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If you’ve been following this page, or my Instagram for some time, you may know that I brought my puppy to Peru with me. Here’s a little guide I put together accompanied by some cute pictures to brighten up your day 🙂
Importing Pets to Peru
When I first started researching what importing our dog and cat to Peru would entail, it seemed like a pretty straight-forward process: make sure your pet was up to date on vaccines, including rabies shot within 11 months. Book a flight for them, and bring a pet(s) to a USDA certified veterinarian within 10 days of traveling for their International Health Certificate and presto! Your pet is now an ex-pet…wait… that doesn’t sound right. They are now an ex-pat-pet. J Well, ha! It would be so nice if that were actually that simple.
As I researched this a little more, it was very evident that people who imported their pets had 2 incredibly different experiences. There were some people that said the process was extremely easy. Once their plane landed, they picked up their pet inside the airport at the baggage claim area. There was a little paperwork to complete, a $33 (99 soles) Sunat fee to pay, and they were on their way in about an hour or less.
But, there were other people who had a completely different experience. There were stories of a 4-6 hour process, more expenses and a complete headache. I set out on a mission to figure out why there was such a HUGE difference and what could I do to be in the first group that eased through the process with no headaches or hassles. My first theory was that people who had animals small enough to carry on-board with them were the ones who breezed through the customs process. Those with larger animals that had to fly as cargo were subjected to the lengthier, more expensive process. My second theory was that it depended on what airline your pets flew in on. It turns out to be somewhat a combination of these two. If you carry your pet on-board with you, you are golden. You can stop reading here, if you like. I have also found there are airlines that allow pets to go as “excess baggage” (verses “Cargo”). I’m not sure if it’s the terminology exactly that matters, but the ultimate deciding factor is… if your pet flies in the cargo area of the plane, do they drop them off as “baggage” in the baggage claim area, or do they drop them off in the “Lima Cargo City” warehouse. I believe American Airlines and LATAM both drop them off in the baggage area. I’m not sure what other airlines do or do not do this. I don’t think there are many. I can tell you for sure that United Airlines has them go to Lima Cargo City… and good Lord! What a nightmare this process is. I have luckily never been to jail, but I think I would prefer a night in the slammer to what I went through to get our dog (Winston) and cat (Kunda) out of Lima Cargo City jail. I am going to attempt to guide you through the process… if you have the patience to make it to the end of this. Lol! Also, please know that I am doing the best I can to remember what ended up being a Six Hour process that started at 11:00pm and ended at 5:00am. So, my memory can be a little hazy… and we all know… so can Peruvian processes.
Lima Cargo City is a big warehouse that the airlines drop imported cargo in to be processed through customs. It is located very close to the airport, likely considered the same property. You can either walk there from the airport (about a 10 minute walk door to door), or you can take a quick (overpriced) cab if you prefer. Just know they will overcharge you for as short of a drive as it is. But, it’s also not in the safest area, so you have to use your own comfort level with this. In addition to the warehouse, you will also find Senasa, a couple of banks (BCP, BBVA, etc), Talma, and a copy center. These will all be necessary. Before diving in further, I’ll lay out the different entities you will deal with:
- Lima Cargo City- A strip-center/warehouse next to the airport
- Airline Cargo Department (In my case it was United Cargo)
- Senasa- Department of Agriculture
- Talma- Independent company that runs the warehouse http://www.talma.com.pe/ingles/nosotros.php
- Aduanas- Sunat/Customs
Here is a preliminary list of what you are going to need:
- Original USDA International Health Certificates w/ embossed stamp
- Original Guia Aerea, plus 2 or 3 copies- Provided by the airline once the pets arrive. In the States this is referred to as an Airway Bill
- Original Senasa receipt, and two copies, showing you have paid the $33 (99 soles) fee to Senasa. We paid ours at BCP. Account # 1931315179035
- Manilla Folder with the above documents attached with a two-hole fastener (yes, the lady at Senasa said we needed to provide this. We didn’t question, we just did what she asked. I have no idea if this is absolutely necessary. This will be the least of your worries. Just do yourself a favor and get one ahead of time).
- Senasa Application for Importation of Pets (This will be given to you by Senasa)
Since we were in Peru before our pets were, we were able to start this process prior to their flight. I’m recording the process as we know it, so this is what we did. It took about 2 hours for our pets to be brought from the plane to the United Cargo area in Lima Cargo City.
