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Guide on bringing a dog into the USA [Pet Passport Requirements 2021]

Bringing a dog into the USA is a straightforward process, as long as you do your research and prepare in advance. They surprisingly do not have many strict rules when it comes to bringing dogs into the US, depending on the country you are traveling from, you may only require a health certificate. However, if you are traveling from a country the US considers to be high-risk for rabies, you will also need a rabies vaccination. Alternatively, if you are bringing a dog into the USA for commercial reasons, you will also need additional vaccinations, and an import permit. We will go into the requirements in detail below. If flying into the US, you will need to ensure that you fly with an airline that will allow your dog to be shipped, and organise this in advance.

In order to bring a dog into the USA, you may require the following, depending on where you are traveling from and the purpose of travel:

  1. Health certificate
  2. Rabies vaccination
  3. Additional vaccinations
  4. Internal and external parasite treatments
  5. Import permit

In this article, we will guide you through the process of bringing a dog to the USA, and breakdown the strict and complicated entry requirements.


What is an US Pet Passport?

US Pet Passport is a term used to represent the documentation required to travel with your pet. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel and won’t be a threat to other dogs’ wellbeing. Generally, in order to get a US pet passport to bring your dog to the USA, your dog will need a health certificate at minimum. Your dog may also require a rabies vaccination, parasite treatments and an import permit, depending on where you are traveling from. 

The documents required to travel with dogs depends on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are travelling to. Each country has different rules and requirements to export and import dogs. Requirements and restrictions also vary between pet species. We will discuss the requirements to bring dogs into the USA in detail below.


What is the process of bringing a dog into the USA?

The process of bringing dogs into the USA is as follows:

  1. Research export requirements of your home country – each country has different regulations for exporting dogs. Ask your veterinarian or your Ministry of Agriculture.
  2. Research import requirements to the USA from your home country – the requirements to bring a dog into the USA depends on where you are traveling from. It’s also important to check that your dog is allowed to be imported into the USA, as some states have strict rules, prohibiting some dog breeds visiting.
  3. Visit the vet – you will need a health certificate at minimum. However, many dogs will also require vaccinations and parasite treatments.
  4. Apply for import permit (if necessary) – to bring a dog into the USA for commercial reasons, you will need an import permit. You need to apply for this before traveling to the USA as it will be required to pass customs. See import permit section below.
  5. Organise quarantine (if necessary) – as soon as you have your import permit granted, you should get in contact with the The Mickleham Center in Victoria to make arrangements for your dog. See quarantine section below.

What are the requirements when bringing a dog into the USA?

The requirements to bring a dog into the USA depend on where you are traveling from and the purpose of your travel (commercial or non-commercial). They can include any of the following:

  1. Health certificate
  2. Rabies vaccination
  3. Additional vaccinations
  4. Internal and external parasite treatments
  5. Import permit

HEALTH CERTIFICATE

All dogs entering the USA must have a health certificate. This applies no matter which country you are traveling from.

A licensed veterinarian must complete a health check on your dog to ensure he or she is healthy enough to travel. They will also ensure that your dog has a valid rabies vaccination, we will discuss this in detail int he next section.

The health certificate must be in English or be accompanied by a version translated in English. It should identify your dog, the dates of it’s rabies vaccination, the manufacturer and the expiration date of the vaccine.

For pets entering Alaska from the United States mainland: the APHIS 7001 form will only be accepted if it has a unique and trackable identification number. A certificate number must be printed on the form. You can download the form APHIS 7001 form here.

RABIES VACCINATION

When bringing a dog into the USA from a country the USA deems high-risk of rabies, your dog will need a rabies vaccination.

If you are travelling from the following high-risk countries, your dog WILL need a rabies vaccination:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma (Myanmar), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Russia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

If you are traveling from a country not listed above, your dog will not require a rabies vaccination.

However, you will need to provide written or oral confirmation that your dog has lived in the origin country since birth, or at least for the past 6 months.

All requests to bring a dog into the USA that hasn’t been vaccinated, must be requested and approved at least 10 working days in advance.

You can get your dog vaccinated at your local vet, just be sure to get a certificate for your dog’s vaccination. There are 1 year vaccines and 3 year vaccines – USA accepts both. However, if the expiration date is not shown on the certificate, then the date of the vaccine must be less than 12 months prior to entry to the USA.

Waiting time after rabies vaccination

If your dog has never been vaccinated against rabies before, you must wait at least 28 days after the vaccination before entering the USA.

Alternatively, you will not have to wait 28 days if your dog is over the age of 15 months, you can provide proof that your dog has been vaccinated since the age of 3 months and that it has had all of its booster vaccines.

ADDITIONAL VACCINATIONS

If you are bringing a dog into the USA for commercial reasons, it will need further vaccinations.

