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How to Bring Dogs into the United States for Commercial Sale or Adoption



Importing dogs into the United States for resale, whether through retail or wholesale channels or fee-based adoption, is now covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Congress added this section to the AWA in 2008 and APHIS published specific regulations in 2014.

To import a dog into the U.S. for resale purposes, the animal must be:
  • in good health;
  • vaccinated for rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP);
  • at least 6 months of age;

Specific paperwork must accompany the dog on its trip to the U.S.  This includes:

  • a health certificate and rabies vaccination certificate, issued in English by a veterinarian with a valid license to practice veterinary medicine in the country of export; and
  • an import permit issued by APHIS.

*The AWA provides exceptions to these requirements for dogs imported for resale for research purposes or for veterinary treatment and subsequent resale. Also, the AWA provides an exception to the 6 month age requirement for dogs imported to Hawaii from the British Isles, Australia, Guam, or New Zealand.

How to obtain a Permit

APHIS eFile
The quickest and easiest way to apply for a Permit for the importation of live dogs for resale (including fee-based adoption), is to use APHIS eFile. The system includes a prescreening assistant.


Permit Form
To obtain an import permit, fill out the application form and submit it to APHIS. The application requires information including the name and address of the individuals exporting and importing the dog, the number of dogs, and the date and purpose of importation. Contact APHIS Animal Care to receive the application: 

USDA APHIS Animal Care
Attn: Live Dog Import 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@aphis.usda.gov

Related Links

Additional Information

The links below provide additional information on the requirements and exceptions under the AWA, and complying with other applicable Federal, state, and local laws and regulations. We encourage you to read through these materials to gain an understanding of the regulations and help you determine whether you need an import permit from Animal Care before importing dogs into the United States.

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