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Bringing Pets to Hawaii [Pet Passport 2020 Guide]

Bringing pets to Hawaii may seem like a lot of fun, but unfortunately it isn’t as easy as hopping onto a plane with your furry friend.

Hawaii has strict entry requirements for pets, including microchipping, vaccinations, rabies blood testing, tick treatments and an import permit. Furthermore, it is likely that your pet will need to spend some time in Hawaii animal quarantine, even up to 120 days! Don’t worry, Hawaii’s animal quarantine is not scary with attentive staff to look after your pets. Additionally, some pets may even qualify for the ‘5 day or less’ quarantine programme. This is why it’s important that you plan ahead. So, if you are considering taking your pet on a short holiday to Hawaii with you, you may want to reconsider. However, if you are look to relocate to Hawaii or spend more time there, then it may be worth the hard work.

In this article, we will discuss in detail how to bring a pet to Hawaii, including the strict requirements and processes you need to follow.

Although Hawaii is part of the United States, their rules are different than other US States. This is because it is a rabies-free island.


What is a Hawaii Pet Passport?

Hawaii does not have an official ‘Pet Passport’, however it is a term used to describe the documents that are required to take a pet to Hawaii. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your pet in customs. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your dog is fit and healthy to travel. For a Hawaii pet passport you will likely need microchip documents, vaccination records, parasite treatment records, veterinary health certificate and import license. However, your Hawaii Pet Passport will vary depending on the species of your pet and where you are traveling from.


What are the steps to follow for bringing pets to Hawaii?

When bringing a pet to Hawaii, you should take the following steps:

  1. Book the first appointment with your vet – your pet will need a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum. Your dog or cat may also need a rabies blood test depending on where you’re traveling from. There are time restraints when it comes to the blood test, so try to do this as early as possible.
  2. Organise travel – being in the middle of the ocean, the most common means of travel is to fly. Ensure you fly with an airline that will allow your pet on board, either in the cabin or in the cargo area of the plane. Furthermore, you will need to fly into a specific airport that allows importing pets.
  3. Book the second appointment with your vet – you will need a second appointment if you are traveling from a country other than the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand. The reason you need a second appointment, is because your dog or cat will need to pass a rabies blood test, which takes time. You will also need a health certificate for your pet obtained within 14 days of your arrival.
  4. Send documentation to the Animal Quarantine Branch – you will need to send your pet’s health certification to Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Branch, by Fedex, in order for it to arrive on time.

We will go into more detail below.


What are the requirements for bringing pets to Hawaii?

The requirements to fly a dog to Hawaii are as follows:

  1. Microchipping – all dogs, cats and ferrets must be microchipped.
  2. Vaccinations – at minimum, dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
  3. Rabies Titer Test / Rabies Blood Test – your dog, cat or ferret must pass a rabies titer test to prove the rabies vaccination was successful. This excludes those traveling from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand.
  4. Tick Treatment – all dogs, cats and ferrets must have an approved tick treatment within 14 days of arrival.
  5. Health Certificate & Import Permit – you must send your pet’s health certificate to the Animal Quarantine Branch within 14 days prior to arrival.

We will go into these in more detail below.

Microchipping

When bringing pets to Hawaii, your pet must be microchipped with an ISO 11784 pet microchip that is a 15 digit and non-encrypted. This only applies to dogs, cats and ferrets. 

Not only is a microchip a requirement for pets to travel to most countries, it is also in your best interest to have your dog or cat microchipped. If you were to lose your beloved furry friend, it is far more likely that you will be reunited. When a lost dog or cat is found, the first thing they check for is usually a microchip.

Your veterinarian should provide you with a certificate that states:

  • your pet’s unique microchip number
  • that your pet’s microchip was successfully scanned

The microchip can be of the standard US issue (Avid) or (Home Again) type or a 15 digit ISO pet microchip.

We recommend that this is the first step you take. This is because your pet’s rabies vaccination will only be valid if attached to a specific microchip.


Vaccinations

When bringing pets to Hawaii, he or she must be vaccinated against rabies, at minimum. No other vaccines are required, but you may want to get your dog other common vaccinations, just in case. This only applies to dogs, cats and ferrets.

