanian Consulate (see Step 7) will cover all the pets. If they are put on separate forms, it will be $30.00/pet. Step 7: Take or send by FedEx the USDA notarized forms (originals), along with a prepaid FedEx envelope that is addressed to yourself, to the Consulate of Panama in Washington DC. Enclose a $30.00 money order. Let them know you are sending something, so they can be on the look out for it. It is vital that there is a fast turn around time, and they will return the forms to you the same day they receive them if you let them know they are arriving. Step 8: Call the Panamanian Consulate to verify they have received the forms and check progress. Step 9: Make sure you purchase an animal carrier that is appropriate. Also get a harness and leash for each pet. Using sedatives for your pet can be risky. Check with your vet about this. Some vets do not recommend sedatives. Step 10: Receive health and rabies forms back from the Panamanian Consulate, and keep them with your passports because your animal won't be able to (a) get on airplane, or (b) get into Panama without them. To be sure you have enough cash, take at least $200.00 per pet. It costs $130.00/animal to get them through quarantine, and if they have to stay overnight, it will be a little more. Step 11: Three days prior to departure, email or fax the form, Cuarentena de animales formularios y requisitos (see Step 4 above) to the Ministry of Health in Panama. Their email address is email@example.com. The email might bounce, so you might have to fax it to (+507) 212-9449 and (+507) 238-4059. (Note: People and phone numbers change. To make sure you send it to the right place, contact José Saenz; contact information is at the end of this document). Step 12: Leave extra early for your flight, because there will almost certainly be complications, despite everyone's best efforts. If your pet is going as carry-on, you will have to remove it from its carrier when you go through Security. Cats get very frightened and can easily escape. Be sure to attach the leash to the harness (not a collar) before removing the cat. Step 13: Airport quarantine and vet release: If your flight is going to arrive (or may arrive due to delays) after 8:30pm Panama time, be sure to either (a) call the airport to have a vet stay later or meet you (for example on a weekend) or (b) be prepared to have your animal stay in quarantine at the airport until the following business day (Monday if over a weekend). Although they are open till 10:00pm, it can take an hour or more to get through customs to the vet. The vet is located after immigration has checked your passport, and near the place where customs scans your luggage after you pick it up off the conveyor. Import license fee is $16.00 for one pet and $10.00 for each additional pet. Health Ministry "Home Quarantine" process costs $130.00 per pet. The Panamanian authorities offer services Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM. They are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Pet Relocation Services [copied from the Pet Care Resource topic; see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/2354-pet-care-resources-of-the-chiriqui-province/] Golden Frog, José Saenz (English and Spanish), 6614-7811, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.goldenfrog.net/index.htm Panama Pet Relocation, Mario Vilar (English and Spanish), Gerente General, 6674-1598 or 6619-6964, email@example.com, http://www.panamapetrelocation.com/, Magna Corp. Building, Suite 707, Financial District, 51st Street & 3rd Ave S., Panama City Luis Arce, 6536-1179, firstname.lastname@example.org Click the below hotlink to download the MINSA form (see the paragraph just before Step 1 above): MINSA-Formularios Para Introduccion De Animales Menores.pdf The following USDA online resource may also be of interest: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/export/international-standard-setting-activities-oie/sa_by_country/sa_p/ct_animal_panama The following information has been provided by a community member regarding importation of pets when using United Airlines (meaning from Houston Intercontinental Airport, airport code IAH). New information (effective late 2018) about shipping pets to Panama (or any country) via United Airlines, an airline you can use if you want to go non-stop from Houston to Panama. United Airlines now will not accept several breeds of dogs and four cat breeds. Also they require people shipping internationally to use a pet relocation company. You can no longer arrange the shipping yourself. Pet re-locators are considerably more expensive than doing it yourself, so this is going to affect some people. You can find the banned breed list by Clicking On This Hotlink. Scroll down that page almost to the bottom to find the international shipping requirements. An alternative airline to fly non-stop from Houston to Panama City is Air China. Air China does not require you to use a professional pet relocation service.
