General Information for Bringing a Pet into the United States from Another Country
Animals entering the U.S. may be subject to regulation by USDA-APHIS and other federal agencies. Depending on your destination state, your pet may need to also meet additional health requirements. Not all birds or animals qualify as pets. Find out if your pet qualifies to travel.
Note: This site also includes APHIS Veterinary Services requirements for all dogs imported or returning from countries affected with screwworm.
Check the CDC website when bringing dogs into the United States. Dogs that have NOT been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months may enter the United States through any port of entry, and importers are NOT required by CDC to present rabies vaccination documentation. However, when your dog enters the United States, you must provide a written or verbal statement your dog has only been in a country NOT at high risk for at least 6 months or since birth if under 6 months of age. In this case, there is no limit to the number of dogs. For dogs entering the United States from countries classified as high-risk for rabies, see the information below.
Notice of Temporary Suspension for Dogs Entering the United States from 113 Countries Classified as High-risk for Dog Rabies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has implemented a temporary suspension for dogs entering the United States, specifically those that do not have a current U.S. rabies vaccine and are returning from 113 high-risk rabies countries, as designated by the CDC. Check the summary of most recent changes, in effect June 2022 through January 2023.
Dogs arriving from a high-risk country for rabies without a U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate or CDC Dog Import Permit issued before arrival may only have their dogs enter the United States through a port of entry with a CDC-approved animal care (quarantine) facility. Five CDC-approved animal care facilities are currently located throughout the United States (Atlanta – ATL, Los Angeles – LAX, Miami – MIA, New York – JFK, and Washington, DC – IAD). These facilities are available for pet owners who:
- import three or more dogs*
- do not have a CDC Import Permit
- and/or do not have valid rabies serologic titer results
* Each adult in a household may apply for up to 2 CDC import permits (Option B). Therefore, a household with two adults may receive a total of 4 permits (2 permits per adult). For employees who have 3 or more dogs, CDC is willing to assist. Please consult the CDC webpage for the most up-to-date information and procedures relating to the CDC dog import ban.
To request advance written approval, you must follow the instructions at How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit and send an email to CDC at CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov, at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to enter the United States. Requests cannot be made at the port of entry upon arrival into the United States. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without advance written approval from CDC will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense. It is crucial that all dog owners coming from their countries carefully review the Permit Application Requirement and the Approved Ports of Entry .
All documents must be in English or have a certified English translation and must be filled out by the same veterinarian who administered the rabies vaccine. A certified translation is a signed statement on professional letterhead issued by a licensed translator declaring that the translation is an accurate and true representation of the original document. The translation must include the name, address, and contact information of the translator and have a signatory stamp or elevated seal with the translator’s license number included. A certified translation service provider can be found online. For additional information, check CDC’s FAQs web page and What Your Animal Needs to Enter the United States.
Before entering or re-entering the United States with a dog, importers should continue to check other federal regulations as well as rabies vaccination requirements of state and local governments at their final destination.
Check with the Airline You Intend to Use
Recent changes in airline policies could mean that returning pets will have to travel as cargo, depending on the airline. Do not assume that if you have shipped your pet as accompanied baggage to post that you can ship your pet in the same way back into the United States. Individuals flying with animals into the United States should check with the airline they intend to fly to confirm its policies on live animals as excess baggage / cargo / and in-cabin.
For Pets Entering the United States Prior to the Pet Owner
If a pet is traveling as cargo on a separate flight from its owner and is being collected at the destination airport by someone other than the owner, it is important that this person has the correct paperwork and permission from the pet owner to process it. Discuss this with your shipper, friend, or family member.
If you have additional questions, please visit the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) webpage.
Returning with Birds
The USDA website provides some information regarding the importation of birds into the United States.