Hawaii is a rabies-free state and they want to keep it that way. Vaccinations are important, not only for the health of your pet but others too. Even if your pet is completely healthy, you can’t be sure that other animals he or she comes into contact with are too.

The only vaccine that is a legal requirement to enter Hawaii is the rabies vaccination. In order to import pets to Hawaii, they must have been vaccinated against rabies at least twice in his lifetime. Furthermore, those vaccinations must be no more than 30 days apart.

Your pet’s latest rabies vaccination must be administered no less than 30 days prior to arrival in Hawaii.

You will need the original copies of your pet’s latest two vaccination certificates.

Rabies titer test / rabies blood test

When bringing pets to Hawaii from any country other than the British Isles, Australia, Guam or New Zealand, they must pass a rabies titer test. This is also known as a rabies blood test or FAVN. This applies to dogs, cats and ferrets. 

The rabies titer test (FAVN) is important to prevent the spread of the deadly viral disease. The FAVN tests whether your pet’s rabies vaccinations were successful and therefore whether your dog is protected.

A licensed veterinarian must take a sample of your pet’s blood and send it to an authorised laboratory for testing. The sample must be processed at Kansas State University or DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas. At the lab they will measure the level of the rabies antibody in your pet’s blood. They must find at least 0.5 IU/mL of the antibody.

The blood test needs to be completed not more than 36 months and not less than 120 days prior to entering Hawaii. Your veterinarian will need to scan your pet’s microchip prior to the blood test.

Your vet must provide you with a certificate showing your pet’s test results. All documents must be in English. Be sure that your rabies titer test submittal form states that your destination is Hawaii so test results will be sent there.

The test is valid for entering Hawaii for 36 months.

As mentioned above, your pet’s microchip must be implanted prior to the titer test otherwise it will not count.


Tick Treatment

Your dog, cat or ferret must be treated against ticks, within 14 days of entering Hawaii. The following list of active ingredients are accepted for tick treatment (topical Products):

  • Fipronil Imidacloprid
  • Permethrin Pyriproxyfen
  • Permethrin Dinotefuran
  • Pyriproxyfen
  • Permethrin Metaflumizone
  • Amitraz Dinotefuran
  • Pyriproxyfen Dinotefuran
  • Pyriproxyfen + PermethrinFipronil
  • Amitraz Indoxacarb
  • Permethrin Flumethrin
  • Imidacloprid
  • Sarolaner + Selemectin

The following list of active ingredients are accepted for tick treatment (oral products):

  • Fluralaner
  • Afoxolaner
  • Sarolaner
  • Lotilaner

We recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to determine what products are safe to use on your pet, and what dose and application directions should be followed.

Health Certificate & Import Permit

If bringing a dog or cat to Hawaii, a notarized Dog and Cat Import Form (AQS 279) is required. This involves getting a health certificate for your pet. Domestic birds, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and rodents will also require a health certificate and import permit.

A licensed veterinarian must complete a Health Certificate for Hawaii in English. It must be an original, photocopies will not be accepted. If bringing a dog or cat to Hawaii, this certificate must be issued by your veterinarian within 14 days of your pet’s arrival to Hawaii. If traveling with a domestic bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil or rodent, it must be issued within 7 days prior to your arrival in Hawaii.

All documentation should then be sent to the Animal Quarantine Branch, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 9670. The documents must arrive 10 days prior to your pet’s arrival to qualify for same-day release and reduced fees*. Since the documents must be processed within 14 days of your arrival, you must send them by an overnight carrier to qualify for airport release of your pet.

*There is a fee for processing the documents. You can find the current fees on hawaii.gov website here.

USDA endorsement is not required when entering Hawaii from the mainland United States.

How much does it cost to bring pets to Hawaii?

Bringing pets to Hawaii can cost anywhere from $200 to over $1,000 per pet. The price you pay can vary widely depending on the species, size and weight of your pet, where you are traveling from, and which airline you fly with.