Importing dogs for commercial reasons include adoption or resale. These dogs must also be vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP).

PARASITE INSPECTION / TREATMENT

SCREWWORM

If you are bringing a dog into the USA from the following countries, it will need to be inspected and found negative for screwworm:

Screwworm Countries: Angola, Argentina, Bhrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo, Democratic Republic, Dominican Republic, Easter Island, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, French Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paracel Islands, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

TAPEWORM

If you are bringing a dog into the USA to be used int he handling of livestock, they must be treated against tapeworm by a licensed veterinarian. This applies if you are traveling from all countries except the following:

Canada, Mexico and regions of Central America and the West Indies.

IMPORT PERMIT 

If you are bringing a dog into the USA for commercial reasons, you will require an import permit. If you are not traveling into the USA for commercial reasons, you will not require an import permit. 

An import permit is a document issued by APHIS’ Animal Care program which authorises the importation of live dogs for resale purposes in the USA.


How to apply for a USA Import Permit?

You will need to submit an application form that includes the following information:

  • name and address of individuals, organisations or businesses intending to import and export the dog
  • the number of dogs being imported
  • the date of importation
  • the purpose of importation

You can apply an import permit online through APHIS eFile. Alternatively you can request an application by contacting Animal Care at:

USDA APHIS Animal Care
Center for Animal Welfare
2312 East Bannister Road
Mailstop 1180
Kansas City, MO 64131-3011

Phone: (816) 737-4223
Fax: (816) 737-4206
Email: ac.dogimport.mailbox@aphis.usda.gov


How much will it cost to bring dogs into the USA?

The price for a USA Pet Passport to bring dogs into the USA can cost anywhere between £50-£250. However, there are additional costs, such as airline fees and travel gear. 

This cost ranges drastically depending on the veterinary clinics you visit, which country you are visiting and the species of your pet.

The cost for bringing a dog into the USA is broken down into the following fees:

  1. Rabies vaccination – the average cost of the one-year rabies vaccination is around $15 to $20. A three-year shot will usually costs around $35 to $50. However, some charities offer this service for free.
  2. Health certificate – the average cost of a veterinary consultation can be between $25 and $150. However, some charities offer this service for free.
  3. Pet microchipping (not compulsory but recommended) – the cost to have a pet microchipped ranges from $25 to $60. However, some charities offer this service for free.
  4. Tapeworm treatment (dogs only) – the price ranges between $3 to $18.
  5. Airline fees – the cost varies widely depending on size and weight of your dog, and airline.
  6. Travel gear – the cost varies depending on which dog carrier you purchase, they can range from $15 up to $100+ for the more fancy range.

Of course, this is an approximate number as the real cost can vary massively depending on where you are traveling from, size and weight of your dog, and your mode of transport.

For a detailed breakdown of the costs, check How Much Does a US Pet Passport Cost in 2021?.


What airlines allow flying a dog to the USA?

Most airlines allow flying a dog into the USA. However, depending on the airline you fly with, pet policies differ.

When flying with a dog, it’s important to check airline pet policies before booking any travel. Different airline’s have different rules for flying with dogs, including which dog breeds are allowed, the size and weight of dogs that are permitted, and the number of dogs they allow. Furthermore, fees also vary between airlines.

Most airlines will allow dogs to fly in the cargo section of their planes, in a climate controlled, comfortable pet zone. Although some pet owners think this will be stressful for their dogs, it can actually be a lot calmer than flying in the cabin.

Some airlines will allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, but generally only small dogs that weigh under 8kg are permitted. This is because dogs must fly inside an airline-approved carrier that fits under the seat in front of their owners.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2021 Prices & Policies].

Information on flying a dog into the USA

Pets can enter the United States at international airports in many cities including but not limited to New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.

All domestic dogs will be examined at the port of entry in the USA, and must be found to be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans. If the animal is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required. This will be at the owner’s expense.

All pets entering the United States unaccompanied as air cargo must be claimed by someone with US legal resident status or a citizen of the US. The person claiming the dog must have a valid US address.

We strongly recommend that dog owners importing more than 5 dogs owned personally by them via air cargo contact the CDC to avoid having the import be classified as commercial.


Guidelines for Dog Carriers

If you are flying into the USA with a dog, it is important that you use a dog carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route. 

The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

iata carrier guidelines

The rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether your dog will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.

If you are travelling in the cabin with your dog, then you will need to ensure that it fits under the seat in front of you. This is why only small dogs weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.

Furthermore, airlines often require that your dog must be obedient to your commands and must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff. If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.

