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411 on International Pet Health Certificates

health certificate,international pet shipping,international pet transportation,pet health certificate March 20, 2019

International pet health certificates are required entry documents for all pets traveling outside the U.S. Most countries including the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates require U.S. Department of Agriculture export endorsement. Here’s how the process works.

Pet owners make appointments with USDA-accredited veterinarians who examine the pets. The veterinarian verifies the microchip in the pet and logs the number on the paperwork. The veterinarian signs the documents and sends the paperwork to the USDA for endorsement. Microchips must always be present before rabies vaccinations when they are required by the destination. If the pet does not have a microchip, the veterinarian can insert an International Standards Organization-compatible microchip appropriate for the destination. If rabies re-vaccination is required, travel will be delayed.

International health certificates are generally valid for 10 days - sometimes less - depending on the destination country. Please plan ahead at least 30 days for international pet health certificates, processing and scheduling veterinary visits. For some countries, an additional veterinary visit shortly before flight is required.

These four basic steps must be followed in order:

  1. Microchip the pet for identification purposes
  2. Certify a current rabies vaccination. If the pet enters the UK or EU with a current 3-year rabies vaccination which is more than one year old, then additional documentation will be required.
  3. At least 21 days after the most recent rabies vaccination, book an appointment with a USDA-accredited veterinarian to issue an international pet health certificate. The veterinary appointment for the international health certificate must be within the time frame required by the destination.
  4. USDA export endorsement.


Health certificates for U.S. moves are good for 10 days from the date issued.

For Pets on the Move®, Air Animal offers global health certificate services in addition to full-service pet relocations. In Tampa Bay, experienced veterinarians complete all the complicated USDA forms right in their office and overnight them to the USDA. Elsewhere in the U.S., Air Animal completes the forms and overnights them to the client’s chosen USDA-accredited veterinarian. The service includes an overnight envelop to ship signed paperwork to the USDA for export endorsement.

Air Animal’s experienced move managers are available to walk veterinary practice staff through the process and timelines by phone for our mutual clients. Air Animal is pleased to accept health certificate clients from all over the United States.

Learn more about country requirements for importing pets at airanimal.com.


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