Let’s say that you have one dog that you are planning on moving to Hawaii. The below pricing is a rough estimate of what that might cost if you chose to do Direct Airport Release and were flying to a neighbor island (not Oahu).

VET FEES:

Tick/Flea Meds: $25
Rabies Vaccinations: $45 (twice) = $90
Microchip: $42
OIE-FAVN Blood Test: $250
Health Certificate: $65
Lab Testing: $90

TRAVELING FEES:

Airline-Approved Pet Kennel: $75
Airline Ticket: $350
Direct Release: $165
Neighbor Island Inspection: $145

Total Cost: $1,297

Unfortunately there are no discounts for those bringing multiple pets to Hawaii. Additionally, there are also no discounts for owners that provide their own food for their pet. The U.S. Department of Defense may reimburse active duty military members with dogs or cats up to $550 per family for quarantine expenses. Military members should check with their command on whether this is available to them.

Do all pets need to stay in Hawaii Animal Quarantine?

Not all pets are required to stay in Hawaii animal quarantine. Pets can spend anywhere between 0 and 120 days in quarantine upon arrival in Hawaii.

Hawaii has a 5 day or less pet quarantine programme, which has a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection. If you want to qualify, you must ensure your pet meets all the requirements listed above – microchipping, rabies vaccination, rabies titer test (if applicable), tick treatment, health certificate and import permit.

If your pet does not meet all the requirements for the 5 day or less programme, may be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii.

Hawaii Pet Quarantine requirements do not apply for your pet if it is entering from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand when all of the following apply:

  • your pet’s flight is direct or your pet has evidence in writing from the officer in charge that your pet was not in contact with any other animal during their transit;
  • your pet’s crate was sealed by veterinary authorities at the point of origin;
  • you sign a declaration that your pet has resided in one of the countries listed since birth or for a period of at least 6 months prior to entry;
  • your pet is accompanied by a health certificate and proof of ticks and tapeworm treatment within 14 days of entry; and
  • your pet is accompanied by Guam Affidavit, form IC-5 (Origination in Guam only).

How much does Hawaii Animal Quarantine cost?

The cost of Hawaii animal quarantine depends on where you are traveling from, and if you meet Hawaiis pet import requirements. 

As mentioned above, some pets may not require a stay in Hawaii animal quarantine, however some may require a stay of up to 120 days. Please see section above for further information.

Current Fees
Direct Airport Release $185*
* The higher fee of $244 for each dog or cat released at the airport shall apply (instead of $185) when documents are not received by the Animal Quarantine Station 10 days or more before arrival. This includes situations where documents are submitted on arrival for review and qualification purposes.
5 Day or Less $244
Neighbor Island Inspection Permit $165
Arriving early before eligible for 5 Day or Less $14.30/each day early + $244
Re-Entry Fee (if qualified) $98**
** The higher fee of $130 for each dog or cat released at the airport shall apply (instead of $98) when documents are not received by the Animal Quarantine Station 10 days or more before arrival (re-entry). This includes situations where documents are submitted on arrival for review and qualification purposes.

Bringing service dogs to Hawaii

Guide dogs for the blind and certified service dogs for the physically disabled must complete pre-shipment requirements.

The State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division defines Guide dog as “any dog individually trained by a licensed guide dog trainer for guiding a blind person by means of a harness attached to the dog and a rigid handle grasped by the person.”

Service dog is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The work or tasks include but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behavior. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence, such as dogs with “protection training” and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

Requirements include having a current rabies vaccination and passing an OIE-FAVN rabies blood test after 12 months of age and prior to arrival in Hawaii. These must be listed on a health certificate issued no more than 30 days before travel. The certificate must also show the dog has been treated for ticks within 14 days of travel.

Proof of certification must be provided, and must state the task(s) that the dog has been trained to perform. These tasks must be directly linked to the owner’s disability.

All documentation should be sent to the Rabies Quarantine Branch well ahead of your intended arrival date.

The dog must enter Hawaii with it’s owner.

On arrival in Hawaii, the dog must be brought by the airline to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. They will ensure the dog meets all of the requirements and check the dog for external parasites. If everything is in order, the dog will be released at that point.

