International and Domestic Health Certificates
For our established clients who are traveling with pets outside of the United States or to Hawaii, we can provide you with the required USDA Health Certificate. (If your pets haven’t been seen at our hospital yet, you would need to get them established by sending us their vaccine history and having them seen by our doctors for a physical exam PRIOR to starting the health certificate process.) Preparing for and obtaining this can be long and arduous, but we can help. We’ve put together some information for you to guide you through the steps and paperwork required. Please take the time to carefully read through all of this information, as well as the information contained in the links below.
Valuable websites you’ll need to reference regularly:
☛ USDA – APHIS Take your pet from the US to a foreign country
(Where you choose your destination and view the requirements for that country. **You’ll go here for the majority of the information you need.)
☛ USDA – APHIS Endorsement Office
(The location of the USDA office in Austin, their hours of operation and processing fees. DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS, THEY ARE CURRENTLY APPOINTMENT ONLY)
☛ USDA – APHIS Helpful References for Pet Travel
(Travel checklists, FAQs and much more!)
You’ll spend a lot of time on these sites to ensure you have what you need to get into your destination country. This is the only place with this kind of information. Each country is unique in what they require from travelers. Each government has a different protocol, and failure to follow it to the letter could result in refusal of entry into the country.
Scheduling Your Appointments
- The first thing you’ll do is schedule a consultation with a doctor. (The cost is $50) This step is crucial as it allows the doctor to explain what they’ll need from you to complete your pet’s Health Certificate within the time-frame you need it. Please understand that if the doctor doesn’t have the information they need they cannot complete the certificate. It is imperative that read through all of the information on this page and on the websites above to prepare for your consultation. (If your pet will need a rabies titer test, you can bring them to the consultation for the blood draw. If they will not need one, you can come alone. *See the information below regarding titer tests.)
- Dr. Haley and Dr. Tackett are the two doctors at our hospital who are certified to do international and Hawaiian health certificates. However, currently, Dr. Tackett is the only one who can complete avian health certificates.
- When you determine your destination country and the date you are leaving the United States, you’ll need to check the USDA website to determine how far in advance of the arrival OR departure date the exam and health certificate need to be done. It is different for each country. The only way to know with certainty is to check the USDA website listed above.
- As soon as you have your leave/departure date and the date you need the certificate, call us to schedule an appointment.
- When you call to schedule the appointment, the receptionist will ask you for the following information:
- When you depart from the US
- Your final destination
- Do you have any layovers in other foreign countries? If so, do you plan to clear customs (leave the airport) with your pet?
- How many pets will be traveling?
- Are they all microchipped?
- Are all the pets fully vaccinated and current on all vaccines?
- Your current US address
- Your pet’s destination address
- Name of the person your pet will be staying with IF it’s someone other than you
- Fight Information
- Verify the latest date you can bring in all required documents to us, which will be one week prior to this exam date*
- You will need to plan on scheduling one hour for each pet needing a health certificate.
- Ensure that you have all the required documents in order. *You’ll need to bring those documents to our office, in person, 1 week prior to your scheduled appointment with us for the exam and health certificate. We will not be able to accept any faxed or emailed documents. This is to verify that your pet has all the legal documentation it needs for the doctor to complete the certificate. If anything is missing or doesn’t meet the USDA’s requirements, our doctors will not be able to complete the certificate. (We will notify you immediately if this is the case.)
- The information you’ll need to bring in 1 week prior to your appointment is:
- ALL previous vaccine and medical records. If you’re missing any information, please obtain that from your previous veterinarian. *See requirements listed below under “Vaccines.”
- Microchip certificate. *See requirements listed below under “Microchip.”
- Current US address
- Destination address where the pet will be staying and name of the person caring for your pet, IF it won’t be you.
- All flight information, including layovers
- Any other information and documentation required for your destination country, according to the USDA website
- The day of your appointment for the exam and health certificate:
- You’ll be invoiced $375 for each pet, which includes a comprehensive physical exam and International/Hawaiian Health Certificate.
- Any vaccines, medication, or microchipping needed will be additional, individual charges.
- When you leave here, IF the documents were not able to be submitted online (that depends on the government’s policy in your destination country. You can find that on the USDA website), you will need to drive to the USDA office in Austin within the specified time frame and have the certificate endorsed. If you miss the deadline and the process must be repeated, it will be the same cost for each pet. (All information needed for contacting the USDA office and processing fees can be found on their website by clicking on the APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Offices link.)
Health Certificate Requirements
This is what we know about the requirements, but it’s not an exhaustive list. Again, please check USDA the website to determine everything needed for travel to your destination country. We also strongly urge you to research any restrictions the airline you choose may have on pet travel. This is information we do not have and many airlines may restrict certain breeds for various reasons.
- Microchip – If your pet already has a microchip, you will need to bring documentation stating when it was implanted and who implanted it. We can scan the pet here, but if the documentation or the actual microchip number doesn’t meet the requirements, we will have to insert another microchip. (E.g. Many shelter microchip numbers are too short.)
- Vaccines – You will need to bring ALL previous vaccine and medical records, including lot numbers for all vaccines, dates administered and who administered the vaccines. By referencing the website, verify which vaccines are required for your pet to fly in and how far in advance they need to be given. Rabies certificates MUST have the original ink signature and include the manufacturer of the vaccine, the lot number and the expiration date. The government will not accept any other kind of certificate.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: If any of the required vaccines are expired, they will have to be administered again. Take this into consideration when researching your destination country’s policies on vaccines and how long your pet is required to have each one before being granted admittance into the country.
- Parasites – Most countries require the doctor to administer deworming medication in-hospital, on the date of the exam for internal and external parasites. Documentation of this will either be made on the certificate itself or will need to be printed out on hospital letterhead. Please let us know at the time you drop off your paperwork, 1 week prior to the appointment.
- Quarantining – Some countries require quarantining either before you leave this country, or after you arrive in theirs. To determine if your pet will need to be quarantined, check the USDA website and plan accordingly.
- Titer tests – Some countries require titer testing for rabies. If they do, check to see how far in advance the test needs to be done. The cost of the test is $319.20, in addition to the $50 exam fee, as a doctor is required to perform the blood draw. Also keep in mind that a titer test will not serve as a substitute for a vaccine, in most cases. *Be aware that the results for titer tests MAY take up to 4 weeks to come in. This may mean you’ll have to bring your pet in for a blood draw for the titer test a month before the appointment for the actual exam and health certificate. (If at all possible, it may help to ensure that your pet’s vaccine and titer requirements are met before booking your flight.) After we receive the results from the titer test, you’ll need to come pick up the original certificate from us.
- Military Flights – You will need original copies of everything, with ink signatures. The only thing that will not have an ink signature is the titer test results, which will have the official signature sticker from KSVDL.
This may all seem a bit overwhelming. We completely understand! We’ll do our best to help in any way we’re able. Best of luck to you and Bon Voyage!