There is MUCH confusion in the past few weeks of pets arriving into Costa Rica and worry that there is a new law in place because pets are being sent to the cargo warehouse rather than being cleared through the passenger terminal.
There is not a new law. This is an old law that the government is now enforcing on pets coming in on their own ticket or airway bill. The customs officials at the airport were not aware that Continental pets were not coming in as excess baggage until a very important woman (wife of someone high up in the government) threw her weight around on the 18th of April and flashed her airway bill at the customs officials demanding her pets.
This upset the customs officials and brought to their attention the fact that Continental was allowing pets to come through the passenger terminal with an airway bill when they should go directly to the cargo facility like all other pets arriving as manifest cargo with their own tickets.
Several meetings took place over the following days and the result of these meetings were that for now, only Continental would be affected by this ruling since all of the other airlines were already following this protocol. All pets arriving on Continental as quickpak on their own ticket (airway bill) will go directly to the cargo facility rather than be released in the passenger terminal as previously allowed. Any pets arriving as checked baggage or carry-on will still be permitted to clear customs in the passenger terminal.
Only pets arriving as quickpak or manifest cargo are required to acquire an import permit prior to arrival in order for the pet to be released upon arrival. This permit should be applied for at least 4 days prior to arrival in Costa Rica through a broker so that the pet does not sit in the customs warehouse for many unnecessary hours/days unattended.
There will be taxes and customs duties charged as well as fees charged now that were never charged before as a result of the pets coming in through the cargo warehouse. The tax rate is 24.30% of the adjusted value. Pets are automatically insured at $50.00 above the amount shown on the AWB. Value is set at $50-$60 above the amount shown on the AWB and the taxes and costs are based on this amount.
The requirements for entering the country are a current rabies under one year and vaccinations (for a cat FVRCP, for a dog DHLPP) current within one year. Tick and tapeworm treatment prior to arrival. All of this must be documented on the APHIS 7001 International Health Certificate when coming from the US. The health certificate must be endorsed by the USDA within 10 days of arrival in Costa Rica. If coming from another country, the health certificate must be endorsed by the government of that country.