Panama Pet Importation Legal Guide – This is written from the perspective of one who intends to relocate to Panama and wishes to bring a pet with them. Since many of you will be coming from different countries this is just an overview of the legal process.
Pet Health Certificate from Departure Country – This is the first place to begin. Visit a Vet in your country and ask them for assistance. They have been there and done this before. Generally the Vet will update the shots for the pet and sign off on a general certificate of health. This should be within 10 days of leaving your departure country. From some countries like the USA you will need to get some forms from the Department of Agriculture. Your Vet will help you fill these out. You will need these US Department of Agriculture forms to get the animal on the plane. The USDA is basically certifying the Vet forms. You can find a link for one of their offices near you here:
Call them and get the latest details.
Authentication of Pet Health Certificate by Panama Embassy – You need to then have the Pet Health Certificate and USDA forms certified by the Panama Consulate of Embassy nearest you. They generally charge $30 for this. You would Fed EX in the form with a money order for their fee and include a Fed Ex prepaid envelope or express mail envelope prepaid and they would return it to you.
Vet at the Airport – You then need to make arrangements to have a certified Vet meet your plane at the airport. The Vet will examine the pet and allow the pet to be placed in home quarantine with you for 30 days. The pet can go out but must remain with you at all times. After about two or three weeks you will get a phone call asking if the animal is in good heath. After this phone call you will hear nothing assuming the animal is in good health and at the end of the 30 days it is over. Not a big deal really.
Panama Weather Warning – Panama can get hot. If you are from a cold climate your pet may suffer. Consider arriving at night when it is cool but make sure the Vet will meet your flight or you will be sitting there until the morning when the Vet on duty arrives. It may take one or even two hours till you find your pets kennel at the airport. Small pets should if possible travel in the cabin with you. Generally things work out. Be careful about flight connections if hot since your pet may suffer there as well. Think about taking a long haired dog or cat from a climate where it is 30 degrees into one where it is 87 degrees and humid and it is cooped up in a small kennel in a not air conditioned baggage handling section of the terminal.
Legal requirements for Pet Importation into Panama – You do not need a Panama lawyer for this. Most of the work will be done before you depart your original country.