Emotional support dogs (ESA) that provide support for well-being, comfort, or companionship do not meet the definition of a service dog.

What is the best way to travel to Hawaii with pets?

Flying to Hawaii is the most common means of transport, since it is an island in the middle of the ocean. There is the option of getting a ship to Hawaii, however, unless your pet is a service dog, it is unlikely they will be allowed on board. 

Many airlines will allow you to bring your pets to Hawaii with you. Many offer pet services that include climate controlled, pressurized, and comfortable areas to hold them. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines are commonly recommended for transporting pets to the islands, but the best airline for you depends on where you’re departing from, how many pets you are bringing and what time of year you are planning on arriving in Hawaii.

Before booking any flights, always check that your chosen airline will allow your pet on board. Furthermore, it is important to book well in advance (at least 20-30 days, sometimes 45 days).

Some airlines will allow small dogs and cats, weighing under 8kg, to fly in the cabin with their owners. This is as long as they fit in an airline-approved pet carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. If you are traveling with a large or heavy dog, you will need to fly them in the cargo section of the plane, or arrange a private jet. Of course, this will be rather pricey!

Remember, airlines fly pets to Hawaii every day. Pets are successfully flown to Hawaii all the time and can quickly recover from the trip. So, as long as you plan ahead, have all your paperwork in order, and meet all the quarantine and airline specifications, bringing your pet to Hawaii should go smoothly.

For a list of airlines that allow pets to fly in the cabin with their owners, check:

For a list of airlines that allow other pets on their planes, check: 


Rules for flying pets to Hawaii

You may enter Hawaii through Honolulu International Airport only between the hours of 8am and 9pm.

We recommend that you arrange your flight to arrive in Hawaii before 3.30pm. As long as your pet conforms to all the entry requirements, the process of clearing your dog will should take around 1 hour. However, the process can take up to 4 to 5 hours. Particularly, if your pet doesn’t confirm to the requirements and you don’t have all the necessary documents. Pets that are not cleared by 4.30pm will be held overnight at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. You will be liable to pay for this.

Once your pet has cleared customs, he or she will be taken directly to the quarantine center. After the quarantine period has ended, you will need to pick your pet up from there.

You may also enter through the neighbor Island airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue but you only if you make special arrangements in advance.

It’s important to note that not all airlines participate in this program. If traveling into these airports, all requirements for entering Hawaii must be met and documentation must be submitted at least 30 days prior to arrival.


What airlines allow flying pets to Hawaii?

Most airlines allow flying a dog or cat to Hawaii. However, depending on the airline you fly with, pet policies differ. If you are traveling with a pet other than a cat or dog, you may have more trouble. 

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

According to US law, no domestic airline can refuse travel to licensed service animals. Requirements for service animals differ because they need to stay with their owners. With that said, owners will need to provide extra certification, to prove the dog qualifies as a service dog.

For a list of airlines that allow pets to fly in the cabin with their owners, check:

For a list of airlines that allow other pets on their planes, check: 


What are airline requirements for pet kennels?

When flying with pets, it is important that your pet carrier is permitted for use on an airplane. Airlines often have specific requirements when it comes to size, weight and material of carriers. 

Firstly, it is important to note that just because a manufacturer says that their pet carrier is ‘airline-approved’, doesn’t mean it is. This is because different airlines have different requirements. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and find out the exact requirements for your chosen airline.

For pet carriers, make sure you:

1. Choose an appropriate kennel size. Your pet must be able to stand, turn, and lie down in a natural manner. Some airlines only allow kennels that have certain dimensions, so again, be sure to check with your airline for their requirements.

2. Choose an airline-approved kennel. Kennel requirements for pets riding in the cabin are a little different compared to kennels required for pets riding in cargo (see more information below). If your pet will be riding in both the cabin and cargo during the journey, make sure you have 2 different airline-approved kennels.

BUDGET

PET 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

How to prepare your pet kennel

When flying a pet to Hawaii, you must prepare your pet’s kennel appropriately, for the comfort of your pet, and to abide by airline regulations. In order to prepare your pet’s kennel for the aircraft you should do the following:

1. Put absorbent material on the bottom of the kennel – messy shavings, such as hay or straw, are not allowed. Pet travel pads are recommended, however, a clean towel works well.

