Health Certificate Information Overseas Travel Where Pets Are Family!

Health Certificate Information for Overseas Travel with Your Pet

A Guide to Traveling from the U.S. to a Foreign Country (Export)

For information on traveling with your pet to territories and protectorates (such as Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Somoa, the Virgin Islands, and more) please visit

Please Note: Not All Animals Qualify as Pets

When traveling with your pet(s), there may be animal health requirements specific for that destination. As soon as you know your travel details, contact a local APHIS accredited veterinarian to assist with the pet travel process.

Factors to consider may include meeting time frames for obtaining a health certificate, updating vaccinations, diagnostic testing, or administration of medications and/or treatments.

Your destination country may have specific health requirements that must be met before your pet can enter that country. Since export requirements are determined by each country's government and can change frequently, every time you plan pet travel you will need to verify the export requirements.

Please note that airlines may have separate and additional requirements. Check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have, if any.

Steps to Obtain an International Health Certificate for Pets

Pet travel to a foreign country can be complex and time-consuming. Before you start the process, you will need to know the type of animal traveling; the country of destination; the date of departure from the U.S.; and whether or not the pet will be traveling alone, as cargo, or with a person in the cabin of the plane.

Once you have that information, work with your pet’s veterinarian to determine the destination country’s requirements, including any necessary vaccinations, tests, and/or treatments. We recommend creating a schedule to make sure all requirements are met within the specified timeframes.

Some countries may require:

  • Timeframes that must be met for vaccinations, tests, and/or treatments
  • Import permits or other pre-travel approval
  • Extensive pre-travel waiting periods

Important Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Pet Health Certificates

  • A destination country may require a pet’s health certificate to be endorsed (counter-signed and embossed or stamped) by APHIS after it has been issued by a veterinarian.
    • Your pet’s veterinarian must issue the health certificate within the validity period set by the destination country.
    • The certificate validity period (time frame a certificate can be used for your pet to travel) will be stated in the health certificate or on the Pet Travel Website.
  • To ensure there is time to complete the entire pre-travel process, APHIS recommends having the pet’s health certificate issued as soon as allowed per the destination country.
  • When APHIS endorsement of the health certificate is required, the pet’s health certificate must be submitted to a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Officer after it has been issued by the pet’s veterinarian.
    • Contact your local veterinarian for more information about endorsement services provided at each location.
  • In general, there are two methods of acquiring endorsement of a health certificate: mailing (USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL) or in-person (appointment or walk in, office dependent)
  • Once the pet’s health certificate has been issued by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian and endorsed by APHIS (when required), finish any outstanding requirements.
  • Some countries allow treatments to be completed after endorsement, for example, tapeworm treatment for dogs traveling to Finland, Ireland, Norway, or the UK; and some countries require consulate approval or pre-notification.

When the above conditions are met, the pet may travel!

Checklist for Obtaining an International Health Certificate for Pets

Download Checklist

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