The importation of dogs and cats to the United States is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC requires that dogs and cats be healthy upon arrival and that dogs from high-risk rabies countries be vaccinated against rabies.
Bringing Dogs to the United States
The United States is currently allowing dogs from the many countries that are at high-risk for rabies to enter the United States until at least July 31, 2024. However, dogs coming from those countries or dogs that have been in those countries in the past six months are required to meet very strict criteria to prove they have been vaccinated against rabies. They are also required to have an International Standards Organization (ISO)-compatible microchip. Dogs from these countries may only enter at the 18 U.S. airports that have a CDC port health station and vaccination documents must be translated into English by a certified translator. Any dog under the age of six months old that has been in a high-risk rabies country in the past six months is not allowed to enter the U.S.
Dogs that have NOT been in a high-risk rabies country in the past six months and with a healthy appearance can enter the U.S. at any port and are not required by the CDC to present rabies vaccination documentation. However, when you enter the United States, you must provide a written or verbal statement that your dogs have NOT been in a country that is high risk for rabies within the last six months or since birth if under six months of age. The CDC doesn’t require proof of rabies vaccination from dogs from non-high risk countries, but recommends that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies.
Visit this link for detailed information on requirements to bring a dog into the U.S: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/dogs.html
NOTE: You must meet all the CDC requirements, or your dog won’t be allowed to enter the United States. If denied entry, your dog will be sent back to the last country of departure at your expense. The country of departure is where the last trip originated—not where the dog was born or where it lives.
Bringing Cats into the United States
The CDC does not require a general certificate of health for entry of domestic cats into the United States, although some airlines may require them. Find out if your airline requires a certificate of health before flying.
Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States, although the CDC recommends that all cats be vaccinated. Cats are also subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans.
If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense might be required at the port of entry.
State Pet Regulations
In addition to federal regulations, it is important to understand that every state in the United States has its own animal import regulations that may be stricter than U.S. federal requirements. Make sure to find out the regulations of any state you will pass through on the way to your final destination by visiting this link: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/interstate-pet-travel
Ways to Transport Your Pet
There are several transport options for your pet. Visit this link to find out more: https://www.state.gov/pets-and-international-travel/#PetPolicies