While this blog serves as an online public journal of our international adventure, it must also serve as a source of vital information for those relocating to Argentina. We don't see why we should keep such knowledge for ourselves - we hope others can learn from our experience.
Bella had it easy - well, accept for the four flights inside a kennel. But she didn't have to do her own paperwork! For anyone planning to bring a dog (or other pet) into the country, please consider the following guidelines:
1-Contact your airline and advise them that your dog will be traveling. Airlines require breed information, etc, to be registered in their reservation system. Even with approval, please know that your dog most likely will travel below cabin with the rest of passenger luggage. In fact, if an airline even allows animals in the cabin, the requirements are very strict: animal must fit inside a small kennel, must be able to stand and turn without touching sides of kennel, and kennel must fit below your seat. Yes, this limits your choice of animal to pretty much gerbils and hamsters.
2-Your dog must receive a complete veterinarian exam within 10 days of international departure. All vaccines must be current. The vet must sign an official certificate (with four carbon copies) declaring the dog suitable for international travel. *Make sure that a statement of temperature acclimation is written by the vet - for liability reasons, airlines require that all animals be acclimated to lower temperatures before travel!
3-The same vet certificate must be signed and "sealed" by your local USDA office. An official USDA vet will place his signature on the certificate, thus certifying the animal's health based on government regulations.
4-The certificate must now be translated into Spanish. The translation must then be notarized. Upon notarization, the translation must receive an "Apostille". This is a very important document which is accepted (and required) for international relations between the United States, Argentina, and several other nations (initiated under the Hague Convention of 1961). Such an "Apostille" is provided by your local Secretary of State or Lt. Governor's Office.
5-Buy a good kennel (must be "airline approved") and train your dog to get used to it. Bella thought it was a form of punishment every night! Be sure to have food, water, and blankets inside before the trip - and post all breed and owner information on the outside.
Of course, please keep in mind that there are many costs involved. While the documents are not very expensive, do expect to pay between U$150 to U$300 to travel with your pet. Yes, this is cheaper than a normal airline ticket, but it is still steep. Once you arrive into Argentina, pick up your pet (and kennel) at baggage claim, present the paperwork to the local vet at customs, pay a few pesos, and get on your way. Now, just find your dog some much needed water!