There is no rabies in Jamaica, and we want to keep it that way! For that reason, and I’m sure several others, The Ministry of Agriculture is extremely strict on the importation of plants and animals into Jamaica. You can still import your cat or dog (only certain breeds of dogs are allowed, please check with The Ministry of Agriculture). It is a tedious process, but it can be done and well worth it once completed. I went through the process and I could not find clear guidelines when returning home with my dog. I hope this helps.
Pets may be imported from countries other than the US but I am only familiar with the US to Jamaica process. Please call MOA for guidance on other countries.
Below are some steps to take when coming home with your pet. Please call the MOA and visit their site for more information. There are some benchmarks to hit 3 months, 2 weeks and 3 days before arrival. Pay close attention to those dates.
Call the Vet office during the process if you have questions
- Budget to spend approximately 3k USD per pet
- Start your application on moatrade.gov./MOA roughly 3months prior to your trip
- Microchip your pet before the rabies vaccine
- Get Rabies shot – pet must have the shot at least 3 months prior to trip
- Get rabies FAVN test through USDA Lab in Kansas (If it’s not done through a USDA lab it will be rejected by the MOA
- Get permit for pet entry 1 week prior to arrival (permits will arrive 72 hrs before travel)
- Schedule an appointment with a USDA certified vet in the US to inspect the dog before your trip
- You must also schedule an appointment with the USDA 24 – 72 yrs for pet inspection and bring the shot records etc. from the USDA certified vet to be verified by the USDA before departure and you must obtain a certificate from the USDA which must be presented to MOA
- Set up an appointment the Jamaican vet inspection team for them to inspect your pet upon arrival in Kingston between the hours of 8am – 4pm
- Please remember to notify the airline of your intention to travel with your pet. Check with your airline for their policies. Note: You must land in Kingston between the hours of 8am and 4pm. You may land in Montego Bay with approval and under special circumstances but Kingston is preferred. Your pet may be quarantined on arrival.
Please pay special attention to these steps and do call MOA for their guidelines and guidance. Also follow up with them if the dates are getting close and you haven’t received feedback from them. When I came home with my Meiki the first time I did this, I didn’t have a permit, she only had her shots and a microchip because I was told I only needed the rabies vaccine and to get her chipped oh, and I flew into Mobay, please don’t do that, inspections are done in Kingston. Needless to say they almost put my dog down. I was bawling for 5 hours in the airport clutching my dog and they had to call the Minister. The fined the airline, deferred my fine, didn’t land my dog and gave us 24 hrs to leave the country, Meiki basically got deported from Jamaica. This is a Jamaican dog, born and bred; who just went to the States for the summer and when we went for the inspection when she was leaving I was told all I needed was the rabies shot and a microchip for her to come back home.
The officers at The Jamaica Customs in Montego Bay were amazing! Had it not been for them, Meiki probably wouldn’t be here today. This happened in 2018 and to this day when I go through the airport in Montego Bay some officers still ask about Meiki and I have to stop and share pics. It was a very traumatic experience that you don’t want to go through, they are very strict in Jamaica on pet and plant import. They are protecting paradise. The tips above resulted in a successful second attempt. Feel free to reach out if you are stuck at any point in the process.
Here are some useful links:
The Veterinary Services Department
Ministry of Agriculture
Hope Gardens, Kingston 6
Tel: +876 977 2489
+876 977 2492
+876 927 0594
Fax: +876 977 0885