When planning an international trip, we often want to bring the whole family – including our pets. But, did you know taking Fido or Fluffy can be a complex, multistep process that requires advance planning and preparation? To help make this process go smoothly, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a few simple steps to follow – and a comprehensive website to walk you through the process.
First. Advance preparation is key. Each country has different animal health requirements that travelers must meet so it’s important to start the process early. Our website covers the requirements for more than 130 countries. Check the APHIS Pet Travel Website for your destination country’s entry requirements.
Second. You will need a health certificate. Almost all countries require a USDA-accredited veterinarian to issue (complete, sign, and date) an international health certificate within a certain number of days prior to your departure to confirm the health of your pet. So, as soon as you know where you will be traveling with your pet, contact a local USDA accredited veterinarian to assist you with the process. With 68,000 private, accredited veterinarians nationwide, it’s likely your vet might be one or can refer you to one. Accredited veterinarians work cooperatively with APHIS to protect U.S. animal health and can certify that your pet is healthy and able to travel.
Third. Getting the health certificate endorsed. After the health certificate is issued by a USDA accredited veterinarian, it will typically need to be endorsed (signed and “stamped”) by your local APHIS office. This can be done by mail or, in some cases, in person. APHIS Service Centers are set up to process your health certificate as quickly as possible – but keep in mind, we process many certificates each year so be sure to leave plenty of time for us to complete this process. Endorsement fees for pet health certificates starts at $38, but will cost more if the destination country requires Federal review of test results. Check the APHIS website here for additional information on endorsement fees.
Lastly, don’t forget to check with your airline carrier to see if they have additional requirements to transport your pet. Make sure you know how to collect your pet at the port of entry upon arrival in your destination country. It’s also important to remember that various U.S agencies regulate the entry of your pet back into the United States – plan ahead and check those requirements on the website before you go.
We know navigating various country requirements for international pet travel can be challenging, and that’s why we’re here to help. If you have any questions about the process at any step along the way, please contact the APHIS Customer Service Call Center at 844-820-2234 or your local APHIS Service Center for more information.
Bon Voyage, Fido and Fluffy!