Flying to Bolivia - A Puppy's Perspective on Traveling with Pets to Bolivia

by Boesman
(Montana, USA)

Playing in the creek

Playing in the creek

Playing in the creek
In the mission plane
Flying in style
On the truck

My name is Boesman, and I am an English Springer Spaniel. People think my name is pronounced Bozeman since I live in Montana now, but you pronounce it like “Busman” would sound in Spanish. It’s actually an Afrikaans word for “Bushman.” I am now 8 years old, but I started traveling between the US and Bolivia in when I was just 1. My parents were missionaries in Bolivia and they wouldn't go to the mission field without me. So, I’ve flown from the States to Santa Cruz or back 12 times between 2005 and 2011.

I’ve also flown Amaszonas and AeroCon between Guayaramerín and Trinidad and between Trinidad and Santa Cruz. The people from AeroCon and Amaszonas always looked at my parents funny when they wanted to fly with me, but I always got to go. They just made my parents pay for overweight luggage since I took up all of their permitted luggage weight. I’ve also been on the little mission plane multiple times between Santa Cruz and Guayaramerín. I liked that a lot better because it was like riding in a car and I got to sit on my mom’s lap. One time I even traveled in the little mission plane from Guayaramerín, Bolivia to Georgetown, Guyana where we slept on the tarmac under the wing of the plane. From there we flew to Puerto Rico. Some extra cargo that we had to pick up and the fuel we had to add made the plane too heavy to take my parents and me the rest of the way to the States, so my parents got a little nervous. But then, by a miracle, a medical flight (Lear jet) flew into the same small airport and offered to take us to Atlanta (which is where we were going) for free. So I have even flown on a Lear Jet. I got to lay on the stretcher. :)

Oh, and I’ve also purchased my own bus ticket a few times between Santa Cruz and Trinidad. My favorite bus company is Bolivia, but only when they have the “bus cama” available.

My mom and I noticed you had a lot of questions about pet travel and paperwork and stuff so we've decided to share what we know with you from my own personal experience. Woof! :)

It turns out that my parents had to do a lot of paperwork to get me to Bolivia. First I had to visit the vet. Actually, that's all I had to do. My parents were the ones who had to do all the rest of the work, so I didn't worry too much about it. I asked my mom to make a list of everything you have to do with the papers. You will find it below.

When it came time to choose an airline, my parents had to choose between some nice international carriers (Copa, LAN, Taca) and American Airlines. Since there were no departure cities for the international carriers close to my parents' home, they opted for American Airlines so they would only have to pay my pet fee one time to get me from the U.S. to Santa Cruz. Some airlines even have embargoes during certain months for pets like me that must travel as cargo. So, you have to study the airline policies carefully before booking. My parents also had to watch the weather because the forecast couldn't be hotter than 85 F (29.4 C) or colder than 45 F (7.2 C) anywhere on the itinerary. Since I'm so fuzzy, the vet signed a waiver on the APHIS form allowing me to travel even if it was a little colder, all the way down to 20 F (-6.6 C). One time it was so cold in Detroit the day we were supposed to leave that I wasn’t allowed to fly. But American Airlines was nice enough to book us on the same flight for the next day. Oh, and you also have to attach a water source to the kennel. (Think giant hamster bottle.) That’s another new requirement that some airlines have, so please, please, please read their most current requirements because it’s better to be safe than sorry!

If you are planning to travel with your doggy like my parents did, check out the following sites to find the most current information from each airline.

*Copa Airlines - (Beginning in May, pets may no longer travel as checked baggage on Copa. You must contact the Copa Cargo to make arrangements for your pet.)

*TACA - (Small pets only as carry-ons)

*LAN

*American Airlines

*Air Europa

You can also read some comments my mom posted on one of Bolivia Bella’s forums in early June 2012. It’s basically the same information, but in her words, not mine. Woof! :)

Here’s what you need to get your pet into Bolivia. (by Boesman’s mom)

1. Obtain the APHIS 7001 Form - We always got two forms and visited the vet twice before traveling. One form we used for the airline since it had to be obtained and signed no more than 10 days before flying and didn’t require as many signatures as the form for the Bolivian authorities. The other form was used to submit to Bolivian authorities since it took longer than 10 days to get the form signed by all of the appropriate offices in the U.S. and, therefore, wouldn’t work for the airline.

