Everyone arriving to Colombia must pass through border control before entering the country and must fill in a customs form handed on the plane.
When passing through customs, you must decide whether you have goods to declare or not, and go to the corresponding desk. If you are not carrying any items that are restricted or prohibited, you may go to the "Nothing to declare" desk.
Keep in mind that customs authorities perform random checks on all passengers to detect any irregularities. If you are caught with undeclared restricted or prohibited goods, penalties are high.
Any items exceeding the above limits must be declared.
Note that for any goods shipped 30 days before or 90 days after your arrival are charged with a 15% import tax.
Some items may only carried in limited quantities, otherwise they must be declared:
Cats and dogs can be brought into Colombia, but this requires planning and preparation.
The documents to be presented are:
If the documents are originally not in Spanish, an official translation must be provided.
Once the documents are verified by the officials, a veterinarian from the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) will examine your pet and issue a Sanitary Inspection Certificate (Certificado de Inspección Sanitaria), which you will need to pay with a credit card.
Note that because they are considered dangerous animals, the following categories of pets are not allowed in Colombia:
Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane's cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Make sure you check the conditions of your airline when purchasing the ticket.
If your pet's cage does not fit under your seat, you will have to ship it as checked baggage. Since the outside air temperature also affects the temperature in the cargo bay, airlines may restrict the transportation of pets during certain times of the year. Airlines have special requirements for containers in the cabin and cargo bay. Make sure you get detailed information from your preferred airlines before purchasing a cage or kennel.
Before leaving, make sure your animal is familiarized with the kennel or container. Add an item of your clothing or a familiar toy to relieve the stress placed upon your pet by the transport conditions. It is not advised to sedate your pet during the flight, and should be used as a last resort.
There are also pet relocation companies that assist you in all the stages of the move. Their services are usually expensive, but take away the stress of doing it on your own.
A quarantine period is necessary if your pet does not meet the health criteria for entering the country. During the quarantine, ICA staff will visit and examine your pet twice before issuing the final clearance.
U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet "Know Before You Go" at http://www.cbp.gov/ is very helpful. (Click on "Travel" and then click on "Know Before You Go! Online Brochure").
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20229
Canadian Citizens: "I Declare", issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ) is helpful.
Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called "Know Before You Go". Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to http://www.customs.gov.au/.
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