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International Travel for the Jet Set Pet™

If the idea of visiting Paris with Fifi or Venice with Carlo (we're talking cats and dogs here) seems appealing, then you are not alone. Millions of people successfully travel internationally with their pets each year. Yet it is clear, based on the number of questions that we receive, that international pet travel is confusing. Our goal is to demystify international pet travel by clarifying the rules and providing you with the appropriate questions to ask.

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International pet travel does require planning; however, if you follow some simple steps it doesn't have to be any more complex than domestic travel. The most important thing to remember is that just like with human travel, pets also need additional documentation in order to enter a country. It is also important to check with your country of origin, let them know where you are traveling to, and ask what documentation you will need for re-entry.

There are also a variety of other details to consider when planning a trip abroad. We outline these for you below. We also provide more specific information and contacts on our import/export page:

Which countries allow the importation of animals?

While most countries allow animal importation, some impose restrictions that discourage the short-term and last-minute traveler. Great Britain has always had a strict quarantine policy for pets arriving from countries that do not fall under their Pet Travel Scheme. The Scheme requires that pets be microchipped, vaccinated, tested and certified - a process that takes up to six months.

While the United States does not practice quarantine, the state of Hawaii does have strict restrictions on entry (similar to those of Great Britain) and the territory of Guam still practices quarantine. Many islands in the Caribbean also quarantine pets. Therefore, if you are sailing with a pet on board it is important to contact the appropriate authorities in advance of the trip. Those who are traveling from a "rabies-free" country, then entry requirements are much easier.

Pet Importation Regulations

United States
Great Britain

Pets on the Go members log-in now to the international database of 110 additional countries, their importation requirements, and llinks to the appropriate consular agency.

Contact the Consulate
Once you determine the general restrictions of the country(s) that you plan to visit, you must contact the individual consulate(s). They have all of the information that you need on pet importation and are generally very helpful. Please visit our pet import/export page for specific information on how to navigate the process.
Talk to the Airline
After contacting the consulate, you should determine the means by which you will be entering the country. Many international visitors arrive by air. Therefore, it is important to contact the air carrier that you will be using and to ask another set of critical questions. Please keep in mind that the International Airline Transportation Association (IATA) governs international air transportation and that it is important to choose a member airline in order to help ensure a safer trip for your pet.

When you contact the airline, please ask the following questions:
  • What are your restrictions for pet travel? How many pets do you accept in cargo and how many, if any, in the cabin. Many international carriers restrict pet travel in the cabin.
  • What are your container requirements? (We provide an overview in our air transportation section.)
  • Will the pet have to change planes? We recommend a non-stop flight whenever possible.
  • If it is a long flight, will the pet be able to relieve himself somewhere?
  • When and where should I drop my pet off?
  • What documents will I need to transport my pet? Some airlines have stricter requirements than the countries they fly to.
  • Where will the animal clear customs?

    If you have more questions about air travel with pets, please see our tips for the traveling pet.

    If you follow these guidelines, do your homework, and triple check your paperwork you should have no problem traveling internationally with your jet set pet™.

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