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Ecuador Pet Import Warning

There has been some Ecuador pet import confusion.

Actually not confusion… just an incorrect assumption that bureaucrats know what they are talking about.


Hiking in the Andes with our hound.

Merri and I took our hound, Ma, back and forth to Ecuador over a dozen times and when a reader shared a change in pet regulations we became alert.

Readers who live in the USA may have seen the disclaimers at the IRS website stating that they cannot be responsible for their employees’ advice.  If we were to put their warnings in plain terms it would read. “If you call us and we tell you something wrong… well, you’re screwed”.

I have always been amazed at that.  Bureaucrats often make mistakes and their errors can get people in trouble. The first time I ever visited Hong Kong, the British Consulate in Portland, Oregon gave me bad advice that caused a call from the director of Hong Kong  immigration and my deportation.  Fortunately the consular official fessed up that he had misdirected me so I was allowed to come back.  Of course they never paid for the extra round trip air fare!

Merri and I have been traveling and living globally for 43 years so we have seen such errors happen more than once.  This made us dubious when a Ecuador Living Club member asking about a change from an Ecuador consul re pet immigration to Ecuador.  According to the consular official a consul stamp is no longer required on a pet’s documentation before bringing the pet to Ecuador.

“Wouldn’t that be nice?”, I thought, but I had my doubts.

We could not believe that the Ecuadorians would give up the $50 per stamp revenue.  Plus we have never seen an official at an Ecuadorian airport ask for or take cash.  That’s one thing we love about Ecuador.

We wanted to check this out so I sent a note to a customs broker who has helped many Ecuador Living club members bring pets and goods into Ecuador.

This note makes it appear that there has been a change in pet importation procedure and that a consul in the US no longer has to stamp a pets documents before they come to Ecuador.  Do you know more about this?  Gary

The broker replied: Hi Gary:  As you could read, here it is said  “Exceptions are made when the document in question must go to a consulate” …

El certificado zoosanitario de exportación tendrá una validez de 1 (Un) día, se hacen excepciones cuando el referido documento debe ser consularizado, tendiendo como vigencia máxima cuatro días hábiles

This can be “interpretated” and this is the reason why sometimes people get in trouble when they come to Ecuador because some Ecuadorian Consul “interpret incorrectly” or they are not updated in some matters. It is embarrassing for me to say that, but this happens frecuently.

Not one of the pets I have received have entered the country without the document stamped on any Ecuadorian Consulate.   All of them have paid the $50 it cost in the USA and in Canada.  The airline of course would be the first problem.  They won’t accept the USAD document without it be stamped on an Ecuadorian Consulate.  Your member should ask the airline she will be using about this requirement and how her pet will be declared by them.   If the pet is declared as unacompanied luggage then no problem, the pet will go with her same day and same time she arrives to Ecuador.   If the airline declares the pet “cargo” then she needs to get  an Ecuadorian import permit for the pet before coming with the pet.

There has not been a change that says the USAD document does not need to be stamped. If this wouldn’t be necessary, then why in the rest of the Ecuadorian Consulate they do stamp the USAD?   Here inspectors will check this requirement  with the rest of paper work for the pet.

This kind of “error in interpretations” happens sometimes in household goods matters too.

Sincerely, when precious pets are involved, I wouldn’t take the risk.

Best regards,

Our experience in global travel is that there are rules and then there are the way any one particular official understands the rules.  Merri and I have had times when after spending days and hundreds of dollars  to get our dog’s documents in order… not one person has looked.    Other times we have been argued with delayed and once even incorrectly arrested… in the USA bringing our dog back.  There appears to be a feud in Miami between the DEA drug sniffing dogs and the Custom’s Beagle Brigade food sniffing dogs.

A big DEA dog handler with a gun and a bad attitude mistook our hound as a customs dog.  That’s when I was very happy that all the papers were in order.

If you bring your pet and or household items to Ecuador do it right. Check with the Ecuador Consul,with the airlines and with a customs broker or attorney in Ecuador.

Right now, the airlines are requiring that the passenger “preregister” the pet…and most airlines will accept only one pet per cabin…SO DO THIS FIRST BEFORE  YOU BUY THE TICKET.  AA now charges $125.  Then get your vet who has experience in International Importation of Pets to fill out the paper work, overnight the package to the Dept. of Agriculture and then overnight to the Consul and then back to you…this way you’ll be certain.  Nothing worse than being turned flat down by the airline (just had 2 readers have that happen) PLUS the change fee for the tickets, etc.

Every country has its regulations…and it’s important to know them, abide with them and honor them…for the sake of your precious pet.

Ecuador Living Club members can get in touch with an Ecuador customs broker for more details at their password protected site here.

Learn how to become an Ecuador Living Club member


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