Traveling with your pet adds a new dimension to seeing new places, and it takes the worry out of how your furry friend will fare while you're away. Unfortunately, traveling abroad with your dog or cat isn't as easy as simply going to another state. All countries have different requirements to allow foreign animals across their borders, and those without the proper paperwork are trapped in quarantine for weeks or months. Start the process for your pet's paperwork as soon as possible to give yourself enough time to fulfill every requirement necessary to assure your pet easy passage while traveling.
Start the Process
Research your destination's animal importing requirements. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, website to see the regulations regarding animal importing for the country you're planning to visit. Most require up-to-date vaccinations and rabies shots and a clean bill of health from an accredited veterinarian, although some have specific requirements for their country. All requirements must be met to allow your pet entry and avoid problems.
Download the requirements and International Health Certificate Form. The USDA's APHIS website offers up-to-date information and forms for traveling with your pet. Find the information for the appropriate country and print it out for reference. Print out the International Health Certificate, form number 7001, or the specific certificate of the travel country for your veterinarian to fill out. Some countries require all forms to be bilingual or fully translated into their native language. Contact the ministry in the travel country to verify the country's exact needs for the health certificate.
Visit your veterinarian. Your pet requires a thorough examination and numerous tests to ensure he's not carrying any illnesses or parasites and is no danger to the ecosystem of the destination country. Your veterinarian will run tests, take blood samples and update your pet's immunizations to thoroughly check for any sign of illness. Some countries require these tests be performed by a federally accredited veterinarian, so ask for recommendations if your veterinarian is not accredited, or visit the USDA's APHIS website for an accredited veterinarian in your area. Always check with your destination country for information regarding specific tests and immunizations they require.
Get the Documents Endorsed by the USDA
Collect all original documents associated with your pet's testing and health examinations, including vaccination reports, test results and the health certificate form. All documents must be originals, and completed and signed using blue ink. Contact your local USDA Veterinary Service Area Office to verify the documents necessary and proper endorsement procedures.
Pay the endorsement fee. Contact your local USDA Veterinary Service Area Office to verify the appropriate fees associated with endorsing the documents for your pet's travel certificate. Fees can change every year and must be paid by credit card or personal check when you send your documents for verification and endorsement. The current import and export fee schedule is available at the USDA's APHIS website.
Contact your local USDA Veterinary Service Area Office for an appointment to have your documents officially endorsed, or mail them via the post office, UPS or FedEx. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your documents once endorsed, and consider a tracking number or other method to avoid losing these important papers.
As with all government documents, you must have the certificate filled out properly and completely, by an appropriate representative — in this case, a licensed and accredited veterinarian. Research the requirements carefully for your destination, and contact your local USDA Veterinary Services Area Office with any questions regarding traveling with your pet.
Begin researching travel requirements for your pet as soon as possible. The process for completing a health certificate can be time consuming, and an incomplete or incorrect certificate could mean the difference between enjoying your trip with your pet and losing him to long stays in quarantine.
Health certificates are valid for only 30 days after issuance, so don't get one too early before your departure date.
Don't forget to check with your airline for information on pet traveling.
All documents must be filled out and signed using blue ink only.
Items You Will Need
- International Health Certificate Form 7001
- Veterinarian records
- Endorsement fee