Crossing borders with a campervan and a dog

First: Do make sure your car, and your dog, are registered in your name. Many countries won’t let you cross if the documentation isn’t in your name, not even with a “power of attorney” of the owner.

Although I was surprised how easy it usually was to cross a border, there was one exception. When I was crossing from Argentina to Chile, I was asked for the address of a Brazilian residence, which I didn’t have. Instead, I showed my CPF (Brazilian Individual Taxpayer Registry Document) saying it was my residence. Fortunately, it was accepted, and I was given all required legal documents, including a 3 month tourist visa.

Often you will need a car insurance to cross borders. In this case, while crossing the border, ask for instructions where to get it. Crossing from Brazil to Argentina for example, we got the insurance in a pharmacy.

At the border, you usually do your personal border crossing first, then clear the dogs at the local Department of Agriculture and last, process the crossing of your vehicle. You will probably be given a statement with the time limit for you car to stay in the country without having to be formally imported, which is usually be the same period as your tourist visa. In most countries, a tourist visa is for 90 days, and if requested, you may get an extension of an additional 90 days. If you decide to extend your personal visa, it’s very important to do the same for your car visa. There are some weird laws, for example in Peru, where they can take your car if you overstay; or Bolivia will impose a ridiculously expensive fine if you overstay, so try to renew your documentation in time!

Most likely, you will meet some corrupt officers, asking for bribes. If the payment you are asked for seems absurdly high and doesn’t seem to follow any legal base, just keep cool, ask for the officer’s name and request a receipt for the paid amount. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to avoid hassles and save yourself a lot of time, is to consider to co-operate with their corrupt procedures. If possible, ask locals before crossing the border about how best to deal with such a situation.

Checklist for Dog owners

Every country has different laws and permits, for Latin America the following health records are required:

  • valid rabies vaccination, made at least one month before traveling
  • health certificate from a local vet, issued within the last 10 days before crossing the border
  • certificate from the local department of agriculture

Checklist for car owners

  • have all documentation in your name
  • inquire if a car insurance is needed


So thats it, good luck on your travels! If you have questions, go ahead and contact me.

Lots of love,