Importing pets into the United States is a relatively straightforward process with no quarantine. Although US rules are generally simpler and easier to follow than those of other countries, there is still a level of careful planning needed.
See below for the requirements you’ll need to meet before bringing your dog or cat into the continental US. If you're traveling to Hawaii, please visit our Hawaii guide.
- 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 and their rabies vaccine must be at least a month old before travel. Therefore, a puppy must be at least 4 months before entering the United States.
- If your dog is traveling from any of these countries, their rabies certificate must be in English or have a certified English translation. If your dog's rabies vaccine is not translated or completed by the veterinarian who issued the vaccine, your pet runs the risk of being sent back to their country of origin.
- Optional vaccines include Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza, and Bordatella.
- For dogs originating in countries affected by 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.
Koko moved from Mexico to the United States
- 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.
Charlie and Chloe moved from Germany to the US
If you are planning to bring a pet other than a cat or dog to the US, you can find more information on the USDA APHIS website.
Other requirements to consider
Moving pets cross-country:
Due to COVID-19, many domestic flight options are no longer available for pets. This means that many pet owners will need to consider ground transportation if they are moving their pets cross-country within North America, or if their international flight is only servicing larger airports.
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.
If you're moving your pets to the United States, we would love to help. If you have a question we didn't answer above, send us a note!
If you're ready to start working with a PetRelocation consultant to build your unique move plan and to get a quote, start arranging your move today!