The United States (US) is one of the most pet friendly countries in the world. Dog passports need only to document proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entering the country. Presently, dog owners and importers transporting unvaccinated dogs into the United States, or those who can not meet the 30 day requirement, can apply for home confinement for 30 days. During this time, their dog must be vaccinated for rabies and it must be kept in isolation, away from other rabies-carrying animals. It must be leashed and muzzled when removed from the designated premises during the period of confinement. The same opportunity applied for puppies under 3 months of age who were not old enough for rabies vaccinations when entering the US.
Effective August 11, 2014, the rules for dog vaccination requirements will be changing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) will require pre-approval of all requests for home confinement for dogs who have not been vaccinated for rabies when entering the United States from a country which is not considered by the US as rabies-free*. And, as puppies are not given their rabies vaccinations until 3 months, and there is a 30 day waiting period after the initial vaccination, this means that puppies from non-rabies-free countries cannot be imported to the US until the age of 4 months.
The legislation was written out of concern for the number of home confinements that were issued in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Many importers are not adhering to the rules of the confinement and the number of home confinement requests is growing substantially. After August 11, the CDC will consider each case individually and encourages owners and importers to have their dogs vaccinated at least 30 days prior to import to avoid problems at the point of entry.