2. Take your pet to the vet. Your veterinarian must fill out the APHIS form and sign it with his/her original signature, not a stamp. (The form used to be available in a 6-copy set, but it appears that this is no longer the case. You will want multiple copies so each entity can keep a copy.) ALSO get an official copy of pet’s rabies certificate with veterinarian’s original signature while you are at the vet. You will want this to get back into the States with your pet.

3. Schedule an appointment with the USDA department of Veterinary Services. Completed form must be signed and stamped by the USDA department of Veterinary Services. ALSO get the rabies certificate stamped at this office. You should also be able to mail the documents to Vet Services. You can find the appropriate office for your state.

4. Find a notary public. Form must now be notarized. (Bolivians like to have things notarized.) This poses a slight challenge since they are not really notarizing either the vet’s or USDA’s signatures. If you know your notary personally, you can explain the situation. If you don’t, you may want to try to wait to sign your name on the form until you are in front of the notary.

5. Go to the County Clerk’s office. After notarizing the document, you will need to visit the County Clerk in the county in which the notary is registered to get a notarial certificate. This is generally a piece of paper with a seal that will be stapled to the form. It simply states that the notary is, in fact, a notary. (Depending on your state, you may be able to skip this step and go right from step 4 to step 6.)

6. Find the Authentications Department of the Secretary of State for your state. Visit or mail your document to the Secretary of State to get your document authenticated. NOTE: You do NOT want an apostille. Most states will know this based on the fact that the document is going to Bolivia, but it is good to know, just in case. Also, click on the following link to find the appropriate office. For states like Michigan where there are multiple offices for Secretary of State where you get your driver’s license, you will notice that this is NOT the same office where documents are authenticated. The authentication’s office will most likely be located in your state’s capital city. In Michigan, it is called the "Office of the Great Seal".

7. Mail your document to the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office. After having the form authenticated in your state, you must then send the form to the US Department of State. In theory, you can skip from step 3 to this step but the Bolivian embassy in Washington told us that the form had to go through steps 4-6 as well. You can always call the consul to find out what you should do. In any case, when you send the form to Washington, D.C., follow these instructions to the letter!

8. Mail your document to the Bolivian Consulate Legalizations Department in Washington, D.C. After the form is authenticated by the U.S. Department of State, you must send the form to the Bolivian Consulate to be legalized.

Remember to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope each time you send your documents to an office by mail. It’s worth it to also pay a bit extra so that it is trackable! ALSO, this is the same process (minus the vet services) that you must use to authenticate BIRTH CERTIFICATES and MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES if you plan to apply for your Bolivian residency.

Well, we sure hope all of this information helps you get your pets to Bolivia. After all, we are part of the family, too! Woof!

We’ve also posted information on what you need to do to exit Bolivia with a pet.


Posted 2 February 2013

Comments for Flying to Bolivia - A Puppy's Perspective on Traveling with Pets to Bolivia

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Jul 06, 2013
What About Spanish Translation of APHIS?
by: Max The Westie

Bolivian Consulate (DC) requirements for legalization state that the original APHIS document and a translation should be notarized. Was this your experience? If yes, did both the original and translation go through the state authentication and US certification process?

Also, re your tip on 2 APHIS documents: Is there some expectation on the part of Bolivian authorities regarding the date of the vets signature? I can see that it will take at least 2 maybe 3 weeks. Cool?

Feb 04, 2013
Re: What about other pets?
by: Tara

As of December of 2011, there was no quarantine in either the U.S. or Bolivia (provided you are not going to Hawaii.) I am not sure about birds. I would first check with the USDA department of veterinary services in the U.S and SENESAG in Bolivia to find out what the import/export policies are for birds. Then, if your bird meets the requirements, I would contact the individual airlines to see what kinds of rules apply to birds. Hope this helps!

Feb 04, 2013
what about other pets?
by: Anonymous

Does this apply only to dogs and maybe cats? What about birds, for example? Also do they not put pets in quarantine any more? Sorry so many questions, but do you know anything about that?

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