Pet travel is booming. According to the 2017–2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 37% of pet owners travel with their pets every year, up from only 19% a decade ago. And as companies adapt to the growing wave of four-legged travelers, things have gotten a bit easier. We assume that this trend of pet travel will continue to grow. And why shouldn’t it? The thrill of going to a new country with your furry pal by your side never gets old.
But when it comes to international pet travel, everyone focuses on getting there. Filling out the right paperwork, going to the vet, dealing with the airline. There’s a laundry list of things to do before you even step foot in your destination.
It’s as if all of the hard work is done in the preparation phase of the trip. Once you’re there, it’s smooth sailing.
But that’s not always the case. If you’re traveling for a week long vacation, then sure, getting there is the hard part, and you’ve done the majority of the work. But what if you’re visiting multiple countries? Or what if your trip is longer, like say, a month?
That’s where things start to get tricky.
Each country has a different period of time during which your entry paperwork remains valid. That means, if you’re exiting the country and going home within the time limit, you can use the same paperwork for the trip back. That’s great! Not to mention easy. You can enjoy your time away and go home with no extra work.
But, if your stay exceeds the allotted time, then you’ll have to get new paperwork. That means vet visits in a foreign country, more money spent, and doing whatever is required to re-enter your country of origin. Extra time, extra money, and in a foreign country (and sometimes foreign language!). It can be a headache.
So, how long can you stay in each country? It depends on the country. For example, if you’re traveling from the United States to Brazil, your paperwork remains valid for up to sixty days. If you’re traveling to a country in the EU, you have four months.
It’s sometimes hard to find the answer, but a good first place to look is on the official health certificate of your destination country. Be sure you know how long your health documents remain valid before your trip, because at times even officials get confused. When we were preparing to travel to Guatemala, we were told that our paperwork was valid for one month, starting on the day we arrived in the country. We were planning to stay for a month, so we just made the cut off. However, on the day that we were returning home, we were stopped at the airport in Guatemala. An official was called over and told us that our paperwork was valid for 30 days, starting on the day that our health certificate had been endorsed. In our case, that was a few days before we entered Guatemala, meaning it had by then expired. Our paperwork was no longer valid. We told officials we were given different information, and after a bit of back and forth, they let us go.
Personally, as someone who enjoys long trips, these kinds of bureaucratic obstacles can be the most annoying things about international pet travel. But, with a bit of advanced planning and careful scrutiny of the rules, it shouldn’t make or break your trip.
What’s the most annoying thing to you?
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