Pet Health Certificates for Travel
When traveling with your pet internationally, it is important that your pet travels comfortably and safely, free of illness and infection, as to not spread a disease to other parts of the world.
There is a great deal of paperwork and a multitude of regulations to navigate when choosing to travel with a pet. Please allow yourself plenty of time to research and plan prior to traveling since many requirements are time sensitive and require extensive paperwork and documentation. (Our veterinarians cannot stress the importance of thorough planning when traveling with a pet!)
It is necessary to have an International Health Certificate if you plan to travel internationally with your pet. Many countries, the European Union included, have their own health certificates specific to their own country. However, If you are traveling to a country with no health certificate requirement, you will then need the International Health Certificate (USDA-APHIS 7001).
The veterinarians at Bonnie Brae Veterinary Hospital in Columbus, North Carolina are accredited by the USDA to sign Health Certificates for your pets as you prepare them for domestic and international travel.
If you are traveling with your pet across state or international borders, a pet health certificate is required. The health certificate (or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection) states that your pet has been examined by a licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian (like at Bonnie Brae) and has been found free of communicable diseases or parasites, as of the day the certificate is issued. If a veterinarian is concerned that your pet has a communicable disease he/she will NOT issue a health certificate.
The pet health certificate lists your pet's vaccines and dates of administration. Different state and countries require different pet vaccinations for travel. Some may require microchip identification which is also listed on the health certificate, blood testing, quarantine, or other specialized forms.
Your pet needs a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection specific to the country of destination and some airlines require an Acclimation Certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by a federally-accredited USDA veterinarian (like at Bonnie Brae). When you return home, your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that your pet did not pick up any diseases or parasites while traveling.
Same-day domestic travel health certificate appointments are available at Bonnie Brae. However, you must schedule in advance to ensure you are able to see a veterinarian on the day of your choosing. (Refer to our Traveling with Pets checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and the other states.)
International travel health certificates are VERY complicated and time sensitive. We have created a checklist to help you prepare for international travel. There are two ways to prepare for an international health certificate examination:
1. See the links below for the paperwork needed to travel to your country of destination. Print the paperwork, review it, and, on a separate sheet of paper, write down all of the pertinent information your veterinary hospital will need. Bring ALL documentation and information to Bonnie Brae Veterinary Hospital 48 hours prior to your pet health certificate examination appointment.
2. As a pet owner, you must know everything that you will need in order to travel with your pet. A veterinarian will examine your pet during your Health Certificate Appointment and the staff of the hospital will complete the forms that you provide. However, it is the pet owner’s responsibility to provide all paperwork and present a complete list of requirements for the country you are traveling to so that the veterinarian is able to complete the appropriate tests during the pet's exam. Any misinformation provided to the veterinarian (such as the wrong destination address or not having proof of rabies certification) can disrupt with the international health certificate process and, in some cases, prevent you from traveling with your pet.
Some documents are required to be shipped overnight, signed by the APHIS Veterinary Services Service Center, then returned all in a certain time period. Some countries require quarantines or special tests prior to travel and these processes can take time.
-Make sure you provide us all appropriate paperwork at least 48 hours BEFORE your veterinarian appointment
-Bring all forms, records, and any pertinent documentation/information, otherwise you may have to reschedule the exam (which may not be possible if you are about to travel!)
-Know your airline-specific requirements and standards
Checklist for IN-Country Travel – DOMESTIC
1. Health Certificates for travel within the United States of America does not need to be endorsed by the USDA (except Hawaii).
2. Legally, all interstate travel requires a health certificate- this is especially important for flying
a. Call the airline to find out their requirements
i. Travel carrier requirements
ii. Location of pet in plane
iii. Sedation policy
iv. Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
b. Demonstrate appropriate documentation of current rabies vaccination (some rabies vaccines are good for 1 year or 3 years)
3. Domestic health certificate examinations can be scheduled same day as travel with a USDA accredited veterinarian
4. Keep a copy of your domestic health certificate with you while traveling
5. Domestic health certificates are typically valid for 10 days when flying and 30 days if traveling by land
6. If traveling to Hawaii, see the USDA’s website for that state’s unique requirements
7. Forms and previously prepared documentation needs to be dropped off to USDA-accredited veterinarian 48 hours prior to date of health certificate examination
Checklist for OUT of Country Travel – INTERNATIONAL
1. Research country requirements on USDA website
2. Call the airline
a. Travel carrier requirements
b. Location of pet in plane
c. Sedation policy
d. Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
3. Have definitive travel plans with specific locations/dates
4. Verify if your pet will automatically be quarantined-this is based on the destination country’s quarantine policy
5. Determine if USDA endorsement is required and endorsement fees/schedule
6. Check on microchip information (some countries have very specific requirements for placement and type of microchip)
7. Some countries require testing (titers for vaccines, parasite testing, etc.) prior to travel (at owner’s expense)
8. Be sure to have pet’s complete medical records for the USDA-accredited examining veterinarian
9. Health certificate examinations typically need to be within 10 days of travel (and keep in mind the logistics of endorsed documents, office hours, weekends, etc)
- Go to www.USDA.gov
- Click “Topics” tab from menu bar > Select “Travel and Recreation” > Select “Pet Travel”
OR click direct link here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/ourfocus/importexport/sa_ani...
Then Click the words “destination country” as pictured below.
Then choose the country you are traveling to from the drop-down box (as pictured below). This will provide you with all the information regarding the regulations and rules to travel to that country.