How to Obtain and Complete the APHIS 7001 for Pet Shipping
If you're moving internationally with your pet from the United States, you're most likely going to need an International Health Certificate, also known as the USDA APHIS Form 7001. We are often asked about this form and it's one of the most searched for documents for people planning to transport their pet to another country.
Here is where you can download the APHIS Vet Health Certificate (Form 7001).
The 7001 is issued by USDA-accredited veterinarians and then often must be endorsed by the corresponding state's USDA Veterinary Services office. The state and regional Veterinary Services offices oversee all of the export documents for pets departing from the US and ensure that the veterinarians issuing the documents, including the 7001, are accredited and filling out accurate information.
Here are the steps for obtaining the Form 7001 health certificate and having it endorsed:
1. Find a USDA-Accredited veterinarian in your area.
The USDA Veterinary Services offices do not need to see pets to issue health certificates -- they only look at the paperwork after it has been completed. That means you'll need to ask your local vet if they are accredited. Most vets know offhand whether or not they have this accreditation, but if there is any uncertainty, the nearest USDA Veterinary Services office can double check accreditation statuses for you and your vet.
3. Go to your vet to get the health certificate issued.
This must be done within a certain time frame before your travel date -- check the pet import requirements for the country to which you're moving as well as the requirements of the airline you are flying with to determine when you will need to have the health certificate issued. Also, we highly recommend having your vet sign the form in blue ink to easily show both the USDA and destination country’s government that it is an original document.
4. Check your (vet's) work!
We cannot stress this enough. As part of our service, we review all of our clients' paperwork carefully before it is sent to the USDA for endorsement. If you are arranging your pet move on your own, you will need to double (and triple!) check your veterinarian's work. If you don't, the USDA will return the documents to you unendorsed. You don't want this to happen because then your pet can't depart on time!
Make sure all dates are written correctly (we recommend formatting to DD MON YYYY to be clear), microchip numbers match up to microchip paperwork, your pet's age on the 7001 matches what's on their vaccination records (you wouldn't believe how often this is incorrect!), etc.
If you must make a correction to the paperwork, have your vet draw a single line through the error and initial somewhere next to the correction. When in doubt, or if your health certificate starts to become too messy or illegible, start over with a new health certificate.
5. Send in your paperwork to the USDA (or take it by hand).
Depending on where the nearest veterinary service office is, you can either go to the office in person to obtain the endorsement or you can send it in via FedEx. If you are going to take your documents in, you will want to call at least one week in advance to make sure they will allow you to come in and to make an appointment. If you are sending your paperwork in, you will need to account for a few days for the package to travel there and back (keep in mind the USDA is closed on the weekends) and include some sort of payment information. The USDA does not take checks.
You might consider including a cover sheet with your contact information instructing them to call for a credit card number. Also, keep in mind that if you do not include a return envelope, the USDA will send it back via US Postal Service. If you need your paperwork returned sooner (which most people do), include a pre-addressed FedEx overnight envelope with your paperwork. The USDA typically will stamp documents on the same day or the following day after they receive them.
Have questions? Need help arranging your pet's move? Contact us to set up a pet transport consultation.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2010 and has been updated with new information.