Frequently Asked Export Questions
1. What documents do I need to export my animals?
2. Does one health certificate work in all countries?
3. How do I obtain a health certificate for my animal/pet?
4. How long does the process take before I can export my animal?
5. What countries are members of the European Union?
6. How do I get my animal/pet's health certificate stamped by the USDA? Can I mail my certificate or do I need an appointment to meet in person?
7. Do I bring my animal/pet with me to the VS Area Office when I get the health certificate stamped/endorsed?
8. How much does it cost to have the health certificate stamped?
9. How long does it take to stamp a health certificate? When can I expect my certificate to be returned?
10. The species I want to export isn't listed under the destination country. What do I do?
11. The document listed seems old. How do I know if I can use it?
12. The documents are only in English. Do I need to have them translated?
13. Do countries require that the veterinarian who completes the health certificate be accredited or “USDA Approved”?
14. What is an accredited veterinarian and how do I find one?
15. What if I'm unable to fulfill the testing/treatment/status requirements on the protocol or in an import permit?
16. I'm only taking my pet to another country for a short time. What do I need to bring it back to the United States?
17. I have more questions. Where can I get additional information or help with this process?
What do I need to take my pet to another state within the United States?
The documents needed vary depending on the destination, species, intended use of the animal, and mode of transportation/carrier (airplane, ship, truck). Please see the posted requirements and regulations at www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals. Click on the destination country and choose the species that you will be sending. The corresponding document will have the detailed requirements of the destination country. The testing requirements are to be fulfilled by a veterinarian. Sometimes the veterinarian is required to be accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (see FAQ #14 for additional information). The animal must be examined by a veterinarian who will issue the health certificate. The health certificate is then endorsed by a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS) official veterinarian. You can find a VS area office for your State through the following Web site: /animal_health/area_offices/. You should also contact your selected carrier for any additional documentation the carrier may require for the movement of your animals.
If the species you wish to export is not listed, see FAQ #10 for additional information.
No. Each country establishes its own rules for entry of animals from the United States. You will need to meet the requirements of the destination country. Some countries require a specific health certificate they have developed. Many of these may be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals. Some countries ask you to use the U.S.-origin international health certificate, APHIS Form 7001 (U.S. Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals), VS Form 17-140 (U.S. Origin Health Certificate), VS Form 17-141 (Health Certificate for the Export of Live Finfish, Mollusks, and Crustaceans (and their Gametes)), or VS Form 17-6 (Certificate for poultry or Hatching Eggs for Export), depending on the species. Your veterinarian's office should have the appropriate form. Health requirements and certificates may change at any time, so it is important that you check one of the Web sites referenced on this page for the most current regulations before exporting your animals or traveling with your pet.
You must have your animal examined by a veterinarian. If the animal meets the destination country's requirements, your veterinarian can issue the health certificate. Please contact your veterinarian to obtain a correct and properly completed export health certificate. Please have your veterinarian contact your local VS Area Office via e-mail, fax, or telephone if your veterinarian has questions on which health certificate to use. Contact information may be found at /animal_health/area_offices/.
Reminder of health certificate responsibility: Anyone who makes a false, fictional, or fraudulent statement on this document, or uses such document knowing it to be false, fictional, or fraudulent may be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years or both (18 U.S.C 1001).
Get started as soon as possible! The process could take a few weeks to many months, depending on the requirements of the importing country. Some countries require an isolation or quarantine period, lasting from weeks to months, before an animal is eligible for entry into that country. You should start investigating the requirements of your destination country as soon as you can. Please inform your veterinarian of your travel plans as early as possible. Their involvement is critical to the process.
Currently, the 27 member States of the European Union are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. You can find helpful information on the APHIS website for the European Union, and the individual country's “ International Animal Export Regulations” page.
The “stamping” process referred to is called Federal endorsement. Endorsement is a final review process, where VS officials verify the information on the certificate as accurate and ensure that the animal meets the destination country's requirements. Many countries require the Federal government to stamp or endorse the health certificate prior to an animal's departure from the United States.
