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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
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Mexico - Summary of Requirements for Animals

Species - Most Recent Update

Please Note:

All Health certificates for live animals and germplasm to Mexico must not contain any abbreviations. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Dates: "January" is accepted while "Jan" is not.
  • States: Must be the entire word and not the two-letter abbreviation.
  • Ages: "Months" or "Year" is accepted while "yrs" and "mos" are not.

In addition, all health certificates must be type written, or done in word processor or computer. The number of the health certificate must be also type written or in a word processor or computer. Hand written documents will be rejected.


Please note the following information for the exportation of breeding cattle to Mexico:

Breeding cattle to Mexico:

  1. Importers/exporters must make a reservation with the States of Arizona or New Mexico or the Texas Department of Agriculture for pen space at the port of inspection. Pens with inspection facilities are located at the following ports: Nogales and Douglas in Arizona; Santa Teresa in New Mexico; and El Paso, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, and Brownsville in Texas.  Note that space availability at the border is very limited and must be secured prior to shipment.

  2. The shipper/exporter is responsible for advising the VS port veterinarians of the expected date and time of arrival of the animals.  Thirty (30) days prior to exportation of the animals, the importer will make arrangements with the General Directorate of Animal and Plant Health Inspection (DGIF) of Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) to have Mexican-approved veterinarians available at the ports of exportation.

    Upon arrival of the animals at border, the VS port veterinarian or USDA authorized personnel, in the presence of the Mexican approved veterinarian will break the seal, and compare it with the numbers written on the IHC, VHC, and/or addendum for rest stops. Personnel previously authorized by USDA include the VS Port Veterinarians and animal health technicians, State employees, and accredited veterinarians.

    During emergency situations, and for humane animal welfare considerations, when the Mexican approved veterinarian is absent for more than 60 minutes after the time of arrival written in the log book, VS port veterinarian or USDA authorized personnel will be permitted to break seals and unload the cattle. The official breaking the seals will file a report indicating the reason why the animals were unloaded. Officials performing this task will wear proper identification.

  3. For certifications statements that only require one statement to be submitted, delete the statements that are not needed.  Make sure that you use PDF reader or request a Word version of the Health Certificate from the National Center for Import and Export (NIES).  Mexico will not accept hand-made corrections, erasures, line outs, or cross outs. If you do not do not have a PDF reader, you may contact Dr. Anthony Ramirez at the NIES animal export staff at 301-851-3300 option #2 to request a Word version of the documents.  For additional information, please feel free to contact NIES Export staff at 301-851-3300 option #2.

  4. We have been informed that at the port of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, Mexican customs officials do not process cattle on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays).  This is not a SAGARPA decision, it is a customs ruling.  For this reason no shipments of cattle to Santa Teresa, New Mexico should be scheduled or weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). 

Slaughter cattle exported to Mexico from the United States (except from the Imperial Valley, California).
All approved Mexican ports can be used to export these cattle.

The health certificate (HC) for slaughter cattle is composed of two documents: a) The Slaughter Cattle Health Certificate; and b).
The Addendum-list of animals covered by the Health Certificate. Here are the two documents:

In addition, the following two documents must accompany the health certificate:

The process to export these slaughter cattle is similar to the one used for exporting breeding cattle to Mexico. Inspection of slaughter cattle will be done at the inspection facility at the border. To be familiar with the export process, please refer to the  Breeding Cattle- Export Guidelines to export cattle from the United States and Canada to Mexico.

Pilot project for slaughter cattle exported to Mexico from Imperial Valley, California through the port of Mexicali, Mexico

Owner/exporters/importers who want to export cattle from Imperial Valley, CA must obtain an import permit (HRZ) from SAGARPA’s office in Mexico. This import permit will contain the requirements to export slaughter cattle from Imperial Valley, CA and will be provided by SAGARPA upon request by the Mexican importer.

Cattle exported from Imperial Valley, CA, must have the following documents:

  • Slaughter cattle health certificate for Imperial Valley-March 2015
  • Addendum-list of animals covered by the health certificate for Imperial Valley-March 2015
  • Affidavit of the owner/exporter for restrictive drugs– March 2015

You can also obtain the above documents from Veterinary Services Office located at:

10365 Old Placerville Road, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95827
Tel.: 916-854-3900


For species not listed, the requirements are not known. However, exporters wanting to ship livestock or germplasm whose requirements are not listed above, should have the interested party (importer/buyer) in the country of destination apply for an Import Permit at the appropriate ministry. This Import Permit will most likely outline the specific requirements.

Sanitary Permit

A sanitary permit is issued by the Division of Animal Health, Ave Mexico No.190, Colonia Del Carmen Coyocan, CP 04700, Mexico DF. This permit must be obtained in advance of the importation by the importer. The permit shall be submitted to the official veterinarian of The Department of Port and Border Animal Health Inspection at the port of entry.

Please note:  The exporter must obtain a Sanitary Permit from Mexico for ruminants, swine, and horses.  The name of the person that is listed on the permit must match the name of the person listed on the Health Certificate.  The Health Certificate must contain the following statement for animals exported to Mexico:  “The animals must be transported in cleaned and disinfected vehicles, and not contact any other animals during their transport.  Los vehículos utilizados para el transport de los nimals a la frontera fueron sometidos a limpieza y desinfección antes del embarque y no estar en contacto con otros nimals durante el traslado.”

Ports of Entry

  • Veterinary Services has been informed that border entry points have been authorized by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Livestock, for the importation of livestock from the United States. An official veterinarian of Mexico has been assigned permanently to each of these ports by the Bureau of Animal Health, Department of Port and Border Animal Health Inspection. Inspection of livestock will be performed by the official Mexican port veterinarian at facilities in the United States approved by the Bureau of Animal Health. (See Mexican Border Port Facilities.)
  • Importations by air or by sea may be made under sanitary permit when facilities for inspection are available at the port of entry in Mexico.

Note: The sister city on the U.S. side is listed in parentheses Documents Required
The following documents are required and shall be submitted to the official veterinarian prior to the inspection of the animals.

  • Sanitary permit for importation. 
  • Origin Health Certificate (VS form 17-140) or computer-generated document, duly signed, and endorsed by VS. 
  • Dip Certificate, if applicable. 
  • Registration Certificate, if applicable.
  • Original and copy of the commercial invoice.
  • Any additional documents to permit compliance with the requirements established in the regulations.

Other Information
The U.S. Origin Health Certificate must be typewritten. Mexican Port Veterinarians will reject any certificates that are handwritten.

Advance Notification 
The official veterinarian at the port of entry shall be notified of the pending arrival of animals at the authorized facility by the importer or his agent 24 hours in advance of the arrival of the animals.

Authorized Facilities 
Animals to be exported to Mexico will remain in the authorized facility a minimum of 24 hours and may be subjected to procedures of quarantine, clinical observation, inspection, disinfection, immunization, diagnostic tests, or application of appropriate animal health safety measures if the official veterinarian determines that the shipment does not meet all specifications.

Spanish terms used in listing: 
M.V.Z. - Medico Veterinario Zootecnista 
Delegado - Veterinarian in Charge 
Garita - Building housing official offices such as customs

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