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Bringing, Importing & Transporting Pets to Ecuador (Plus the Reverse!)

For those Expats needing/wanting to make their move to Ecuador become that of a pet affair as well (regardless of whether relocating to Ecuador at self or as a family at that), bringing one’s furry pal(s) to any new country can be stressful for both the foreigner pet owners as well as their pets – owning a 100+ pound German Shepherd with my American husband and our 2 daughters, I/we know from experience that pets of all sizes can get just as stressed out as their masters! And so, this article is meant to lighten the load (so to speak) of bringing your pet(s) to Ecuador.

First things first, ALWAYS note that 4 legged pets have it far easier than their 2 legged owners, and to boot, having 4 legs (and those being furry legs as first stated above) is of utmost importance for pets coming to Ecuador, as very truly, MANY clients of mine have wanted to bring birds to Ecuador such as chickens, cockatiels, macaws, parakeets and parrots, including even bunny rabbits, and virtually NONE of them were easily (if at all) permitted to do so, because of the strict and stringent requirements for those other type pets shipped to Ecuador. Candidly, I have previously on various occasions spent up to weeks at a time trying to get acceptances on the importation of birds and bunnies to Ecuador from multiple Ministries in Ecuador, and virtually always it was like pulling teeth, with usually only ruffled feathers and dislocated beaks (mind those puns..) to show for it – importing horses to Ecuador is a little easier than birds and bunnies, but even that is still akin to pulling off a trick and a half (if not a hat trick!).

Notably, per the vast majority of foreigners moving to Ecuador, transporting pets to Ecuador generally resonates most with dog and cat lovers, such that HAPPILY the information for doing so is relatively straightforward, and in fact, ALL of my Expat clients from anywhere in the world whom have adhered to the EXACT following instructions for doing so have NEVER under ANY circumstances had even a SINGLE problem with Ecuadorian Customs (Aduana), PERIOD..

In your domesticated pet(s) vaccine book with your pre-existing veterinarian it must show that your domesticated pet(s) has all age appropriate vaccines and tick/tapeworm test provided by the same veterinarian, and these are of course internationally respected vaccines that are enforceable under law around the world. There is also a full form to complete for each of your domesticated pets with the airline you will fly into Ecuador with, and you can call your airline to have them email or provide this full form to you, as you must do all this at least 10 days before your flight time and have the respective approval issued before your domesticated pets fly with you. Check with your airline(s) for your trip to Ecuador to see which connections permits pets, as this changes regularly based on final destination city in Ecuador, and so be sure to ask your airline as they will know best on the connections for the place and date you are wanting to travel to Ecuador with your pet(s)!

Here as follows is the detailed explanation, if you wish to see the technical information that your foreign Vet should already in ANY case very well know..

 

Regulations for taking Dogs and/or Cats into Ecuador (from either the US or Canada in particular – most other countries are similar as well):

Ecuador does NOT quarantine healthy dogs and cats who meet the following requirements:

  • Your pet (for dogs or cats) must have a current rabies vaccination administered between 21 days and 12 months prior to entry into the country.
  • A USDA (or CFIA) accredited veterinarian must complete the Veterinary Certificate for Ecuador within 10 days of travel for endorsement by the USDA or CFIA if traveling from the United States or Canada. If you are NOT traveling from the US or Canada, the Governing Authority of your country responsible for the import and export of animals should endorse the forms.
  • Ticks & Tapeworm test (or treatment) must be administered within 21 days prior to travel.

With regards to the immediate above list of requirements, though officially one is also asked to call the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture (Agrocalidad) 72 hours before arriving with their pet(s) to Ecuador, from a practical perspective, NONE of my many hundreds of foreigner clients whom have arrived with pets to Ecuador over the years (including even a number others in the past week while I have been writing this article) who didn’t or weren’t able to call Agrocalidad (regardless of whether they could or would have answered their phone if they had called), NOT A ONE of them coming to Ecuador with their pets have EVER had ANY problems whatsoever as per not calling or not in any way whatsoever speaking with them ahead of time.

