Pet Travel Question: Moving a Tortoise

Tortoise Transport Options to the United States

Hello PetRelocation,

My daughter owns a tortoise -- she now lives in the United States and would like to have her tortoise there with her. She is visiting the UK in August... How would she be able to take it, if possible, or have it taken?

Thank you,



Hi Kathleen,

Thanks for your question. While US import requirements for dogs and cats are pretty straightforward, relocating exotic pets such as reptiles and birds can be tricky. We advise checking the USDA website for more information about importing your pet tortoise.

You can also check out our tips for traveling with exotic pets. You'll see there that your daughter will need to check the CITES status of her species of tortoise. She can do that at the CITES Species Database.

Once she knows the status of her tortoise, she will know which permits she needs to secure in order to move her pet. She will likely need to get an import permit from the US Fish and Wildlife Services. These permits often take a long time to obtain, so it is a good idea to start planning the tortoise's trip well in advance of the travel date.

It's hard to say what the exact process will be for relocating the tortoise without knowing its species, but it's safe to say that your pet transport experience will be a lot easier with the help of pet travel experts. Fill out our online consultation form to be in contact with a relocation specialist or give us a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE if you have any questions.

Good luck!


Pet Travel Question Details:

Name: Kathleen
Number of Pets: One
Pet Type: Tortoise
From: United Kingdom
To: United States


Get in touch with a Pet Relocation Specialist if you're looking for assistance with your upcoming pet move.


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel




United States, UK


Add a Comment

By this guy on December 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

how do you get a tortise licence

By on December 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

Hello and thanks for your comment!

Without knowing what license you are referring to, it is difficult to offer advice. If you would like more information on CITES permits, we would recommend visiting the CITES website here. Also, as mentioned in the blog, if you're moving to or from the US the USDA website is a great resource for learning more about import permits and requirements to move your tortoise.

We hope this helps somewhat, but if you need further guidance or would like a quote for our services please fill out this form. Thanks again!

By Ada granera on August 30, 2017 at 9:19 am

I'm travaling from los angeles to nicaragua and I want to take my tortoise with me what do I need?

By on August 30, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Hello Ada,

Thank you for reaching out! As mentioned in our blog above, it is hard to advise on the process and requirements without knowing your tortoise's exact species.

I recommend first checking the CITES database to discover whether or not your tortoise has to follow additional requirements under a CITES appendix.

It is safe to assume that no matter what the species is, your tortoise will need a health exam and certificate within 10 days of travel that will need to be endorsed by the USDA.

I hope this helps get you started in the right direction! Should you need further guidance, please feel free to contact us.

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