We are moving to Coronado Beach between July and September. We have 4 small dogs and 1 cat. We have looked into different options for transporting our pets. For those of you who have moved to Panama with your pets, I would like some feedback as to how you did it in detail.
We'll be moving to Panama in the next couple years. I have 9 cats, a cockatiel and an iguana which are cause for concern. In doing some research I came across some relocation services that may be of help which I'll list below. I did read that you must bring each pet for a checkup/vaccinations prior to the trip. They need to fill out a form wich also needs to be signed off by the USDA if from the US. Then you'll need to go to Panamanian Consulate to also have them sign off on forms as well as write to Health agency in Panama to request home quarentine. There are different fees for each (can't remember) If you google you can probably find out the info too. Since you'll be moving before me, any info you can provide would be most helpful since we are in the same boat w/ multiple pets and I would like to make it as quick and painless as possible.
Buenas suerte!! Cynthia*
Happytailstravel.com 800 323-1718/ 520 299-3315 (this appeared to be the best)
Animalsaway.com 800 492-7961 (called- wasn't overly impressed but you should still check'm out)
Hey guys and welcome to panama!!! moving with pets is a lot of work. I did it with two cats, one pit bull and one very pregnant wife. I think it would be easier to fight the pit bull for a ham bone then deal with my wife.. lol.. ok so lets start off with what you need. you need to contact a pet service down here first. I used http://www.movingtopanama.com/pet-relocation-to-panama/ but there are a few others on line you can check out. You can do it all on your own, but you might forget one thing and that's going to cause you and your pets grief. These people will file the paperwork you need to be able to take all your pets home that day. No vet ever showed up when we got here, and the lady at that site talked to the people about it and we walked with our pets. no 30 days in some cage some place.
you have to have a vet check all your pets and report that all are fine and all shots are up to date. now this CAN NOT be just your normal vet. he or she must be a member of USDA. Those forms are like 5 copies each a diff. color. Once that usda vet checks your pets and fills out that paperwork, then it must be sent to the USDA for some stamp they must put on it, then after they mail it back to you, then you must mail all those to the embassy of panama in the U.S. they must stamp them. once they mail them back to you then your ready to go. here's the kicker from the time your vet signs those forms you have 15 days to get those pets to panama. or those forms are void. what I did was have the vet forward date those forms by a day, then I fed ex the forms with a prepaid pre addressed envelope back to me so all the usda had to do is stamp my paperwork and put it in the envelope and fire it back, I did the same with the embassy. Now I must state right now that this was 6 years ago and things change so what I am saying might still be right or some part of it might have changed. so the best thing to do is contact the people who do this everyday for a living. another point you need to think about is the weather, some airlines will allow you to bring your cats as carry on. some will not. small dogs as well, bigger dogs must go in the shipping hole. and that will depend on how hot it is that day, it gets to hot they WILL NOT fly your pets in the hole. check with your airline and make sure you follow all their rules or your pet will not be making the flight with you. food, water, shipping box, bedding all must be as they lay it out. once here you pass through customs with your bags and pets and then your taken to a small room so the vet can check all paperwork and clear it as well as customs. then out the door you go. also note that here in panama it is against the law for a hotel to rent a room with you having a pet. so if your planning to stay at a hotel in the city before going where ever your going next you might want to check with them on that. that's the way it was 6 years ago. my driver didn't show up once we got here to take us the two hour drive to our new home, so I said well now what? a taxi to a hotel room for the night? and the lady who met us to help with our pets said, no and told us the above. then she packed all our stuff in her car and drove us to a B AND B she knew of that would allow pets. but no hotel will. so that's all I can tell you, hire them to help you with it all it's well worth it. they have to file paperwork down here so you will be able to take your pets out with you. they also told me I had to keep my pets inside my home for those 30 days, which is bull, no one is going to come check. another thing I want to point out, is once you get your pets home, spend a great deal of your first few days with them. they will be freaked out from the trip and stressed, plus it's a new home and place for them. If your in the country and your dogs are outside make sure your up on what types of frogs, snakes, and other things that your dog/cat might want to try to eat and what harm might come to them for doing so. I would also like to inform you on the M.O of some of the crooks here. I have heard of this being done many times with large guard dogs as well as small inside yappers. These guys will throw poison meat balls into your yard to kill your dog then they will hit your house in the next few days. this just happen to a friend of mine, both his pits died, and he went out and got two more and stayed home instead of going to work for that whole week, a couple down the road from him got their home broken into that same week. he knew they were going to hit his. his vet found traces of rat posion in both his pits. I hope some of this helps you and you all have a great and safe trip to your new country.