As it concerns bringing multiple pets to Ecuador (i.e. 3 or 4 pets) on the same trip, please note that as the standard limit is 2 pets per person/family flying into Ecuador by plane on any single flight, you as a pet owner can simply bring 2 of your pets ON ONE FLIGHT under your name and the 3rd/4th pet your spouse (or other family members) can bring in their own name ON A SEPARATE FLIGHT on either that same day or on a different day (in such case you and your spouse will simply have SEPARATE sets of pet documents to make because in such case you and your spouse are/will each be traveling SEPARATELY with different pets on your two respective flights to Ecuador, so that Aduana does not then have any reason to enforce the usual 2 pet limit per family trip. Or of course, simply instead (or in addition), on a second trip shortly thereafter you could if needed/wanted have a friend or other family member visit you and/or your spouse or family with your 3rd/4th pets (even for 5th or higher numbered pets too), simply for purposes of that trip declaring the pet(s) as their own and then they just as simply leave that/those additional pet(s) with you and/or your spouse/family in Ecuador when your friend or other family member leaves to return back home on their return plane flight back to their resident country (i.e. when flying back to the US, Canada, Europe, etc.).

 

Exporting Pets from Ecuador to the US (in particular)

In comparison to importing pets to Ecuador, it’s significantly harder to transport (EXPORT) pets from Ecuador to another country (such as from Ecuador to the US), since in such case you have to gather some necessary requirements here in Ecuador first, which are explained in this section. Please note that in any case though, the US does NOT allow kittens to enter that are younger than 4 months old.

And so, you have to gather documents to EXPORT pets from Ecuador (particularly to the US as referenced in this section’s subtitle). The EXPORT documents are the ones you get here in Ecuador with your Ecuadorian Veterinarian and Agrocalidad.

The US will not require too much beyond the EXPORT documents from Ecuador, but for making sure if your state will actually require something, please check the following link here.

Here in Ecuador, you need to check with BOTH your airline and Agrocalidad. Most Ecuadorian Veterinaries should be able to assist you with Agrocalidad requirements.

In the following link you can find the requirements for a pet to be able to get the CERTIFICATE OF EXPORT from the Ecuadorian Government here.

And so, per the immediate above link, any pet being sent from Ecuador to the US will/would need the following:

  • HEALTH CERTIFICATE: Provided by your pet’s Ecuadorian Veterinarian.
  • PAYMENT RECEIPT: Payment made at Banco del Pacífico, but which will need to be advised to you by Agrocalidad specifically in any/each case.
  • VACCINES CARD*: Rabies and De-wormers.

*NOTE: You have to consult with your Ecuadorian Veterinarian and Agrocalidad as per which exactly are the required vaccines needed for getting the CERTIFICATE OF EXPORT. Also, please take into account that your pet(s) would be able to travel ONLY AFTER 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE VACCINE HAVING BEEN ADMINISTERED HERE IN ECUADOR, that is to say, your pet(s) will NOT be able to travel within the 30 days following the vaccines having been provided to them. In any case, this can be properly informed/confirmed by and with Agrocalidad, who will issue the above referenced CERTIFICATE OF EXPORT.

  • INSPECTION AT AGROCALIDAD FACILITIES: This inspection occurs 5 days prior to your trip to the US with your pet. This is for getting the Certificate of your pet(s) NOT having the “screw-worm”.

 

In summation with respect to ALL of the above information concerning the varying aspects of importation/exportation for pets traveling to and from Ecuador, and for those of you who have world travelers for pets (whether you’d consider your own human self a world traveler or rather a spring chicken), always remember that Ecuador has its own requirements for permitting the transport of pets to/from Ecuador (and oftentimes those being over and above those of any single pet’s country of origin), thus be sure to not ever let the tail wag the dog (or cat) in what should otherwise be a standard plan to be reviewed with your Ecuadorian Attorney well prior to embarking on what is hopefully the move of a lifetime for both you and your pet(s)!


Sara Chaca (Attorney ­‐ Abogada) is a seasoned Ecuadorian Lawyer, who principally serves Expats in making their moves to Ecuador, as well as for any legal issues that arise or become actionable for her Expat clients to undertake in their new lives here in her beautiful country. Sara resides in Cuenca with her family, which consists of her American husband and 2 daughters (as well as her parents and siblings), and when not working, she enjoys spending time with her family in Cuenca’s majestic Cajas Mountains and local parks & fairs of Cuenca, plus visiting the coast as well as the many gem towns of Ecuador. Sara’s personal email address is sara@ecuadorvisas.com, and her personal cell phone number is 099.296.2065. Sara has a less than 24 hour first response policy, in that if you email or call her, she WILL return your first email or first phone call in less than 24 hours (more typically closer to 24 minutes). Most importantly, all first time consultations with Expats for any type Visa or Legal matter(s) are always FREE OF CHARGE.