General Advice for
Exporting Pets from the United States
1. Cats and dogs need to meet
country-specific requirements. If you transit one country on
your way you MAY (or not) have to meet requirements of the
transit country as well as those of the country of destination.
Your veterinarian and USDA can supply information and assistance
in the process, but the pet owner is ultimately responsible to
ensure requirements are met. Some travelers find that companies
which specialize in pet shipping are useful.
2. Pets may need a microchip and always require a current rabies
vaccination. Other tests, vaccinations and treatments may be
required. Individual countries may have timing requirements for
tests and vaccinations that vary from other countries. It may
take six months or longer to prepare an animal for export to
some countries. Usually this information will be put onto some
type of health certificate or certificate of veterinary
inspection, issued by a veterinarian. Some countries have their
own health certificate they want to be used for pets (the
European Union nations, South Africa, Japan, and others). These
certificates may be available online, directly from a ministry
in the country, from an embassy office, or may require an
application for an entry permit to obtain. Most countries do not
have their own health certificate form. Most veterinarians use
the USDA form “APHIS 7001, United States Interstate and
International Certificate of Health Examination for Small
Animals”; it is a numbered, controlled form issued direct to
veterinarians from USDA-APHIS-VS.
3. Regulations and health certificate forms for many countries
may be found at
These regulations are the most
recent ones supplied to USDA by officials in other countries.
The requirements are NOT listed for every country. You may wish
to check a commercial site, such as
4. You will need to work with a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian who
will do the required health exams, draw any blood samples,
administer vaccinations and treatments and prepare a health
certificate to suit both the country & specific airline. In some
countries such work must be done by an official,
government-salaried veterinarian; in the United States, private
practitioners are accredited by the US Department of Agriculture
to perform these functions. All private practitioners are
licensed by the state they practice in, but NOT all are
USDA-Accredited to do export work. Our office uses a database
that allows us to tell if an individual practitioner is
USDA-Accredited. The hospital or practice does not receive USDA
status. We recommend that the traveler ask their regular
veterinarian if they are USDA-Accredited. If they are not, ask
for a referral to a nearby USDA-Accredited veterinarian. This
improves cooperation of sharing of records needed for travel. A
very few countries specifically state that USDA Accreditation
and USDA endorsement of the documents are not required. Also,
there are special arrangements by some countries for family pets
of US military members.
5. You will need to discuss with your veterinarian who will be
responsible for obtaining the necessary forms (most are
available online at the address above, but not the APHIS Form
6. You will also need to contact the airline your pet is flying
on to find out if there are any special requirements. Speak to
the airline CARGO personnel (even if pet is flying in-cabin) at
the airport you will be leaving from. Believe it or not, some
airlines vary their policies between airports. Record their
names & save the info. Will your pet (cat or small dog) travel
in the cabin with you, or will they travel in the cargo hold?
Does the airline require any additional paperwork? These are the
kind of questions you want answered. For travelers to the
European Union, some airlines will want to see a copy of an
APHIS 7001, the health certificate form used for pets to Europe
before the present EU forms were issued. We suggest
veterinarians issue both an APHIS 7001 and an EU certificate
“just in case.”
7. The health exams and certificates for domestic travel should
be done within 10 days of travel, as a general guide. Some
countries & airlines may be more restrictive, so look on YOUR
airline’s website or call the CARGO section.
8. After your veterinarian has prepared the health certificate
it needs to come to a USDA Veterinary Services Area office to be
endorsed. Endorsement means that USDA places a signature, seal
or stamp on the documents attesting that the USDA Accredited
veterinarian is approved to do export document work. There are
Area offices in Annapolis, Maryland, Richmond, Virginia and most
state capitols. You may use one that is most convenient for you.
This information applies to the Area office in Annapolis. There
are minor differences between offices (office hours, scheduling,
9. You can bring your documents to our Area office in Annapolis
in person or you can send them to us. You MUST call and make an
appointment so we will have a Veterinary Medical Officer in the
office to sign your documents. Our veterinarians have multiple
duties in the three state/district area we cover and we want to
save you a wasted trip. Our number for appointments is
410-349-9708; whoever answers will be able to make the
appointment for you. Typically, it takes 20-30 minutes to
process your paperwork.
10. If you send the documents to us, use an express service (UPS
or FEDEX). Surface mail is not recommended unless you are sure
about timelines. Include a prepaid return label so we can send
the documents back. Provide phone numbers where we can reach
you. Often there are minor corrections we can make if we can
contact you. We will process and send back your documents no
later than the business day after we receive them, unless there
are problems and we can’t reach you.
11. We need to have the following documents presented to process
your health certificates--if time is short, we suggest you or
your veterinarian fax for initial review (301-261-8113),
advising us by phone you’re doing so.
A. Health certificates (originals)
to be endorsed
B. Copies of the current rabies
vaccination certificates for each animal (and rabies titer
results for the few countries where required).
C. Check, money order, credit card
info to pay the USDA user fee. The fee varies with the country
of destination, number of tests required and number of animals.
Ask about the fee in advance; the minimum is $35 and increases
each October. Checks and money orders should be made payable to
USDA. We do not accept cash.
D. Prepaid, return label (we prefer
you include the envelope) if you express documents to us.
For express service:
1598 Whitehall Road, Suite 5
Annapolis, MD 21409
13. If you have any additional questions, please call us at
410-349-9708 or 301-261-8072. The members of our staff are here
to serve you.
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Regulations and Health
Certificate Forms for Different Countries