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Pet Importation Information for Select Countries, Hawaii and Guam

United States
Great Britain
Hawaii (new 5-day quarantine guidelines)

Pets on the Go members log-in now to the international database of 125 additional countries, their importation requirements, and llinks to the appropriate consular agency.

United States

Travelers frequently inquire about taking their pets with them to the United States. Importation is subject to health, quarantine, agriculture, wildlife, and customs requirements and prohibitions. Pets taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. Sadly, pets excluded from entry into the United States must either be exported or destroyed. While awaiting disposition, pets will be detained at the owner's expense at the port of arrival.

The U.S. Public Health Service requires that pet dogs and cats brought into this country be examined at the first port of entry for evidence of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Dogs coming from areas not free of rabies must be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate.

We also suggest that you also check with state, county, and municipal authorities for local restrictions on importing pet.

U.S. Dog and Cat Importation Requirements

Domestic dogs and cats must be free of evidence of diseases communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry. If the animal is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at the owner’s expense.

The USDA (lists all countries effected and complete regulations) has imposed stringent requirements on dogs imported from Screwworm infected regions of the world. Generally, the countries where screwworms are prevalent are Africa, Asia, Central America (& Caribbean), Middle East, Pacific Islands, and South America. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspectors will check the origin of dogs entering the United States and if the dogs originate from one of the afore mentioned countries and do not meet USDA policy - the dogs will be held. To meet the requirements dogs must have:

1. A health certificate signed by a veterinarian official certifying that the dog was inspected for screwworm within 5 days preceding shipment to the U.S. and was found free of screwworms.


2. Dogs infected with screwworm must have been held in quarantine and treated until free prior to leaving their country.

Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entering the United States. This requirement does not apply, however, to puppies or kittens less than three months of age or to dogs and cats originating or located for at least six months in areas designated by the U.S. Public Health Service as being rabies-free.

The following procedures pertain to dogs arriving from areas that are not free of rabies:
  • A valid rabies vaccination certificate should accompany the animal. This certificate should be in English or be accompanied by a translation. It should identify the animal, the dates of vaccination and expiration, and be signed by a licensed veterinarian. If no expiration date is specified, the certificate is acceptable if the date of vaccination is no more than 12 months before the date of arrival.
  • If a vaccination has not been performed, or if the certificate is not valid, the animal may be admitted if it is confined immediately upon arrival at a place of the owner’s choosing. The dog must be vaccinated within four days after arrival at the final destination, but no more than 10 days after arrival at the port of entry. The animal must remain in confinement for at least 30 days after being vaccinated.
  • If the vaccination was performed less than 30 days before arrival, the animal may be admitted but must be confined at a place of the owner’s choosing until at least 30 days have passed since the vaccination.
  • Young puppies must be confined at a place of the owner’s choosing until they are three months old, then they must be vaccinated. They must remain in confinement for 30 days.

Dogs and cats that arrive in Hawaii or Guam, both of which are free of rabies, are subject to the state’s or territory’s quarantine requirements, in addition to whatever other Public Health Service requirements, above, apply.

Dogs, cats, and turtles are free of duty. Other pets imported into the United States, if subject to a customs duty, may be included in your customs exemption if they accompany you and are imported for your personal use and not for sale.

For additional information please consult with the following agencies that govern pet importation to the United States: Customs and Border Protection, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Please Note: While APHIS and the CDC have a number of criteria that must be met for pets to enter the United States, you will most likely be talking to Customs and Border Protection officials when crossing any U.S. border. The previous information was taken directly from materials published by the Customs and Border Protection. Please read it carefully and contact the this Department if you should have any questions.

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