Pet Vaccination Requirements for International Travel

Every animal must meet the pet vaccination requirements against certain diseases before travelling internationally. An international health certificate (IHC Form 7001 - United States Interstate & International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals) must be completed by an APHIS-accredited veterinarian who will certify the pet's health status, conduct tests and record the results for the particular pet being exported. (The animal is considered cargo and therefore the term used is "exported" rather than travelling, even if it is for a short period of time.)

For the completed and signed certificate to be valid, it must be endorsed by the Veterinary Services area office, which can also provide more details regarding fees for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) endorsements. It is also recommended to contact the embassy or consulate to ascertain the requirements for a particular country and whether the form must be in that country's official language or needs an official stamp.

Rabies Vaccination

Dogs must have a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated against rabies for at least 30 days prior to travelling, including service animals, such as Seeing Eye dogs. For the most part, dog travel is more regulated than travel for other animals. Cats do not need proof for entry into the United States but do need a certificate for entry and/or travel into certain states and localities. It is important to check with individual countries and states before travelling with your pet, especially since rabies is a very serious disease and most countries monitor it very carefully.

Other Vaccinations

Depending upon the country there may be other requirements regarding pet vaccinations. Dog vaccination requirements can be different than cat vaccination requirements, since not all diseases are shared by them. To ensure all requirements are met, it is recommended to employ the services of a professional pet transport company, since they are readily familiar with the requirements pertaining to each country. This process can take up to 6 months in ascertaining and securing the proper paperwork.

Other Documentation

Some countries also require:

  • MAF Animal Welfare Export Certificate
  • Pet passport
  • Permanent method of identification - tattoo or microchip
  • Import permit
  • Actual paperwork that came with the vaccination (serum)
  • Pet listed on the owner's declaration papers

Documentation must have:

  • All information legible and complete
  • Actual signature, no rubber stamps
  • Date of examination
  • Veterinarian's contact information, including address and phone number
  • Manufacturer and serial number of the vaccine, date of vaccination and date for re-vaccination

If the proper paperwork is not in order, countries can and will either turn the pet away or quarantine him. Likewise, if a pet appears sick, a veterinary checkup at the owner's expense will be conducted.