Taking A Pet (Cat or Dog) Out of Panama (Version 1.2, Re-published January 28, 2019 with updated information regarding United Airlines.) What follows are the steps for taking pets out of Panama. In the context of this topic, the word pet only means a cat or a dog, and not birds, equine, reptiles, exotic, or controlled animals, etc. The term used for the procedure of taking a pet out of Panama is 'to export.' The export information provided here was compiled by Jeff Simon (former Boquete resident) and Judy Sacco based on their research and experiences. Judy provides this information to others who inquire of the export process. Judy has graciously agreed to let this information be published here in CL for the general benefit of pet owners wishing to export their pet from Panama. If you have questions about exporting a pet, you may post a reply here (assuming you are a CL member). Alternatively, Judy is a member of CL; you may contact her via private message to 'JudyS'. Portions of this posting were extracted from http://steptolife.blogspot.com/2008/08/taking-animal-out-of-panama.html. Are you making a trip to the United States or some other country and planning to take your pet? Panama requires that you complete certain procedures and get an Export Permit (read more about this below). These documents must be dated within ten days of your departure. In other words, if you get them one month before your departure they will not be valid. Your destination country and your state may have their own requirements. It is best to check your destination country and/or state requirements before you leave Panama. Panama requires both cats and dogs to have a General Health Certificate for the export process to be approved. If you have information changes that you believe should be included herein, please send your suggestions via email to email@example.com. The preferred method to share this information with others is to provide a URL hotlink for this topic. We request that references to this resource listing include attribution as to source, specifically meaning the Chiriqui.Life website. The URL hotlink for this resource listing is: http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/2406-taking-a-pet-out-of-panama Disclaimer: The information provided herein is simply information and a listing of resources. CL does not endorse, make recommendations, or screen the resources listed. It is suggested that you do your own due-diligence prior to engaging any of these resources. Documents You Will Need For Your Pet To satisfy Panama's export requirements you need two documents from a veterinarian in Panama: Vaccination Card showing that all vaccinations are up to date, specifically including rabies. The rabies vaccination must be done at least thirty (30) days before departure. General Certificate of Health, filled out in English and Spanish. Vets and Others Who Can Help You Get the Proper Forms Dra. Chely in Boquete, 6518-4127 Dr. Crespo, 6480-7273 Dr. Samuel Candanedo ("Dr. Sam"), Happy Pet Veterinary Clinic David, 775-0501 or 6948-1475 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call ahead for an appointment. His hours are: Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 6:00pm; Saturday, 9:00am to 3:00pm. He speaks English. His wife Patricia is also a vet. Also see the Pet Relocation Services section at the end of this posting. The above resources will make sure the paperwork gets to the right place and back to you. Allow a two-week time period to do this. Working With the Airlines Going to the USA Airlines have their own requirements, separate from those of Panama. Before traveling, contact the airline and find out what you need. Airline requirements can change, so be sure you have current information. Copa Airlines A cat, when under 20 lbs, can travel from David to Tocumen in the cabin on Copa Airlines if the cage fits under the seat. However, Copa only transports pets Monday through Thursday. COPA will only take pets in the cabin that fit under the seat; larger pets have to go as cargo. United Airlines If you are flying United Airlines and your cat is flying in cargo, make a reservation: Call: Eidy M. Gutierrez, Customer Sales Support at United, 238-4657 or 238-4411, Fax: 238-4585, email email@example.com. Eidy speaks English. She will handle your pet reservation and email you forms to fill out in advance. She will send you a Word document called: "Live Animal Booking Request". Fill it out and email or fax it back to her. Then she can proceed to make your pet's reservation. You probably should also read information about United Airlines in the topic regarding pet importation. Click Here for that topic. (This paragraph was added on January 28, 2019.) Copa and United Airlines To read all about transporting your pet via United Airlines or Copa Airlines, go on-line and carefully read all the info posted. Google “United Airlines Pet Travel” and it is recommended that you read everything very carefully. There are a lot of details regarding the size of kennel needed, etc. Key Point: do not tranquilize your pet. If you do, United will not ship the pet. Pets fly in the cabin or as cargo on United or COPA. These airlines no longer accept them as checked baggage. Delta Airlines Delta will fly pets in cabin, as checked baggage, and as cargo. Checked baggage is cheaper than cargo. If you want to take them in the cabin, you must make a reservation for your pet, as only two animals are allowed in coach per flight, and they must be small enough to fit under the seat. You can take only one animal per passenger in the cabin. Air Panama, or Land Transportation between Chiriquí Province and Panama City Air Panama will take pets, or you can hire a driver for land transportation between Chiriquí Province and Panama City. Air Panama will only take pets in the cabin that fit under the seat; larger pets have to go as cargo. Call Air Panama to find out if small pets can go in the cabin; it depends on the size of the plane. Update as of January 2015 - Includes Requirements for Europe Dra. Chely in Boquete can do this too. The following are instructions if you go to the offices of Dr. Samuel Candanedo ("Dr. Sam") at Happy Pet Clinic in David, Doleguita (Calle 6a Oeste, between Cl. M Norte and Cl. L Norte). He speaks fluent English. His wife is a vet too (Patricia). It is easy to find as there is a big sign in front of the clinic. Hours are Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 3:00pm. Dr. Samuel Candanedo, Happy Pet Veterinary Clinic, 775-0501 or 6948-1475, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The cat or dog will need to get a rabies vaccination. This vaccination must be within 12 months of the day of transport but the pet cannot fly to the U.S. until thirty (30) days after he/she has the rabies vaccination, so don't wait until the last minute to do this. In the case of a cat traveling to EU countries, there must be a FAVN (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization) titer test for the level of rabies antibodies. This test must be done at least ninety (90) days before the pet can travel to Europe. The only approved laboratory for this test near Panama is at the University of Kansas Rabies Laboratory (http://www.ksvdl.org/rabies-laboratory/). Pets must be micro-chipped to enter EU countries. For pets destined for the USA: four to six days before the pet is scheduled to depart Panama (and early in the morning), go back to Dr. Sam. He will examine the pet and complete a Health Certificate, which must be in English and Spanish. Dr. Sam then takes the Health Certificate and the pet's Vaccination Card to a local office in David and within 24 hours has your Export Permit. (If destined for Europe, there is a special health certificate required.) For example, assume that you see Dr. Sam at 9:00am on Monday, then you should return at 9:00am on Tuesday and he will have your Export Permit and you are good to go! You are now ready to transport the pet to the U.S. Pet Relocation Services [copied from the Pet Care Resource topic; see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/2354-pet-care-resources-of-the-chiriqui-province/] Golden Frog, José Saenz (English and Spanish), 6614-7811, email@example.com, http://www.goldenfrog.net/index.htm Panama Pet Relocation, Mario Vilar (English and Spanish), Gerente General, 6674-1598 or 6619-6964, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.panamapetrelocation.com/, Magna Corp. Building, Suite 707, Financial District, 51st Street & 3rd Ave S., Panama City Luis Arce, 6536-1179, email@example.com