General Advice for
Exporting Pets from the USA
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 (may need to paste in)
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
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 7001).
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.
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.
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
By Road from DC/Virginia
US 50 East towards the Bay Bridge. You will pass many Annapolis
exits. Exit at Exit 30 to 3-way-stop. Turn left (east) onto
Whitehall Road. Go .75 mile to Jamal Bay 50 Shopping Center
(just after Quality Inn). Turn in the 2nd or 3rd entrance after
the motel. USDA-Veterinary Services office is located in east
end of shopping center, just before and to the right of the
liquor store-- A1598 over the door. (Note: if you use Map Quest
or a similar program it may direct you to use exit 31. We don’t
recommend that as it is a very short turn-off from a high-speed
road and people often get lost using it- exit 30 is safer).
From Delaware and Maryland-Eastern Shore
US 50/301 to the Bay Bridge. Just after the toll booths on the
west side of the bridge, (no toll westbound) take exit 32. It
curls around and goes back over US 50 to a “T” with Oceanic
Drive. Turn right and go about .75 miles to the first stop sign
(used car dealer on left). Go straight through the intersection
(watch traffic off 50); after a SHORT distance, turn left into
the parking lot. Our office is to the right of the liquor store,
A1598 over the door.
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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