Importing pets to the United States is a relatively straightforward process with no quarantine, but there are a few steps you need to take to make sure your dog or cat is ready for the move.
We’ve put together a simple guide below to provide the information you need to successfully bring a furry or feathered family member to the United States.
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Requirements for Importing Pets to the USA
Although US rules are generally simpler and easier to follow than those of most other countries, importing pets here still requires careful planning. See below for the requirements you’ll need to meet before bringing your dog or cat into the US. If you’re planning to move a pet within the continental US, you can visit our page about shipping pets cross-country.
- A veterinarian issued health certificate stating your pet is healthy and fit to fly. This certificate must be completed within 10 days of travel.
- A microchip (recommended)
- Proof of rabies vaccination from all countries where rabies is present*. Puppies must not be vaccinated prior to 3 months old, so the youngest puppy that can be imported to the US is 4 months old.
- Optional vaccines include Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza, and Bordatella.
- For dogs originating in countries affected with screwworm, the following is required:
- The dog must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a full-time salaried veterinary official of the region of origin stating that the dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days before shipment to the United States.
- The certificate must state that the dog is either free from screwworm or was found to be infested with screwworm and was held in quarantine and treated until free from screwworm before leaving the region.
*Read here for information on importing a dog from a rabies-free country.
- A veterinarian issued health certificate stating your pet is healthy and fit to fly. This certificate must be completed within 10 days of travel. (not required by the CDC or the USDA, but may be required by the airline)
- 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.
- Optional vaccines include Feline enteritis (also known as Feline panleukopenia or Feline distemper), Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus.
- Birds weighing over 100 grams must be identified by one of three approved means: a microchip, leg band, or tattoo.
- Requirements vary. For more detailed requirements and guides about bringing birds to the US, including the multiple agencies involved in bird imports, read here.
If you are planning to bring a pet other than a dog, cat, or bird to the US, you can find more information on the USDA APHIS website.
Other requirements to consider
Preparing your pet for export from your current residence:
Always check with your country of origin to determine export requirements for any pet. Most countries require a government endorsement/export permit in order for pets to leave, or some other type of official government veterinarian inspection before departure. You can determine export requirements by contacting your departure country’s Ministry or Department of Agriculture.
Make sure you meet individual airline requirements for pet travel:
Some airlines, including Delta, require additional documentation for live animals under certain circumstances. If booking pet travel on your own, check with your airline of choice to ensure all paperwork requirements are met.