5 min read
Who wouldn’t want to come to Barbados? The Gem of the Caribbean Sea with its beautiful white sand beaches, breathtaking sceneries, bountiful cultural attractions and (pet) friendly people. The answer is clear—anyone would clamour to come here, pets included. So, don’t leave your pet at home and deprive him or her of the opportunity to enjoy all the island has to offer for ‘petkind’. Include them in your travel plans.
Just as Barbados opens its borders to a multitude of tourists, expats, returning nationals and second home owners who have opted to make its shores their home away from home, the island welcomes cats and dogs from all countries across the globe, provided that they satisfy the stipulated requirements.
So, what exactly are these rules that govern the entry of pets into Barbados and what is required of you the pet owner to ensure that your pet complies with them? Read on.
Your first step is to obtain an Import Permit from Barbados’ Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Veterinary Services Department. Contact details for the veterinary authorities are listed on the Ministry’s website and can be assessed HERE.
Once granted, the Import Permit is valid for a period of 6 months from the date of issue.
Your pet needs to be appropriately vaccinated and must meet the following general health requirements in order to qualify for entry into Barbados:
Must be microchipped with a device that meets International Standards Organization (ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO Standard 11785.
Must be vaccinated against rabies after the microchip has been implanted.
If your pet is a dog, within 7 days of travel, he or she must be treated against ticks and tapeworms.
If Heartworm, Leishmaniasis, Nipah virus and/or Hendra virus is endemic in your country, then your pet must be tested for these diseases and found to be negative.
Within 7 days of travel to Barbados, your pet must have a clinical examination and be issued with an Official Veterinary Export Health Certificate.
The remaining health requirements that qualify your pet for entry into Barbados differ depending on your pet’s country of residence. For the purposes of the import regulations, countries of the world are divided into two categories: countries that are rabies free or present a low risk of rabies infection (Category 1) and those that are not (Category 2).
The category of your pet’s country of residence is not only dependent on the geographic location but also on the duration of the period of residency as well as your pet’s mode of transport to Barbados. Specifically, cats and dogs from Category 1 countries must have resided in the particular country for at least 3 continuous months immediately prior to travel to Barbados. Failure to satisfy this requirement would place your pet in Category 2. Similarly, all pets travelling to Barbados via ocean are automatically grouped into Category 2.
If your pet falls into Category 1, after being vaccinated against rabies infection, 35 days must pass before he or she becomes eligible to enter Barbados. On the other hand, if your pet falls into Category 2, a FAVN rabies antibody titer blood test must be carried out by an approved laboratory 30 days after the rabies vaccination is administered and the result must be at least 0.5 IU/ml. If the FAVN test is successful, you must allow a 90-day time period to pass before your pet is allowed to enter the island.
Export Health Certificate
Apart from the Import Permit, necessary health checks and vaccinations, you are also required to obtain an Export Health Certificate for your pet. This certificate must be signed and stamped by the Official Veterinarian of the country in which your pet resides and is only valid for 10 days after it is issued.
The Export Certificate must include:
Country Details: country of origin, name of competent authority issuing the certificate, unique certificate reference number
Identification Details: your pet’s microchip number, species, breed, sex, age
Exporter Details: your name and address
Importer Details: your name and the address at which your pet will be staying while in Barbados
Health Information: the vaccinations, laboratory test and treatments as well as the certification statements that your pet received
Official Veterinarian’s Endorsement: the signature, stamp, name and title of the Official Veterinarian
Travelling to Barbados with your pet
Now for the fun part—travelling to Barbados with your pet.
Once your travel details are confirmed, you are required to give the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security at least 3 business days’ notice of your pet’s flight itinerary as well as the contact information for your chosen customs broker; which leads to our next point.
Upon arrival in Barbados, your pet will undergo veterinary checks at the Veterinary Services’ Animal Receiving Centre (ARC) and is also required to clear local customs before he or she is handed over to you and allowed to enter the island. For the latter, you will need to engage a company that offers customs brokerage services, such as RDL Eagle Trade. Contact us >
Import duty and VAT are charged on all pets entering Barbados.
You will be required to pay customs import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) as part of the customs clearance process. These fees will be assessed based on the value that you ascribe to your pet. For this, you will need to create an invoice for your customs broker to use during clearance.
Get our invoice template
Fill out the short form below and we will email you a template to use as a guide when creating your invoice for customs clearance.
There are other local fees related to the import procedure that you need to bear in mind:
Import permit application fee
Landing certificate fee
Aircraft handling agent fee
Overtime veterinary inspection fees; applicable if the flight arrives on island outside of normal working hours (8:15 am to 4:30 pm), on weekends or on public holidays
Customs overtime fee (as above)
Customs clearance fee
While the procedure for bringing your pet to Barbados may seem relatively involved, preparation is key to making it a seamless experience. Ensuring that he or she satisfies all of the stipulated health requirements and is accompanied by all of the necessary documentation will prevent any delays in getting your pet upon arrival in Barbados, and most importantly, will prevent the misfortune of your pet being refused entry into Barbados. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Your pet will love you even more for it.
Below is a handy quick reference tool that summarizes all that was outlined in this article and gives a few extra nuggets of useful information.
Written by Dr. Nakita Haynes
Information obtained from the Veterinary Services Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Barbados.
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