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Importation of Dogs Regulation

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

Importing dogs into the United States for resale, whether through commercial sale or 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 county of export; and
  • an import permit issued by APHIS.

*The AWA provides exceptions to these requirements for dogs imported for research purposes or veterinary treatment. 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

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

Center for Animal Welfare

2312 East Bannister Road

Mailstop 1180

Kansas City, MO 64131-3011

Phone: (816) 737-4223

Fax: (816) 737-4206


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