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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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How to Bring Dogs into the United States for Commercial Sale or Adoption

Live animal transport containers being loaded on a plane



The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulates dogs imported into the United States for resale, whether through retail or wholesale channels or fee-based adoption.  Congress added this section to the AWA in 2008 and APHIS published specific regulations in 2014.  It is the responsibility of the dog’s importer to meet all requirements before bringing the dog into the U.S.

The AWA does not apply to privately-owned dogs not intended for resale.  Information on bringing your pet dog into the U.S. is available on the USDA APHIS Pet Travel Website.

Requirements

Dogs must be:

  • At least 6 months (180 days) of age at the time of entry into the U.S.
  • Examined by a licensed veterinarian in the country of export, and found to be in good health and free of infectious disease, internal parasites, and external parasites.
  • Vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian at least 30 days before the date of entry into the U.S.
    • Dogs must be at least 84 days of age at the time of vaccination.
    • The vaccination must be current at the time of arrival.
      • 2 and 3 year vaccinations are acceptable, however if the expiration date of the vaccination is not available, a 1 year validity is applied.
    • The 30 day wait does not apply to dogs who were previously vaccinated for rabies after at least 84 days of age without a lapse in rabies vaccination status.
  • Vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis (DHLPP) within 12 months of entry into the U.S.
  • Accompanied by a health and rabies vaccination certificate issued in English by a veterinarian with a valid license to practice veterinary medicine in the country of export.
    • We recommend using the APHIS Form 7041: Live Dog Import Health and Rabies Certificate.
    • The certificate must include:
      • The breed, sex, age, color, and other identifying information for the dog (e.g., name, microchip, or tattoo, if applicable).
      • The name, manufacturer, lot number, expiration date, and validity period of the vaccinations.
      • The veterinarian’s license number.
    • The veterinarian must sign all certificates.
  • Accompanied by a valid import permit issued by APHIS, Animal Care.
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Exceptions

Dogs imported for resale for research purposes, or for veterinary treatment and subsequent resale, are exempt from these requirements.  An exemption to the age requirement exists for the import of dogs into Hawaii, as long as they are imported from the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, or Guam.

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Additional Requirements for Dogs Exported From Countries with African Swine Fever (ASF), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and/or Screwworm

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How to Obtain a Permit

Contact us if you instead require a paper copy of the permit application form:

USDA APHIS Animal Care
Attn: Live Dog Import Permit Team
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Phone: (816) 737-4223
Fax: (970) 494-7461
E-mail:  ac.dogimport.mailbox@usda.gov

For both options, allow a minimum of 5 business days for processing of your permit application.  Applications are processed Monday – Friday, excluding Federal holidays. The day you submit the application and the date the dog arrives in the U.S. does not count toward the 5 business days.

Incomplete applications or applications with incorrect information will cause delays in processing.  To ensure your application is accurate and complete, please use the Customer Checklist for Live Dog Import Permit Applications.

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Other Federal and State Agencies May Have Additional Requirements

It is the responsibility of the dog’s importer to meet all federal and state requirements for entry.  You may need to meet the requirements of the following government agencies:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): requirements on the importation of dogs
  • Customs and Border Protection: Bringing Pets and Wildlife into the United States
  • The State Veterinarian's office in your destination state:  
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For More Information

Read the Live Dog Import Permit Requirements Under the Animal Welfare Act: Q&A [Tech Note]

Contact Us

USDA APHIS Animal Care
Attn: Live Dog Import Permit Team
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Phone: (816) 737-4223
Fax: (970) 494-7461
E-mail:  ac.dogimport.mailbox@usda.gov

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