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How to get a US Pet Passport in 2020 [ULTIMATE GUIDE]

A USA Pet Passport will allow you to take your beloved pet travelling with you. So, if you are relocating to another country, or are just going on holiday, you don’t have to leave your pet behind!

With a pet passport, your dog, cat, rabbit, or other animal may be able to visit another country without enduring a lonely, lengthy quarantine period.

In this article we will answer the following questions on USA Pet Passports:

  1. How do I get a Pet Passport in the USA?
  2. What are the basic requirements for a USA Pet Passport?
  3. What are common requirements to enter another country?
  4. How much does a USA Pet Passport cost in 2020?
  5. How long does it take to get a USA Pet Passport in 2020?
  6. What type of pets can get a USA Pet Passport?

What is a US Pet Passport?

USA Pet Passports is a term used to represent the documentation required to travel with your pet.

The documents required depends on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are entering. Each country has different rules and requirements to import pets, and these often vary between your pet’s species.

Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel.




How do I get a Pet Passport in the USA?

Getting a pet passport in the USA is pretty straightforward. Here’s the process:

#1 Book an appointment with the vet

In order to get a pet passport in the USA, you will just need to visit a federally accredited vet. If your vet is not accredited, they should be able to refer you to one that is.

When booking your appointment, tell them that you want to get your pet a passport. This way, they can be fully prepared for your visit.

The vet will administer required vaccinations and treatments based on which country or countries you are visiting. Once your pet has had a full health check and required vaccinations and treatments, the vet will provide you with an official health certificate. The health certificate will provide evidence your pet is fit and healthy for travel.

#2 Apply for USDA endorsement / stamping

All pets leaving the USA must send relevant paperwork required for the destination country to the State USDA office for endorsement prior to leaving the country.

Contact your local USDA veterinary service center location for assistance. You can find the closest one here.

Additionally, you can check different country regulations at the USDA website here.




What are the basic requirements for a USA Pet Passport?

In this section, we will discuss the basic requirements that most pets require to obtain a USA Pet Passport. For more a in depth discussion of the requirements, check What are the Requirements for a USA Pet Passport in 2020?

In order to get a US Pet Passport your pet will need the following:

  1. Rabies vaccination
  2. Health certificate
  3. USDA endorsement

All countries will require a rabies certificate and proof of good health, at minimum. You will also need to apply for USDA endorsement as mentioned above.

#1 Rabies vaccination (dogs, cats and ferrets)

Most countries require dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. It is also a requirement for dogs to return to the USA after travel. Cat’s do not need a rabies vaccination, but requirements may be subject to State and local ordinances.

Although the timings vary, usually your pet must be vaccinated at least 28 days prior to entering a country. Your pet will also need to be vaccinated within the past 1 to 3 years, again depending on the country.

The USA doesn’t accept 3 years rabies vaccinations. The date of the vaccination must be less than 12 months prior to re-entering the USA. 

Most veterinary clinics will be able to administer your pet’s rabies vaccination. You will need to obtain proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination. Therefore, make sure that you are given a certificate with the date of the vaccination.

Birds, reptiles and amphibians cannot get rabies and therefore do not require a rabies vaccination.

IMPORTANT – if microchipping is required for the country you are visiting, the rabies vaccination must be administered after or at the same time as the microchipping.

#2 Health certificate 

All pets require a health certificate to prove that they are fit and healthy enough to travel. These are also known as a veterinary or sanitary certificate.

You can get these from your veterinary once they have completed a full health check on your pet.

#3 USDA endorsement

All pets leaving the USA must send relevant paperwork required for the destination country to the State USDA office for stamping/endorsement before leaving the country.

Contact your local USDA veterinary service center location for assistance. You can find your closest one here.




What are common requirements to enter another country?

On top of the rabies vaccination and health certificate, many countries also have additional requirements.

Here’s some information on the most common requirements for a USA Pet Passport. For more a in depth discussion of the requirements, check What are the Requirements for a USA Pet Passport in 2020?

In order to get a US Pet Passport, your pet may require the following:

  1. Pet microchipping
  2. Rabies titer test
  3. Tapeworm treatment
  4. Import license

#1 Pet microchipping

Not all countries require pets to be microchipped, including the USA. However, it is highly recommended that you have your pet microchipped in case your pet was to go missing.

Having your dog, cat or ferret microchipped is required when visiting many countries, including the whole of the UK and the EU.

Again, you can have your pet microchipped at your local veterinary clinic.

IMPORTANT – if microchipping is required for the country you are visiting, the rabies vaccination must be administered after or at the same time as the microchipping.

#2 Rabies titer test

Some countries require your pet to have a rabies titer test, also known as a rabies blood test. This is to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of the rabies antibody in your pet’s blood.

You can get this done at a certified vet. Your pet’s blood sample will be taken and sent to an official certified laboratory for testing.

If you are travelling to a country that requires a rabies titer test, allow yourself at least 2 months. Firstly, your pet’s blood sample usually needs be taken 28 days after the rabies vaccination was administered. Furthermore, it will usually take up to 1 month to get the results back.

