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United States Pet Import Requirements

We have provided more information for planning a pet move within the United States or moving to the US for the first time. Browse our information to learn more about how to import a pet into the United States regarding Pet Rules & Requirements.

General Requirements for Pets Entering the United States

These are the vaccination and health requirements for dogs and cats entering the United States from other countries. Dogs and Cats

1) International Health Certificate - Within 10 days of departure your vet will need to issue an International Health Certificate as required by all airlines. This certificate states that your pet is in good health and fit to fly.

2) Rabies Vaccination & Certificate - In general, it is required that dogs be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry, except for puppies younger than 3 months and dogs originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies. Dogs and cats coming from areas not free of rabies must be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate. If a vaccination has not been performed, or if the certificate is not valid, the animal may be admitted if it is confined immediately upon arrival at a place of the owner's choosing. The dog must be vaccinated within four days after arrival at the final destination, but no more than 10 days after arrival at the port of entry. The animal must remain in confinement for at least 30 days after being vaccinated.

PLEASE NOTE: All cats and dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry for evidence of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

Importation of Dogs

A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet dogs into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a dog appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner's expense might be required at the port of entry.

Click to review the New USDA Import Regulations for Dogs Imported into the United States.

Proof of Rabies Vaccination: Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States. These requirements apply equally to service animals such as Seeing Eye dogs.

Importation of Unvaccinated Dogs: Dogs not accompanied by proof of rabies vaccination, including those that are too young to be vaccinated (i.e. less than 3 months of age), may be admitted if the importer completes a confinement agreement (see below) and confines the animal until it is considered adequately vaccinated against rabies (the vaccine is not considered effective until 30 days after the date of vaccination). Spanish, French, and Russian translations of form CDC 75.37 are available, but must be completed in English.

Puppies that are too young to be vaccinated (i.e. less than 3 months of age) must be kept in confinement until they are old enough to be vaccinated, and then confined for at least 30 days after the date of vaccination.

Unvaccinated dogs must be vaccinated within 4 days of arrival at their final U.S. destination and within 10 days of entry into the United States, and must be kept in confinement for at least 30 days after the date of vaccination.

Dogs may not be sold or transferred to other owners during this period of confinement, and the person that signs the confinement agreement is responsible for ensuring the conditions of the agreement are met.

Importers must provide a contact address where the dog will be kept during the confinement period. If the importer will be housing the dog at several addresses or traveling with the animal, all points of contact must be provided.

Importation of Dogs from Rabies-free Countries: Unvaccinated dogs may be imported without a requirement for proof of rabies vaccination if they have been located for a minimum of 6 months or more in countries that are free of rabies.

Following importation, all dogs are subject to state and local vaccination or health certificate requirements. All pet dogs arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam, even from the U.S. mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. Additional information can be found in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control.

Importation of Dogs for Commercial/Breeding purposes: There are no separate CDC regulations for dogs to be used for commercial purposes, rather than as pets. The rules for bringing domestic dogs into the United States are covered under regulation 42CFR71.51. When importing puppies, the importer is responsible for maintaining quarantine according to the vaccination and confinement agreement signed at the time of importation.

Importation of Cats

A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet cats into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner's expense might be required at the port of entry.

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.

All pet cats arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam, even from the U.S. mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements.

Requirements for Flying within the United States

1. Health Certificate: Within 10 days of departure your vet will need to issue a Health Certificate as required by all airlines. This certificate states that your pet is in good health and OK to fly.

2. Rabies Tag (recommended): Most states require that dogs have a rabies' tag stating they've been inoculated against the disease. Most pets must have a rabies' shot every three years. It is important to check with your vet or the state regarding the regulations. Cats may also need their rabies' shot. This is regulated according to each state's guidelines.

Moving to Hawaii? Please refer to our separate guidelines page on Hawaiian Pet Relocation.

IMPORTANT! The following information is to only serve as a guideline. This information is to be used as general guidelines and may not be updated to meet the current requirements. Before you travel, be sure to contact the appropriate authorities for your destination country.

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