Thanks for the info!! I'll check out the service you recommended!! A lot of what you wrote confirmed what I said in more detail. I guess my biggest concern is not so much the paperwork (which is a huge pain in the butt, but I'll deal w/ it) but more the amount of pets that I'll be moving with. Are these relocation services able to expidite things in that regard?? Having 11 pets to consider would mean at least 5 trips back and forth according to most airlines that I've investigated. Perhaps you can shed some light on if they'd be able to assist w/ the transport of more pets per trip etc. Obviously their safety and well being are my biggest concern and under the circumstances this is going to be my biggest challenge in relocating to another country. Any information you can provide will be a huge help and also help to put my mind at ease.
Yes 11 pets!! I used to foster for a rescue group--fell in love w/ some and some didn't get adopted. Most people think I'm crazy but considering the problems here in the states w/ abuse/over population etc I'm happy that I can do my part and they're happy, healthy, and ALIVE....I can only imagine that it's going to get worse once I move to Panama since I've purchased a nice piece of property and the wildlife is so abundant. I jokingly said to my bf one day "honey, don't be suprised if I come home w/ a sloth one day!! Well what was I supposed to do?? He fell out of the tree and is hurt!! I couldn't just leave him there!!" Lol!! Knowing me I'll probably start some type of sanctuary. Ahh Panama!! Gotta love the possibilities!!
So as far as airlines are concerned, it seems like American has the most liberal policies for pet travel. In cabin per person is allowed 2 pets of same species-under 20lbs total & 2 kennels per person in the cabin up to 100lbs. No birds or reptiles--no direct flights. If we get a friend to travel w/ us we can at least be able to bring all the cats together. Then the bird and iguana I'll have to fly seperately w/ another airline who takes them. A big load off my mind to a certain extent and at least is a starting point. Once I get to the country I'll have to figure out a way to get them to the western side--but one step at a time!!
Keep me in mind if you happen to hear of anything etc that will help me on my way since I'll have some time to figure things out.
Obtain a health certificate and have it authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate in Managua. Have vaccines records up to date. To cross the border from Costa Rica to Panama this will be sufficient. At the International airport in Panama City, official charges are around $150.00 for one pet, but at the border it might be much less as it is a less controlled checkpoint and documents might be checked just by one office rather than by two offices as it is done at the International airport in Panama City.
Thanks for the reply!! I have a feeling it will be best to probably have a relocation service assist w/ the move. What do you think it will cost to move w/ so many pets? I have 9 cats and a bird and iguana. I'm most concerned about the bird and iguana. I was told by one service I contacted that I wouldn't be able to bring the iguana. Is this true? She's 17 yrs old and I've had her since she was a hatchling--I will not move w/out her. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Btw--Do you have a website so that I can get more information about your company?
I called Continental Airlines and they were pretty helpful. We shipped from Florida - 1 big dog, 2 small dogs and a cat. the cost was $1500 for the airline and $600 once we got to PC. My sister-in-law helped us with pickup so we didn't hire a pet agent. There is a in house quarantine for 30 days (i think). Make sure the plane arrives on a weekday between 8 and 5:30 when the local vet is on site. Make sure you do all the paperwork as described below in another post. When you send your pet health certificate to the Panama Consulate, make sure you put a self addressed overnight mailer in your package. Good Luck and welcome to Panama!
I'm not sure how much research you have done regarding moving your bird but you must get on it right away. One month is not much time to figure it all out. Don't mean to scare you but birds pose there own challenges for relocation and I'd hate for you to have any issues with this. If you read the earlier posts you will see that I'll have my hands full with this as well when we're ready to move in the near future.
First off, not many airlines will take birds. Please check with all airlines pet policies to find out which do. You can find this on their websites. If I remember correctly Continental will allow birds in cargo, but not in the main cabin. Please check into this yourself to confirm and get as much info from them as possible.
Second, you will need to have all the paperwork in order, similar to shipping a dog or cat, but you will need an additional vaccine specifically for birds. Ask you vet about this and contact the Panamanian Consulate asap.
