By Carlos Escobar

Without a doubt, traveling or moving abroad, although it can be a beautiful and great adventure, always brings stress. In my case, I was born in El Salvador and when I left my country more than five years ago, leaving my pets behind was my great nightmare. This situation is shared by a large number of foreigners who must give them away or leave them under the trust of a friend or relative. However, this does not have to be the case, since Costa Rica allows the entry of pets from abroad, if the requirements needed by law are met.

First of all, we must understand that the importation of pets is a process that involves the regulations of two countries: the exporting country (where your pet comes from) and the importing country (the country where your pet arrives). That means that the owner has to obtain all the needed documentation from the exporting country to comply with the requirements requested in the importing country, since, otherwise, your pet will not be able to leave the country or, worse, enter the new destination.

In Costa Rica, you need the International Health Certificate (IHC). This certificate is an internationally recognized document, for which the accredited veterinarians or the competent health authority of the exporting country indicate that they have checked your pet for any diseases and is up-to-date with its vaccinations. The credentials required of the issuing veterinarian depend on the species of animal being exported. This certificate must meet certain requirements so that the Costa Rican authorities can accept it, therefore, much attention must be paid to how the authorities of the exporting country issue said certificate, to ensure that it is admitted in Costa Rica.

In general, IHC’s have to meet the following requirements:

  1. Be translated into Spanish.
  2. State that the pets were examined two weeks prior to the date of travel.
  3. State that they are in good health.
  4. State that they are not carriers of any disease or parasite that may cause harm in the place of destination.
  5. State that that they have the corresponding vaccines (this varies depending on the type of pet).

It is also important to add that due to the Wild Animals Conservation Law in Costa Rica, animals considered wild under our legislation cannot enter the country as pets. Other requirements are applicable in this case.

Following the due requirements and formalities, the IHC will allow you to enter the country with your pets and share with them the wonderful adventure that is traveling to Costa Rica.

At Quatro Legal we understand that pets are also members of the family, therefore, we advise for the importing process of your pets to our beautiful country.

Got questions? We have answers. Feel free to contact Gonzalo Rojas, partner of Quatro Legal, at or call +5064350-0501.