So, you’re moving to Japan—how exciting! However, if you have started to research the process of importing pets, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Japan is a designated rabies-free country. This means the rules are a bit more complex compared to countries like the United States. The total preparation timeline is longer as well (up to 210 days!). However, we’ve put together a guide that should help explain the import requirements!


Below are the guidelines for successfully bringing a dog or cat into Japan.


It’s important that your pet meets the following veterinarian import requirements. 

  • ISO compatible microchip: Your pet must have a 15-digit microchip. The microchip would ideally be implanted before any of the following steps occur.
  • First rabies vaccine: After the microchip implantation, your pet needs to get a rabies vaccine. This can be done at the same appointment as the microchip implantation. 
  • Second rabies vaccine: At least 30 days after the first rabies vaccine your pet will need a second rabies vaccine.
  • Rabies titer test: Many rabies-free countries require a blood serum test called a titer test. This blood draw can be done on the same day your pet gets the second rabies vaccine, but must be done after the vaccine is administered.  The earliest your pet can leave for Japan is 180 days after the blood is drawn for this test.


Once you receive your pet’s passing titer test, you should choose an arrival date for your pet. Then you must submit a 40-90 day notification to receive your import permit. Learn all about the 40-90 day notification here.


For export from the United States to any foreign country, your pet must have a country-specific health certificate issued by a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian. This health certificate must be sent to your state’s USDA office for endorsement.

A few suggestions:

  • Ask your veterinarian if they have the proper USDA accreditation. Failure to do so could result in extra time and expense associated with additional appointments and testing.
  • Make sure you know which USDA office to send your paperwork to after it is issued. You may need to make an appointment for an in-person appointment depending on your timeline. 

  • The health certificate cannot be older than 10 days old at the time of departure. Make sure to arrange this appointment within this timeframe.

If you follow this timeline and ensure that all the vaccines and tests are done in the right order and with the correct timing, your pet should have no problem relocating to Japan with you.

Do you think you might need a helping hand in moving your pet to Japan (or anywhere else in the world)? Let us help! Contact us to set up your consultation today!


PetRelocation Team


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