These steps all take place at Lima Cargo City. You do not need to go to the actual airport.
Prior to Pets Arriving, if possible
- Go to Senasa & get Application for Importation of Pets
- Go to United Cargo and get a copy of the Guia Aerea. You will need the Airway Bill Number. This is given to you when you book their flight.
- Pay Senasa fee at bank (see above)
- Go to copy center and make 2 copies of receipt showing proof of payment to Senasa
- Go to Senasa with the preliminary list above in your folder and volante. They will now give you a Numero Expediente.
Once pets arrive-
Note it took 2 hours for our pets to be brought from the plane to the United Cargo area.
- Once your pets are physically brought to the Cargo warehouse, go to United Cargo. They will give you a stack of papers that contains the original Guia Aerea. This is a very important document.
- Go to Talma- *** Note that the only person that is allowed access into the area to pay your Talma fees is the person who is listed as the importer of the animal. If you need a translator, or you would like someone to accompany you, you will need to go to the “tramite” info window and ask for an Access pass to complete. Make copies of this next door in the copy center, along with copies of your I.D.
- Go to window #31, pay Talma United Cargo’s handling fee $82 (US. Cash. No Credit Cards) This is an airline fee & may vary depending on airline.
- They will give you a Volante (This is a perforated paper w/ 4 different copies, and is very important. You are asked for this on many occasions).
- They will also give you a Boleta (receipt) for the $86
- Go downstairs to this area called “Attencion al Clientes” (Customer Service Room). You will see a machine that looks similar to an ATM machine. Scan the bar code of your Volante in order to receive a “tike”. Keep this. It’s needed somewhere along the process.
- Go back to United Cargo w/ Boleta & Volante from Talma. They will give you the remainder and final paperwork.
- Go back to Senasa, let them know you are ready for inspection. Find the inspector/veterinarian and give them the Numero Expediente. They will also probably ask for the tike, which will allow them access to the cargo area where your animals are being kept.
- Go back to Talma’s “Attencion al Cliente” waiting area
- After the Dr/Inspector examines the pets, he/she will have you sign some documents
- Take these documents, along with a Volante, original Guia Aerea, and about an hour of your time to the Aduanas window (second floor). ** They will ask for your passport, which you most likely gave to the person at the entrance to hold as collateral for your access pass. Not sure what to tell you about that. We gave our Carnets for collateral, and luckily had our passports with us. The Aduanas agent will want to make copies of your passport and will very slowly complete some additional paperwork. If you have already made a copy of your passport, perhaps they will take that. I’m not sure.
- Go back to payment window you were previously at (when you paid $86) with the Sunat forms given to you by the Aduanas agent, and the volante. They may, or may not, also ask for your passport. They will collect Talma’s storage & handling fee. I think this is a variable fee, depending on weight of pets, etc. Ours was $110. We also had to pay an extra fee of $80 because we were completing this process outside of normal business hours… even though they are open 24 hours.
- You will need to give the people at the window the license plate of the car that will need to enter the storage facility to load up the pets & their kennels.
- Go downstairs and wait for them to bring your pets out. *At this point, you should be able to see your name on their TV screens on the loading docks. This will tell you what dock they are bringing your pets to, and how long it will take them to do it.
Congratulations!!!! You have now sprung your pet(s) out of Lima City Cargo jail!!!! Get the hell out of dodge!
- If you at all can afford it, just hire someone to do this for you. Melisa Grisolla w/ Petwings is highly recommended by many people. We hired her to give us a ride home from the airport because our pets and kennels were too large to fit inside a cab.
- If you do not speak Spanish, you will need to bring someone with you that does
- Talma requires one person per pet for transport out. So, if you have 3 pets, you need to have 2 additional people with you for transport
- We were told this process is easier during the day. And we were told by someone else, it was easier at night. Not sure how it could get worse. But, if you want to save $80, do this during normal business hours. Apparently, you can go during the night and walk your pets so they are not in their kennels for so long without being able to use the bathroom. I didn’t know this ahead of time.
- In case you need to stay in a hotel, be aware of the proper etiquette when traveling with your dog.
- Own small pets and carry them on board. Lol!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me using the contact form, and if check out my book here for more in-depth information about how to travel with a dog in Peru.