Below is a letter to the IPATA organization reminding them of the importance of serial numbers on the EU veterinary certificate (form 998). This is commonly overlooked by pet friendly veterinarians and USDA officials, so it is the responsibility of the pet owner (or their pet relocation company!) to ensure that it is filled in. We thought it'd be useful for our pet travel readers to remind them about the importance of the serial number (emphasis ours):
Lately, we have had issues with the absence of the "Serial number of the certificate" (on the first page of the EU Veterinary Certificate), in particular from JFK and LAX. This Serial number should be filled out at all times and in addition, every Certificate must have a unique serial number. As not all USDA APHIS offices maintain a numerical tracking method, it becomes your responsibilty to ensure that a unique number is included on the EU Verterinary Certificate at all times.
As a suggestion, a good method is to include the USDA APHIS 7001 Health Certificate on the EU Veterinary Certificate, as a cross reference. But again, every Certificate must have a unique serial number.
We have experienced more and more cases whereby the VWA in AMS rejects a Live Pet if the Serial number of the EU Veterinary Certificate is missing. Before they release the Live Pet, the VWA requires a declaration from the export agent that includes the (EU) Veterinary Certificate Serial number, with a reference to the name of the Live Pet, Airway Bill number, and Chip/Tattoo number.
This declaration must be signed and stamped by the USDA. Needless to say, by the time the declaration is in the hands of the VWA, your Live Pet shipment has suffered a delay and there has been additional work for all involved… By completing the EU Veterinary Certificate accurately and completely before the shipment departs the US, this can be avoided.
Also, it is essential that original EU Health Certificates are included with all Live Pet shipments that require an inspection in AMS. The VWA will no longer accept copies, and your shipment will suffer a delay if the original documentation is absent.