United States Pet Passport Regulations (excluding Hawaii)
These regulations do NOT include the State of Hawaii. Unless otherwise stated, the regulations below apply to domestic dogs, cats and ferrets. Owners of other pets should refer to item 13.
The United States does not require that your pet be identified with a pet microchip, but it is recommended that you microchip your pet with a 15 digit ISO 11784 compliant microchip and register your contact information prior to traveling as a means of identification should your pet be lost or separated from you.
Unless your dog is entering from a country the US considers as rabies free. (see item #8 for list of countries), your dog will need proof of a current rabies vaccination. Dogs that have never been vaccinated against rabies must be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to arrival. Adult dogs older than 15 months of age that have previously received a rabies vaccination given no earlier than 3 months of age and that has since expired may be imported immediately following booster vaccination, without the need to wait for 30 days.
The United States does accept 3 year rabies vaccinations. If the expiration date of the vaccination is not shown on the health certificate, then the date of vaccination must be less than 12 months prior to entry to the United States.
All requests to import an unvaccinated dog must be approved at least 10 business days in advance. Permits will only be given only to US residents and visitors staying 30 days or more in the United States.
Rabies vaccinations for cats are not required to enter the country, but requirements may be subject to State and local ordinances.
Dogs being imported for commercial resale or adoption must also be vaccinated for rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP). See step 10 for more information.
Screwworm Inspection - Dogs Only
Before your dog can enter the United States from the following countries, it must be inspected for certain screwworms between one and five days prior to entering the United States. Your veterinarian must verify that your pet has been inspected for screwworm, and the results are negative. Screwworm Countries: Angola, Argentina, Bhrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo, Democratic Republic, Dominican Republic, Easter Island, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, French Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paracel Islands, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Tapeworm Treatment - Dogs Only
Collies, shepherds, and other dogs to be used in the handling of livestock and that are imported from any part of the world except Canada, Mexico, and regions of Central America and the West Indies must have a tapeworm treatment administered by a licensed veterinarian shortly prior to entry to the US and are subject to inspection and quarantine.
Effective May 1, 2018, a USDA import permit will be required for all live animals entering Alaska from Canada via a land border port.
All dogs being imported to the United States for commercial resale or adoption must have an import permit issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. See step 10 for more information.
A licensed veterinarian must complete and sign a veterinary certificate. This certificate should be in English or be accompanied by a version translated in English. It should identify the animal, the dates of vaccination, the manufacturer and the expiration date of the rabies vaccine.
Countries that do not require a rabies vaccination for dogs
Dogs entering the United States with their owners who have lived in the following countries for at least 6 months or since birth do not require a rabies vaccination, however, it is recommended and may be required by State ordinances: Albania, American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antartica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Austria, Azores, Bahamas, Balearic Islands, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cabrera, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, Chile, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Corsica, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Easter Island, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Formentera, France, French Polynesia, Galapagos Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Ibiza, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau SAR, Majorca, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Micronesia, Minorca, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru, Netherland Antilles, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway (except Svalbard), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Portugal, Saint Kitts (Saint Christopher) and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Soloman Islands, South Georgia, South Sandwich Island, Spain (except Ceuta and Melilla), Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Virgin Islands (US and British), Wake Islands, US Pacific Islands, Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Entering the United States by Air
Pets can enter the United States at international airports in many cities including but not limited to New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. All domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry. If the animal is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at the owner's expense.
All pets entering the United States unaccompanied as air cargo must be claimed by someone with US legal resident status or a citizen of the US and must have a valid US address.
It is strongly advised that dog owners importing more than 5 dogs owned personally by them via air cargo contact the CDC to avoid having the import be classified as commercial.
Puppies and Kittens
Kittens are not required to be vaccinated for rabies to enter the US, however, they should travel with a recent health certificate and can be subject to State requirements which is why rabies vaccination is recommended.
Non-Commercial Import of Puppies
Puppies entering the United States for non-commercial reasons from all countries not listed in step #7 must be vaccinated for rabies at 3 months of age and wait for 30 days before entering the country. In certain cases, pre-approval for home quarantine can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control for unvaccinated puppies entering from non-rabies-free countries. See step 2 for more information.
Proof of age should be available.
Commercial Import of Dogs and Puppies
Puppies and dogs entering the United States intended for resale* or adoption must be 6 months of age and may not enter the United States from any country until fully vaccinated (rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP) and accompanied with an import permit.
This includes dogs being imported from Puerto Rico and all US territories. An exception would be dogs being imported for veterinary treatment that is unavailable in the originating country or dogs being imported for research purposes.
*The term “dogs imported for resale” includes dogs imported for sale in wholesale channels, at retail, and for adoption after arrival in the United States, as well as dogs imported for other purposes involving transfer of ownership or control of the dog to another person for more than de minimis consideration after the dog's arrival in the United States.
This rule does not apply when there is no transfer of ownership or control of a dog to another person for more than de minimis consideration after the dog's importation into the United States. Therefore, dogs imported by a person who will use the dog as a personal pet, for sport, for shows or competitions, or for breeding or semen collection are not subject to the 6-month age restriction or any other requirements of this rule.
The United States does not ban breeds, however, some cities do. Visitors to these cities will be responsible for their pet's behavior.
Exporting Pets from the United States
All resident pets leaving the United States must send relevant paperwork required for the destination country to the State USDA office for endorsement prior to leaving the country. Additionally, transiting pets whose permits or health certficiates have expired will be required to obtain these documents in the United States and have them endorsed prior to leaving the country.
Pets returning to the United States are subject to the same passport requirements as those entering for the first time. This means that pet owners returning to the United States should have a new health certificate completed by a vet in the country you are visiting if you stay for more than 30 days.
There are no rabies requirements for other species of rodents, rabbits, ornamental fish, intervebrates, amphibians and reptiles imported to the United States. These pets should travel with health certificates issued prior to travel.
Birds entering the United States from any country will require permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The following regulations assume an import of 5 or less birds.
Birds entering the United States from Canada by air or seaport will require an import permit, and veterinary inspection. Your airline may require a health certificate.
Birds entering the United States from Canada by land will require a veterinary inspection.
Birds entering the United States from Mexico or other HPAI-infected country** must undergo 21 days pr pretravel quarantine in Mexido and enter by air at international airports located in Miami or New York and be subject to 30 days of quarantine. An import permit, health certificate and veterinary inspection will apply.
Birds entering the United States from HPAI-free countries are subject to all requirements above except the 21 day pre-travel quarantine.
After February 19, 2018, pet birds weighing more than 100 grams, must be identified by one of three approved means (microchip, leg band or tattoo) in order to qualify for home quarantine, in lieu of Federal quarantine, upon returning to the United States from HPAI-FREE countries. The identification must be documented on the accompanying U.S. origin health certificate.
**HPAI-infected countries are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Live finfish of most species may be imported into the United States without import requirements. There are 8 species of fish that will require an import permit and health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian in the originating country: common carp, including koi carp (Cyprinus carpio), goldfish (Carassius auratus), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), Crucian carp (Carassius carassius), tench (Tinca tinca), and sheatfish (Silurus glanis).
If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case. Over 180 countries participate and enforce CITES regulations.
Need More Assistance?
To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on PetTravel.com reflect the current regulations. We cannot predict how a given country may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to make arrangements to put your pet into quarantine at your expense, return your pet to the country of origin, or euthanize your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by following the rules of the country you are visiting.
Further detail on import permits, costs, tests and procedures are available at minimal cost at PetTravelStore.com. We also stock all the equipment and accessories you will need for traveling with your pet. Same day shipping Monday through Friday until 4:00 PM EST.
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