MOST AIRLINES ONLY ACCEPT CAGES THAT COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING IATA REGULATIONS:

  • The cage must not have wheels
  • It must have a solid roof
  • The screws and nuts that hold the lower and upper parts of the cage must be properly installed and tightened – because yes, the cage must consist of two sections, made of solid and rigid plastic
  • The cage must also include bowls firmly attached to its lower wall containing food and water
  • It must be clean, but also and above all waterproof and covered with materials capable of absorbing liquid materials
  • It must be well ventilated, with openings in all 4 sides of the cage
  • The cage must also be properly closed, using a lock that cannot be opened from the inside
  • Finally, it must bear a label distinguishing the top from the bottom and another indicating that the cage contains a live animal

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2021 Prices & Policies].

BUDGET

DOG CARRIER

PRICE

LOW AmazonBasics Pet Carrier Medium

CHECK HERE
MEDIUM PetsFit Pet Carrier With Expandable Side

CHECK HERE
HIGH Mr. Peanut’s Double Expandable, Soft-Sided Pet Carrier CHECK HERE

Bringing a dog into the US for Commercial Reasons

The USDA APHIS Animal Care has separate requirements when bringing a dog into the US for the purpose of resale or adoption.

Puppies and dogs entering the United States intended for resale or adoption must:

  1. Be 6 months of age;
  2. Be fully vaccinated (rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP); and
  3. Accompanied with an import permit

This includes dogs coming from Puerto Rico and all US territories. An exception would be dogs being imported for veterinary treatment that is unavailable in the originating country or dogs being imported for research purposes.

Dogs imported by a person who will use the dog as a personal pet, for sport, for shows or competitions, or for breeding or semen collection are not subject to the 6-month age restriction or any other requirements of this rule.


Tips for bringing a dog into the USA

  • Get your pet used to its carrier before traveling.
  • Purchase flights with fewer connections or layovers.
  • Choose departure and arrival times to avoid extreme heat or cold.
  • Consult with your veterinarian.
  • If driving, take plenty of pit stops.
  • If flying, walk your pet before leaving home and again before checking in.
  • If your pet is allowed in the cabin, check in as late as possible to reduce stress.
  • If your pet will be transported as cargo, check in early so it can go to the quiet and dimly lit hold of the plane.

Can I bring other pet species into the USA?

You will simply need a health certificate to travel with species of rodents, rabbits, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles imported to the United States. These pets do not require rabies vaccinations.

The regulations for bringing birds into the USA are as follows:

  • Birds entering the US from any country will require permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The following regulations assume an import of 5 or less birds.
  • Birds entering the US from Canada by air or seaport will require an import permit, and veterinary inspection. Your airline may require a health certificate.
  • Birds entering the US from Canada by land will require a veterinary inspection.
  • Birds entering the US from Mexico or other HPAI-infected country** must undergo 21 days pr pretravel quarantine in Mexido and enter by air at international airports located in Miami or New York and be subject to 30 days of quarantine. An import permit, health certificate and veterinary inspection will apply.
  • Birds entering the US from HPAI-free countries are subject to all requirements above except the 21 day pre-travel quarantine.
  • Pet birds weighing more than 100g, must be identified by one of three approved means (microchip, leg band or tattoo) in order to qualify for home quarantine, in lieu of Federal quarantine, upon returning to the United States from HPAI-FREE countries. The identification must be documented on the accompanying U.S. origin health certificate.

**HPAI-infected countries are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Live fish of most species may be imported into the United States without import requirements.

There are 8 species of fish that will require an import permit and health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian in the originating country:

  • Common carp, including koi carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  • Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
  • Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus)
  • Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
  • Bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis)
  • Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)
  • Tench (Tinca tinca)
  • Sheatfish (Silurus glanis).

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Is quarantine required when bringing a dog into the US?

In most cases, quarantine is not required. As long as your dog appears healthy upon arrival in the US, they will not need to be quarantined.

Can I bring my puppy into the US?

Yes, as long as your puppy has a health certificate and seems healthy upon inspection. Puppies entering the US for commercial use, for resale or adoption, require additional vaccines. Please refer to the section above.

Is there an entry fee when taking dogs to the US?

Luckily, there is no fee to pay when entering the US. However, if you are flying into the USA, you will need to pay airline fees to ship dogs.

Can I bring my dog into the USA with an EU Pet Passport?

Your dog can travel to the USA with an EU Pet Passport, however you will also need a health certificate.


Bottom Line

Bringing a dog into the USA is reasonably straight forward. You will simply need a health certificate at minimum, no matter where you and your dog are traveling from. If you are traveling from a country the USA considers high-risk of rabies, your dog will also need a rabies vaccination. If you are bringing a dog into the USA for commercial reasons, you will also need an import permit, and additional vaccinations.

If traveling by air, check that your chosen airline will allow your dog to travel with you either in the cabin, or in the cargo area of the plane. Different airlines have different policies and prices.

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

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