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Pet Travel Information for USDA Accredited Veterinarians

As a USDA-accredited veterinarian, you are responsible for issuing official health certificates for pets traveling outside the United States. This page provides important information about the process of certifying pets for international travel, completing and submitting health certificates for USDA endorsement, and accessing and using the Veterinary Export Health Certification System.
A USDA Accredited Veterinarian has two options to check their accreditation status:

1. Use the  National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) Look-up Tool

Select “Check my accreditation status.”  Enter your National Accreditation Number (NAN) and Last Name.

If the information displayed does not match your understanding of your accreditation status (e.g., your status is other than accredited, or you are not accredited in the State where you are currently practicing), contact your state’s NVAP Coordinator.

2. Contact your state’s State's NVAP Coordinator 

The responsibilities of an accredited veterinarian when issuing health certificates is outlined in 9 CFR 161.4 Standards for Accredited Veterinarian Duties.

BEFORE issuing a health certificate it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that:

  • You are using the correct and most current version of the health certificate for the pet species and destination country.

  • The pet meets all import requirements of the destination country.

  • The health certificate is issued within the timeframe required by the destination country.

  • The health certificate includes all required information, and that information is accurate.

Destination country requirements

If the pet’s destination country does not appear in the list, it is the owner/exporter’s responsibility to contact the pertinent government official in the destination country to obtain those requirements. You will need to review the requirements and ensure the pet meets them prior to issuing the health certificate. If you have any questions about this process or need further guidance, contact your USDA Endorsement Office.

Your USDA Endorsement Office accepts health certificates for endorsement by either submission through:

There are fees for USDA to endorse your health certificate. Learn more about USDA fees for endorsing a health certificate.

Each time you issue a health certificate, do the following to prevent endorsement delays.

  • Check your accreditation status to confirm it is current and for the state in which you are performing accredited work.

  • Check the USDA APHIS Pet Travel Website to ensure you use the most current country requirements.

  • Complete all fields of the health certificate, taking care to provide all information required in each field.
    • Do not provide information that is not required in the health certificate.  If the destination country requires only a rabies vaccination, do not provide information on any other vaccinations administered to the pet.
    • If a field of the health certificate is lined out or asterisked, do not complete that field.
    • If you make a mistake when completing the health certificate, start over or draw a single line through the incorrect information and initial it.

  • Double-check the information you entered in the health certificate, paying particular care that any signalment, microchip, vaccination, testing, and treatments match your medical records or other supporting documentation.

  • Double-check that you followed the import requirements to the letter.  For example, if internal parasite treatment is required, a fecal exam is not a substitute!

  • If you didn’t administer a required vaccination or perform a required test, check with the veterinarian who did.  Fraud happens!

  • Double-check that you signed and printed your name, and dated the health certificate for the actual day you issued it.

  • Make sure the submission package is complete, including the completed health certificate, supporting documentation for required vaccinations and testing (when applicable), import permit (when applicable), payment, and a pre-paid return shipping label (for non-digitally endorsed health certificates).

  • DO NOT issue the health certificate if the import requirements are not met.

How do I electronically issue a health certificate for USDA to endorse?

USDA accepts health certificates electronically signed by USDA-accredited veterinarians for animals eligible to travel to another country.  The health certificate must be issued and submitted through the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS).

Some destination countries also accept health certificates that are digitally endorsed by USDA in VEHCS. In those cases, the health certificate can be issued (signed by the USDA-accredited veterinarian) and endorsed (counter-signed and embossed/stamped by USDA) entirely online. Access VEHCS to submit an electronic health certificate.

Please visit the destination country’s page to determine the extent to which VEHCS can be used for your health certificate. 

Destination country requirements

If the destination country is not on the list, find out what to do when country requirements are not known.

Access VEHCS  to submit an electronic health certificate.

The airline won’t accept a country-specific health certificate

Although a country-specific health certificate may be required by the destination country, you may also need to complete an APHIS Form 7001 for the pet to board the airplane in the United States.  This form may be used to demonstrate vaccinations, treatments, and examinations in the timeframe required by the airline.  Note: If you issue two health certificates for the pet, USDA can only endorse the health certificate required by the destination country. Do not submit the APHIS Form 7001 to USDA if it’s not required by the destination country.

The airline won’t accept a digitally endorsed health certificate

If the airline does not recognize the digital signature and seal on the electronically issued health certificate as official, provide this letter to the airline to resolve any concerns. 

Pet Travel Home | VEHCS HelpAccess VEHCS | USDA Endorsement Offices

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