Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bringing A Pet to Ecuador

Hello folks, the purpose of this post is to provide those who might be interested with an update to the saga of arranging the import of our dog Java into Ecuador.

I continue to learn a great deal but the lack of policy and procedural clarity continues to be a major frustration.

Here is a synopsis of where we are now ( less than two months from flight time):

·    We have booked our flights to Ecuador and our International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) consultant - Frank Wright has booked Java to travel on the same aircraft as us.  Java must travel as cargo because his weight with the crate included is greater than 45kg or 100lbs.  Most airlines have made their restrictions clear in this regard but some of the Latin American airlines leave it somewhat vague.  When we called various Latin American airlines we were told alternatively that the 45kg limit was the dog alone or the dog with crate.  We got different answers depending what time of day you called the airlines in question.  Java is 41kg on his own and the crate weighs at least 10kg.  We could not take the chance and so we have booked him as cargo on our flights. 
·    We are using Continental because of their Petsafe program.  They have worked out some of the details for keeping pets safe and comfortable.  This includes the availability of kenneling in Houston overnight to allow for a single flight booking.  Houston is Continental’s big hub and so they use this as a key point in this program.  There are many direct flights to Houston and there is a direct flight to Quito from Houston.  This is not to say that other airlines may not be able to serve your needs, but I hear from multiple sources about Continental and have therefore taken that route.  Both our IPATA consultant and our Ecuadorian broker have recommended Continental.  From Toronto the cost is almost $800 Cdn.  That would be about $840 US.
·    We have now made contact with an experienced Broker in Quito / Guayaquil who handles the importation of pets amongst other things.  Her name is SANDRA BAQUERO, her e-mail address is  I got her name from Gary Scott’s Ecuador Living website from the report he did on importing dogs.  We have received some initial information from Sandy and she seems very familiar with the process.  She has quoted four separate costs:
  •  Tax  in Ecuadorian Ministry for pets                     USD        24.00
  •  Fee for getting Ecuadorian import permit           USD      150.00
  •  Approx payment of duties for dog and cats        USD      400.00
  •  Fee for clearanceing pets                                     USD      350.00 
  • TOTAL APPROX PAYMENTS                            USD      924.00
·     My understanding from Sandy is that her fee for brokering is $350 while the others are all related to Ecuadorian permits and fees.
·    Now, I will try and articulate the documentation issue.  This has been the most frustrating and least clear.  I have been in touch with Ecuadorian consulates in Ottawa and Toronto.  The story about what is required is mostly the same:
o   An International Certificate of Health for Dogs and Cats must be completed by your veterinarian. This form must be legalized by the national authority for animal health.  In Canada, that authority is the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  The vaccination requirements for importation are on the Ecuadorian consulate web site and must be completed within 60 days of travel.  The pet must be free of parasites, externally and internally.  This must be verified within 30 days of travel.  Please note:  these timelines may differ within the US but they are consistent with what Sandra has identified. 
o   In Canada, the form must go to CFIA for certification, must then be apostollized by the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  Finally, it must be legalized by an Ecuadorian consulate.  The broker in Quito needs this form in order to apply for the import permit and she advises to scan and send this to her so that she can move it forward ASAP.
o   Here is the rub.  There is an additional requirement for a final inspection of the dogs health at the time of shipping.  I asked the Ecuadorian consulate in Ottawa how we are to do this and still get all the stamps on it.  He replied that we cannot, we need to move the other parts forward and then do this bit at the last minute.  To the best of my knowledge there is no form for this piece and so my intention with our veterinarian is to have this done the day before travel in a letter that I will have translated into Spanish.  My intent is to have both of these documents available at the time of export.
o   The veterinary fees are significant because the vaccinations, de-worming, stool samples, blood samples etc definitely add up.  My best guess is that they will cost me $600 in total.
·    In all I am assuming a total cost of over $2500 all in by the time we get Java to Ecuador and out of the warehouse.  This is certainly more than I had counted on and is why I put some emphasis on it here.
o   Transportation via Continental - $840
o   Brokerage and fees in Ecuador - $924
o   Veterinary and documentation costs - $600
o   Pet Shipping Support - Unknown to date
·    My hope is that this information is helpful to you.  If I find out anything else as we go through the process I will let you know. 

All the best everyone, Linda and Dave

P.S.  Connie Pombo has committed to having their dog Mocha play with Java when he arrives.  If anyone is up for a little Mocha Java we are definitely buying.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making Progress

Hello to all.  I have not posted for a few months as we had little to say but we do have an update now.  We have sold our property in Kingston and the deal will close on June 15th.  Our current plan is to fly to Cuenca sometime between June 20th and the end of the month.  We are getting pretty excited about establishing our home in Cuenca.

In my last post, I shared the early part of our Visa application process.  You may be interested to know that because of some rule changes within the Ecuadorian Ministry of Migration we were required to return to the Ecuadorian embassy in Ottawa.  This time instead of a stamp to "legalize" our documents, the new policy required that the embassy prepare a letter on Consular office letterhead indicating that they had "legalized" our documents.  The gentleman at the consular office was very friendly and helpful in doing what was need to allow our applications to proceed.  In addition, our lawyer (Dr. Galo Cardenas Rodas) and his staff in Cuenca have been terrific.

Linda and I are eagerly following the many expat blogs for advice.  A special thanks goes to Mary at South of Zero.  Although we haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mary yet, her daily posts summarizing the expat activity in Ecuador have been invaluable.  We are looking forward to the e-release of Connie's 101 Questions and Answers.

We have been trying to spend time with the many members of our spread out families and will be doing more of that in the next two months before we leave Canada.  We already have many commitments from family and friends to visit Cuenca within our first year and we are thrilled by the prospect of sharing our adopted home.  We have also made the commitment to return to Canada 2-3 times per year and to remain connected.

We have decided to make the move without furnishings and with only the minimum of personal belongings.  Linda has been amazing in her new found marketing skills and has been very successful in selling many of our belongings on Kijiji.  I am not sure whether Kijiji (an on-line personal sales site), is available in the US but it is a great way of selling all sorts of things within a community.  Most of our things have now been sold or are spoken for by our four adult children. 

Several people have asked us whether we will be bringing our six year old black labrador retriever "Java".  The answer is an unequivocal yes.  Java is a very important part of our lives and we think he will enjoy being able to be out for walks all year round.  Today, April 3rd, was the first day since late October that we have been able to take a long walk outside without freezing.

I just found out on Friday that the International Health Certificate for Dogs that is required for entry into Ecuador must also be "legalized" by the Ecuadorian consulate.  We have the veterinary appointment this week and will be on the road to Ottawa again to visit our new friend in the consular office for the official "Okey-Dokey".

We follow the many posts on "Gringo Tree" and look forward to sharing our lives with the many enthusiastic expatriates living in Cuenca.  See you in Cuenca in about 2.5 months.

Best regards, Linda and David.