Countries requiring the blood titer test require that it be completed between 30 and 180 days before entering the country. The timing varies depending on your destination country. The waiting period until entry begins on the day the blood sample was drawn by the veterinarian.

#3 Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

If you are travelling to certain countries, your dog may need proof of a tapeworm test to complete your pet passport. This is the case if travelling to the UK, Finland or Malta.

This treatment must be administered by a vet between 1-5 days / 24–120 hours prior to travel. The date and time of your dog’s treatment must be recorded on the pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate, by an official vet.

Additionally, the tapeworm treatment must contain Praziquantel to be effective against Echinococcus tapeworm.

The following treatments are not permitted:

Stronghold, Advocate, Frontline or Frontline Combo, Nexgard or Nexgard Spectra

#4 Import license for pets

Some countries require you to apply for an Import License or Permit before entering the country. You can usually apply for these online via the country’s Department of Livestock Development.

For example, it is necessary to obtain an import permit from the Bangkok Animal Quarantine Station in order to enter Thailand. This permit is good for 45 days from date of issue (apply here). 

Check the requirements of the country you are visiting.




How much does a USA Pet Passport cost in 2020?

The price for a complete USA Pet Passport in 2020 can cost anywhere between $38 and $1,110.

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 the the following common USA Pet Passport requirements are as follows:

#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 – the cost to have a pet microchipped ranges from $25 to $60. However, some charities offer this service for free.

#4 Rabies titer test – the cost ranges between $80 to $150, depending on the clinic.

#5 Tapeworm treatment (dogs only) – the price ranges between $3 to $18.

#6 USDA endorsement – the price starts at $38 and increases with the number of tests and animals. Contact the APHIS VS Area Office in your state for more information.

#7 Import permit – the cost can vary dramatically depending on where you are visiting. Check whether you require one at the USDA website here.

For a more in depth discussion on the cost of a USA Pet Passport check How much does a USA Pet Passport cost in 2019?




How long does it take to get a USA Pet Passport in 2020?

The process can take a few weeks to many months, all depending on the requirements of the country you are visiting.

For example, if you are visiting Australia, allow yourself at least 2 months to prepare. This is because Australia requires all pets to undergo a rabies titer test. As mentioned above, a blood sample must be taken 3-4 weeks after your pet’s rabies vaccination. Once the blood sample is sent to a laboratory, it takes up to 1 month to get your results. If your pet fails the test, then he or she must get another rabies vaccination and start the process again. 

We recommend that you start investigating the requirements of your destination country as soon as possible.

Additionally, inform your veterinarian of your travel plans as early as possible. They can advise you on the requirements and specific timings of certain treatments.




What pet species can get a USA Pet Passport?

As expected, most countries allow dogs and cats to be imported. Throughout Europe, ferrets are also widely accepted with an EU Pet Passport.

For other pets, such as rabbits, birds, reptiles and amphibians, it depends on the country you are visiting. Requirements vary widely.

Usually, common pets such as those listed above, can travel with a health certificate. However, they may need to stay in quarantine on arrival.

For example, if travelling from the USA to the UK with a rabbit you will need a rabies import license. Your rabbit will also need to spend 4 months in quarantine. This is unavoidable. 

Additionally, some countries require a Import License and birds may require a CITES import & export permit. If required, you must apply for these whilst in the USA.

For example, if travelling from the USA to the UK with a bird, you will need a Bird Import License (apply here) and a health certificate. You may also need a CITES import & export permit (apply here). 

It really does depend on where you are travelling to. We advise that you check the requirements for the specific country you are visiting.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement between governments that came into force in 1975. The import, export and use for commercial gain of certain species requires a CITES permit.




USA Pet Passport FAQs

How difficult is it to get a Pet Passport in the USA?

It is not very difficult as long as you do you research and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you are aware of your plans. You can also get in contact with the USDA for guidance.

What if my pet doesn’t meet requirements?

If your pet is deemed unfit for travel, then you will have to leave him behind. The thought of leaving your pet behind may be sad, however, it is for their own good. Travel is hard on pets and your companion may be better off staying behind.

What are the requirements to bring my pet back to the USA?

Pets returning to the USA are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. Therefore, you should consider getting a new health certificate if you are staying abroad for more than 30 days. The certificate must be in English, so you may need to get the document translated.

Can I get my puppy or kitten a USA Pet Passport?

Many countries require that dogs and cats are a minimum of 4 months old. This is because many countries require rabies vaccinations which can only be administered to pets over the age of 3 months. Most of the time you must wait 28 days after the vaccination, before entering a country.

This is the case for entering the USA. Additionally, proof of age should be available.

What do I need to take my pet to another state within the USA?

The requirements are set by each individual state. Therefore, you should get in contact with the State Veterinarian of the state you are visiting They will inform you of the requirements.




Conclusion

So, now you know, getting your pet’s USA Pet Passport is pretty straight forward.

Your pet will need a rabies vaccination, a health certificate and USDA endorsement. Additionally, depending on where you are visiting, your pet may also require additional vaccines, tests and treatments.

Do some research into the requirements for the country you are visiting. You can check different country regulations at the USDA website here.

Hopefully you have found this helpful.

Happy travels!

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