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If you are planning on packing your pet when heading overseas, first make sure you are prepared - APHIS can help.

When planning an international trip, we often want to bring the whole family – including our pets.  But, did you know taking Fido or Fluffy can be a complex, multi-step process that requires advance planning and preparation?  To help make this process go smoothly, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a few simple steps to follow – and a comprehensive website to walk you through the process.

1.) Advance preparation is key.  Each country has different animal health requirements that travelers must meet so it’s important to start the process early. Our website covers the requirements for more than 130 countries.  Check the APHIS Pet Travel Website for your destination country’s entry requirements. 

2.) You will need a health certificate.  Almost all countries require a USDA-accredited veterinarian (most of our veterinarians at NSVC are accredited) to issue (complete, sign, and date) an international health certificate within a certain number of days prior to your departure to confirm the health of your pet.  So, as soon as you know where you will be traveling with your pet, review your the destination country's requirements, print out all of the required paperwork and contact us to set up an International Health Certificate appointment. Please bring all of the required paperwork with you to your appointment. Depending on the country you're traveling to, you may be required to make multiple appointments with your veterinarian in order to compete all of the vaccine, identification and health requirements before travel.

3.) Getting the health certificate endorsed.  After the health certificate is issued by a USDA accredited veterinarian, it will typically need to be endorsed (signed and “stamped”) by your local APHIS office.  This can be done by mail or, in some cases, must be done in person.  APHIS Service Centers are set up to process your health certificate as quickly as possible – but keep in mind, we process many certificates each year so be sure to leave plenty of time for us to complete this process.  Endorsement fees for pet health certificates starts at $38, but will cost more if the destination country requires Federal review of test results.  Check the APHIS website here for additional information on endorsement fees. 

4.) Check with your airline carrier to see if they have additional requirements to transport your pet.  Make sure you know how to collect your pet at the port of entry upon arrival in your destination country.  It’s also important to remember that various U.S agencies regulate the entry of your pet back into the United States – plan ahead and check those requirements on the website before you go.

Navigating various country requirements for international pet travel can be challenging, and that’s why APHIS and NSVC are here to help.  If you have any questions about the process at any step along the way, please contact the APHIS Customer Service Call Center at 844-820-2234 or your local APHIS Service Center for more information.

Bon Voyage, Fido and Fluffy!

Courtesy of Adrianne Roy, APHIS Program Specialist in Animals - Jun 28, 2017