Update on Importing Pets into the United States:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its temporary suspension of dogs imported from high-risk countries for rabies through July 31, 2023. All current requirements will remain in place.

Effective February 1, 2023, the temporary suspension for dogs entering the United States from high-risk countries for dog rabies has been extended. This includes dogs arriving from countries without a high risk of rabies if they have been in a high-risk country within the past six months. New documentation requirements will go into effect on March 1, 2023.

Starting March 1, 2023, all foreign-vaccinated dogs entering the United States from high-risk countries for dog rabies must have a valid CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record and a CDC Dog Import Permit or a reservation at a CDC-approved animal care facility. The CDC will not accept foreign-issued pet passports or other certificates for foreign rabies vaccinations.

Dogs that have been vaccinated against rabies in the United States by a US-licensed veterinarian may re-enter the United States from a high-risk country without a CDC Dog Import Permit if they meet the following criteria: they have a current, valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate; have an ISO-compatible microchip; are at least six months old; are healthy upon arrival; and arrive at one of the 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station. Expired US-issued rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If the US-issued rabies vaccination certificate has expired, the dog must get a booster dose outside the United States and meet requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs.

Foreign-vaccinated dogs from high-risk countries must now use the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record as proof of rabies vaccination. This record is also encouraged for US-vaccinated dogs, though not required. Dogs entering the United States from high-risk countries are still required to meet all requirements of the temporary suspension. Three or more dogs from high-risk countries must arrive at specific ports of entry with a prior reservation at a CDC-approved animal care facility. All dogs must have a valid CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record and adequate rabies serologic titer. They must complete a 28-day quarantine at the US animal care facility. This option is also available to importers of 1-2 dogs who do not have a CDC Dog Import Permit.

See below for your requirements before bringing your dog or cat into the continental US. If you're traveling to Hawaii, please visit our Hawaii guide. 

Bringing a Dog Into the US

Bringing dogs to the USA can be done, and it’s not rocket science, but you will need to keep several considerations in mind as well as take several steps:

  1. A veterinarian-issued health certificate stating your pet is healthy and fit to fly. This certificate must be completed within ten days of travel.
  2. A microchip (recommended)
  3. Proof of rabies vaccination from all countries where rabies is present*. Puppies must not be vaccinated before three months old, and their rabies vaccine must be at least a month before travel. Therefore, a puppy must be at least four months before entering the United States. 
    • If your dog travels 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 it, your pet risks being sent back to its country of origin. 
  4. Optional vaccines include Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza, and Bordatella.
  5. 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.

Dog in a harness
Koko moved from Mexico to the United States


Bringing a Cat Into the US

  1. A veterinarian issued a health certificate to state 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)
  2. 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.
  3. Optional vaccines include Feline enteritis (also known as Feline panleukopenia or Feline distemper), Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus.
Two cats cuddling on a bed
Charlie and Chloe moved from Germany to the US


Importing Other Pets to the USA

If you plan 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. Many pet owners must consider ground transportation if they move their pets cross-country within North America or if their international flight only serves 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 for pets to leave or some 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 independently, check with your airline to ensure all paperwork requirements are met.

If you need to import a dog to the USA or any other pet for that matter, 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!


PetRelocation Team


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