Mexico Essentials

On Importing Pets and Other Animals to Mexico

Mexico has specific rules and procedures for the import of animals, including domestic pets.

Kitten playing at home on windowsill

We’re sometimes contacted by readers who plan to bring their pets or birds with them to Mexico—on vacation, or as part of a move here.  Like most countries, Mexico has specific rules and procedures for the import of animals, including domestic pets.

Bringing Dogs and Cats to Mexico

Domesticated dogs and cats are relatively easy to bring to Mexico: you are allowed to import two pets per person provided that each animal’s zoo-sanitary paperwork is in order.  You can import up to 3 pets at no charge; If you bring 4 or more pets with you, you’ll need to pay import processing fees.

Regardless of how many pets you bring, you need to have certain veterinary paperwork in order when you arrive that demonstrates that the animal is in good health and that its vaccinations are current. If you’re flying to Mexico, airlines also have rules and procedures to follow in regard to transporting pets; you can find general advice about this, as well as information about the zoo-sanitary paperwork on the Mexperience guide to Bringing Pets to Mexico.

When you arrive at the port of entry in Mexico, you’ll need to attend the SAGARPA desk/kiosk, where an official from the Mexican ministry of agriculture (SAGARPA-SENASICA) will check the documentation you present, undertake a physical review of the animal(s) and, provided everything is in good order, will issue you with an import certificate.

Importing Birds and Reptiles to Mexico

Importing any animal other than cats and dogs to Mexico —most commonly, people wish to bring pet birds and reptiles— requires considerably more effort.  You’ll need export permits from your home country, and an import permit from Mexico.  Some animals (or species) may be banned from either export from your country of departure and/or import to Mexico.  You should contact your nearest Mexican Consulate for details and be prepared to pay for the services of a customs import agent in Mexico to facilitate the process.

Taking your pets abroad from Mexico

If you’re resident in Mexico and plan to take your pet abroad for a short while, you’ll need to check the requirements of the country you are traveling to and ensure that you have the necessary health certificates ready to present to the authorities overseas.  Some countries have quarantine regulations in place, and if this is the case your pet will need to be quarantined (at your expense) for a determined period upon arrival.  You will need an exit permit for your pet when you leave Mexico: this is issued by SAGARPA who will also undertake a visual inspection of your pets to assess their state of health.  This certificate is only valid for six months, so if you plan to be outside of Mexico for more than six months, you’ll need to get health certificates and vaccinations from a veterinary abroad (see procedures above about bringing pets into Mexico) before you return otherwise you won’t be allowed to re-import the pets.

You can find more details about the procedures, as well as links to relevant websites, on the Mexperience guide to Bringing Your Pets to Mexico.

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  1. Janice says

    Can you please advise where I find what fee I will need to pay if I bring in my 4 dogs for import to Mexico from Canada?

  2. Brooks says

    You need an international health form filled out by a vet. When we crossed the border at San Ysidrio, we were asked for ours but only because we were lingering in the banjercito parking lot for awhile.

  3. Karen Kessler says

    I am a dog rescuer and hospice for old, but healthy dogs. I have 11 and want to move to Mexico. I read I can pay for an import license but I still am afraid that 11 dogs are too many. Any advice? I was thinking of paying someone to caravan with me across the border so he could take some but then I heard you get stopped afterwards at checkpoints. Thank u. Karen

    • Ian Huntington says

      If you are driving into Mexico simply don’t have more than two or three dogs per car. If you stop at the border to do paperwork, you may be asked for proof of vaccinations and health. Once you are in Mexico, it most likely won’t make any difference at the inland check points. We have eight dogs. We have a house an hour south of the border in Baja and another very far south in Quintana Roo. We have never had any issues entering Mexico or at any checking traveling across the country. Good luck.

  4. Lisa Gonzalez says

    We are driving our pets to Mexico. Do we need pet carriers for them in our vehicle and if so, will their crate pads be thrown away? Many thanks!

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Lisa,
      It’s the airlines that insist on crates, using your own vehicle you probably don’t need crates–although the inspector may confiscate disposable items as mentioned in the guide (link above).

      • viviane gariboldi says

        I reside in Mexico and plan on visiting the US for 2 weeks. Regarding an exit permit, you mentioned: “This is only valid for six months, so if you plan to be outside of Mexico for more than six months, before you return with your pets, you’ll need to get health certificates and vaccinations from a veterinary abroad before you can re-import the pets to Mexico.”
        Can you please direct me to the SAGARPA information where it states that the exit permit is valid for 6 months? And that i will not need a health certificate to re-enter Mexico with my dog.
        Thank you.

        • Mexperience says

          Please check the link in the article which reads ‘valid for six months’

  5. Peggy Marshall says

    We find that to be true, for us as well, no one has asked for our paperwork when driving across the border. The only time we have to show anything is when we FLY in to Mexico.

  6. Smith says

    We frequently travel by car with our 3 dogs back and forth between Mexico and the US. Although we always have their certificates up to date neither the US nor Mexican agents have ever asked for them. However, I am sure the first time we try without the certificates will be the time we are asked for them!

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