Third, you will have to contact Fish and Wildlife to get a "Cites" permit. (This is in addition to the other paperwork you will need to provide) I think this is to make sure the bird wasn't plucked from the wild and was obtained legally. Not sure exactly, but fill out the form.
Fourth, I would contact a pet relocation company to help you with the move. There was a nice gentleman who's info is in this thread. Another is Jose Saenz (Golden Frog) who comes highly recommended. You can google his info.
So I hope I've helped to shed some light. People have moved with pets over and over again so please don't get discouraged. Birds are a little bit trickier but as long as you have all the paperwork in order and find the right airline you should be fine.
Please follow up to let us know how things went and let me know if you have any other questions. I'll be in your shoes soon enough so this would be most helpful.
I read everything on line, etc. Then I discovered that the state USDA office had all the answers because moving animals to other countries is their job. I corresponded with an USDA agent through email. She sent me all the forms (even Panama ones) and instructions. My office was very responsive.
There are hotels in Panama that accept pets.. One is right at the airport. Holiday Inn Canal for another. And there are more. The USDA reported to me that Panama does NOT require a USDA vet. However, Most of the European Community does. The form that your vet completes has space for a USDA vet number, but it also says (if needed). I have all the documents from Panama about importing pets, and they do not say a USDA vet required, only that the vet is registered with the USDA and that the USDA sign off on the certifcate
The standard that the Panamanian airport authorities are used to see by years is the USDA IHC signed by the licensed vet and by the USDA vet and the stamp/seal from the USDA. After that, the USDA IHC has to be also taken to a Panamanian Consulate for the official endorsement....or it can be apostilled. Plan ahead of time to do all this as it has to be done within 10 days prior to departure which is what most airlines from USA require.
In the cabin, you can only bring 1 pet per passenger so some will go in cargo. Your US vet will have to fill out a vaccination record and proof that the animal is in good health. Then the form must be signed by the Dept of Agriculture. Once you get to PTY, it's easy. If you were only bringing 2 pets, I's say do it on your own - it's really easy. But since you have pets in cargo, use a service like GoldenFrog. He can get your cargo pets while you go through customs. He will have all the info you need. Just allow enough time for the US portion.
Lots of info here. Let me add. Having recently shipped my cat from Texas to Panama. United does no permit invasion on international flights. You can ship as cargo using United's PetS are. If you try and sync your flight with pet you will need 3 hours layover on connecting flights. Recommend reserving the PetS schedule before buying your tickets..no charge for PetS schedule. Need to go to a USDA license d vet, not all vets want to deal with paperwork hassle. After the local vet completes his part of USDA forms the forms need to be signed off by USDA Vet then the forms and rabies form sent to a Panamanian Counsulate for approval. There is ten day window to get this done, not 11 days. Need to let Panama know expected arrival date, email. Paperwork in order, pay fees good to go. I understand other airlines may allow a pet in cabin..
USDA Vet is at the USDA office. E.g., Austin Texas. The vets will sign off APHIS forms. The 10 day window starts from the time local vet Signs off. Hand carried form to Austin, USDA office, forwarded AFHIS and rabies certificate (with $60 mo) to Panamanian Consulate in Houston, overnight express mail and included over night express addressed to me. Check the nearest Consulate website and the airline. I used petsafe with United.
On an USDA International health certificate that is checked by the Panamanian airport authorities there are three different dates. First, the US licensed vet, then the USDA vet and then the Panama Consulate (Remember that the apostille is also valid instead of the Consulate). For the Panama Tocumen airport authorities the date that they take as reference is the date from their counterpart, in other words, the USDA office. Also as a general information, for the Panama Tocumen airport authorities the USDA HC is valid for 30 days and not only 10, but most airlines do ask for 10 days regardless that Panama accepts 30 days so you will have to follow the airline regulations in order to board your pet in their aircraft.
I want to live in Panama for several months to check it out before I decide to move there. I want to bring my three cats with me for this trial period and I want to coordinate their arrival with mine.
I'm looking at the Chiriquí area - rent something for several months with my cats to see if I like it, then decide. But, I'll have to return to the states for a month or sooner to close shop before I return.
Does this sound unreasonable? Please dend me your feedback.
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