It is necessary for the VS Area Office to review all documents that support the health certificate. Please bring in or include these documents when presenting a certificate for endorsement. Laboratory results should be an original copy. If an original copy is not available, please have the laboratory fax the results directly to the VS Area Office you are using. When applicable, signed rabies vaccination certificates need to be included.
To save time and effort, please contact your local VS Area Office to determine the best way to get your documents endorsed. Options generally include mailing your documents or scheduling an appointment with the Area Office. If you choose to mail the documents via regular mail or overnight service (FedEx or UPS, for example), please include your check or money order for processing fees (see FAQ #8) made payable to USDA. Please enclose a pre-addressed, prepaid return method for overnight mail. We recommend that you use a tracking method with the carrier to verify that the documents have arrived at their destination.
No. You do not bring your animal or pet to the VS Area Office. We only need to see the health certificate and supporting documents that you have received from your veterinarian and/or the destination country.
The fee for stamping/endorsement varies by the number of animals traveling and by the number of tests required for the health certificate. You should contact the APHIS VS Area Office in your state for more information.
Please contact the APHIS VS Area Office in your state for processing times. If your health certificate is not accurate or is on the incorrect form, you and/or your veterinarian will be informed of the errors. Personnel from the VS Area Office will provide guidance on how to complete the correct form accurately.
Contact the appropriate ministry in the destination country and apply for an import permit. Foreign consulate information may be found at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/. An import permit will tell you if the country will accept the species of animal you want to ship, as well as the requirements for your animal to gain entry into the country. As soon as you have acquired an import permit, contact your local VS Area Office.
A VS official will review the document and let you know if the requirements can be certified and whether export is possible.
Ask your local VS Area Office They can tell you whether the current posted requirements can still be certified. If the document cannot be certified, contact the appropriate ministry in the destination country and apply for an import permit. This document will tell you if the country will accept the species of animal you want to ship, as well as the requirements for your animal to gain entry into the country. As soon as you have acquired an import permit, submit it to your local VS Area Office. A VS official will review the document and let you know if the requirements can be certified and whether export is possible.
Contact the appropriate ministry in the destination country. A ministry official will tell you if the country requires a translation or bilingual document before the animal can enter the country. The ministry might have a bilingual copy of the document available for you. The VS Area Office veterinarian can only endorse documents that are in English or are bilingual.
It depends on the country. You should check the requirements from the destination country to determine whether an accredited veterinarian must complete the health certificate. Many countries, including all of the European Union, require the veterinarian who examines your animal or pet and issues the health certificate to be federally accredited. Some countries refer to accredited veterinarians using various terminologies such as competent authority, official veterinarian, or issuing authorized veterinarian.
The U.S. accredited veterinarian program is a voluntary program that certifies private veterinary practitioners to work cooperatively with Federal veterinarians and State animal health officials. For more information on the program, visit the Veterinary Accreditation website. To find an accredited veterinarian, ask your regular veterinarian if he or she is accredited and feels comfortable running the required test for export of your animal(s). If your veterinarian is not accredited or comfortable with the process, ask him or her to recommend someone. You can also visit https://vsps.aphis.usda.gov/vsps to find a veterinarian in your area who has agreed to have his or her accreditation status posted on the Web.
Talk with your local VS Area Office. A VS official can recommend possible solutions. If you cannot fulfill the requirements, the document may need revision, or the destination country may not accept the animal species you wish to ship.
It depends on the species of your pet and the country of departure. Please see the following websites for more information on importing animals into the United States. Contact your airline or other transportation provider, as well as your destination State, for any additional requirements. It is especially important to review this information if you wish to re-import a pet bird.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (for pet birds or endangered species
For additional assistance, you may want to contact a private company that specializes in exporting or relocating animals. If you are unable to complete the export process on your own or are unavailable during the export process, you may wish to employ one of these businesses for additional assistance.
18. What do I need to take my pet to another state within the United States ?
USDA APHIS VS, our agency, does not set requirements for the movement of pets across state lines. The requirements are actually set by each individual state. Therefore, you should contact the State Veterinarian of the state you are traveling to. They will provide you with the requirements. Below are two helpful websites for interstate movement of pets.