Will the US Government Shutdown Affect Pet Travel?

The government shutdown underway in the United States since early Tuesday morning affects about 800,000 federal employees. As many government agencies are being forced to cease operations, you may be wondering if your upcoming pet flight will be canceled or delayed.

Based on what we've learned, most agencies dealing with freight transportation will not be impacted. In terms of travel in general, most employees of the Department of Homeland Security will report for regular duty and TSA cargo inspectors will continue to do their jobs.

Federal air traffic controllers and airport screeners are also considered essential and will fulfill their normal roles, however some airports are warning of possible delays. If you're traveling soon, be sure to allow extra time to pass through airport security.

Those familiar with pet travel procedures know that USDA APHIS offices plays a key role in many pet relocations. Here's a link explaining the USDA shutdown procedure; please note that employees in charge of import/export procedures are exempt from the shutdown because their compensation does not come from government appropriations (it's funded via user fees).

Here's the takeaway for pet travelers: APHIS offices are expected to stay open throughout the shutdown and APHIS employees will continue to oversee their duties, but delays are possible. If you have concerns, don't hesitate to talk them over with your PetRelocation specialist.


Hopefully a spending bill is passed soon and federal operations can return to normal (as normal as they're capable of being, anyway). Hang in there, everyone, and here's wishing you all safe and efficient travels.

UPDATE: It has come to our attention that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Offices are closed due to the shutdown, so CITES permits will not be issued until the shutdown ends and these offices can reopen. This closure may affect people planning to move internationally with certain exotic pets.



PetRelocation Team




United States
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