2. Check kennel hardware – replace any plastic pieces with metal pieces (bolts, door, etc.) to ensure your kennel is strong.

3. Place appropriate notes on pet kennel(s). You will need at least 4 large print stickers including:

  • Live Animal” sticker – 1 on top, at least 1 on side (2 total)
  • This End Up” or up-arrow sticker on at least 2 sides (2 total)

4. Attach any appropriate information to your kennel(s) – it is recommended that you include a copy of your pet’s paperwork in a large ziplock bag and securely attach it to the kennel. Be sure to include the following in a place that is visible and can be easily read:

  • Pet name
  • Your name
  • Name of the person who is picking up your pet (if it’s not you)
  • Local Address
  • Your contact number (& number of the person who is picking up your pet)
  • A current photo of your pet

5. Hang food and water tray (or divided tray) on the inside of the kennel door. Try to put it in a place that is easy for your pet to reach it and where it is less likely to spill. You can even use a pet water bottle in the kennel, but make sure it is the “no-leak” variety, so your pet’s kennel will stay dry.

6. Secure a sealable, clear plastic bag to the outside of the kennel with your pet’s food (wait until moving day to complete this step). These are also handy to place any medication your pet may need for the flight.

7. Include a “Shipper’s Declaration” label – leave instructions on how to feed and water your pet. The USDA requires you to do this within 4 hours of check-in. If your pet should not be given food or water, be sure to include written instructions/verification from your vet.

8. Secure the kennel door – use 4 hand-releasable cable ties to place through the holes at the corners of the kennel door so it is properly secure. This should be done on the day of travel once your pet is in the kennel.


Which dog breeds are banned from visiting Hawaii?

Non-domestic dogs, cats and their hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross and dingo are prohibited from entry to Hawaii. Banned cat breeds include Savannah and Bengal cats. 

Most dogs and cats are permitted to enter Hawaii. However, the problem often arises when booking air travel. This is because many airlines have policies preventing additional breeds from flying on their planes.

Dog breeds that are deems ‘agressive’, such as Mastiffs and Bulldogs, and snub-nosed dogs, such as pugs, are often banned. Even though owners of the ‘aggressive’ dog breeds listed below know that their beloved pooches are big softies, unfortunately they are often not permitted. Snub-nosed dogs are often banned due to health reasons. This is because they are prone to respiratory issues, particularly when traveling.


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my puppy or kitten to Hawaii?

Due to the minimum requirements, puppies and kittens need to be at least 10 weeks of age before they can travel to Hawaii. Don’t worry if your pup or kit is too young! A 120 day quarantine is usually required for those that can’t meet the requirements.

Can I take my pet to Hawaii with an EU Pet Passport?

Yes, you can take a cat or dog to Hawaii with an EU Pet Passport. Hawaii is a non-EU listed country that accepts the EU Pet Passport. However, your dog or cat will also need to have a rabies titer test, and you will need to obtain a notarised health certificate and import permit.

Can I take my pet to Hawaii without quarantine?

Yes, as long as you meet all necessary requirements to comply with the '5 days or less quarantine programme' your pet may be released immediately. This is more likely if you are traveling from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand

How hard is it to bring a pet to Hawaii?

It will take a lot of planning and there are many entry requirements for pets, however it is doable. Follow the simple steps listed above to ensure you comply with the Hawaiian Law for traveling with pets.


Bottom Line

So, as you are now aware, bringing pets to Hawaii does take a lot of planning and preparation. However, it is possible if you follow the simple steps above. Just be sure your pet is microchipped and is up to date on his or her rabies vaccinations. Furthermore, to avoid a lengthy quarantine period, be sure to send all documents off to the Hawaiian Animal Quarantine Department prior to travel.

Due to the chance of your pet being put in quarantine, you may want to consider leaving your pet at home if you are just visiting Hawaii for a short trip. However, if you are planning on relocating to Hawaii, the hassle is far more worth it.

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

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