A feline Nero surveys his dominion in Rome's Colosseum!
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE ADVISORY!
If your pet has parasites of any kind, he/she cannot receive a health certificate to legally travel! Be sure to schedule a visit to the vet NO LESS THAN THREE WEEKS before your trip to test and treat for parasites!
Many countries (as well as the state of Hawaii) require blood tests that can take up to three months to process. ESPECIALLY FOR TRAVEL TO ISLANDS (for example: Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Great Britain), YOU MUST CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UPON KNOWING YOUR TRAVEL PLANS. Do NOT wait until the last minute to research requirements for your destination!
If you are a planning an overseas vacation with your pet, there are many things to do in advance to ensure that all goes well. Here in Miami, many of our residents are citizens of the world and enjoy traveling with their pets. If you plan to do this, here is a rundown of the many details you will need to get in order.
1) Research Health Requirements, restrictions and needed documentation for your destination
Every country has different laws and requirements regarding the import of pets. All countries require an international health certificate which we will discuss at length a bit later. Additionally, some countries require import permits, and blood tests such as titers to ascertain the effectiveness of your pet’s rabies vaccine. Some require specific microchips, while others still have mandatory six month quarantines for animals entering the country. Since every country is unique in their requirements, it is imperative that you do your research well in advance of your trip. A rabies titer, for instance, may take as long as three months to show a level of immunity that meets a country’s specifications. Please understand that rules and regulations change constantly and every country is different. For an extensive list of rules pertaining to traveling internationally with pets, please go to www.Pettravel.com. Click on Pet Immigration Information, then enter your destination in the field above International Pet Travel. You will find all the information and forms you need to bring your pet into that country, with the exception of the APHIS 7001 (International Health Certificate) form that you will obtain from your veterinarian.
2) Call or contact the Consulate of the country to which you are traveling
Since regulations change frequently, it is wise contact the consulate of the country of your destination to confirm that you have all of the forms and information you will need.
3) Call the Airline with which you are traveling
Just like countries, every airline has their own set rules, limitations and regulations. Most airlines have very specific requirements regarding the size, dimensions and materials of approved pet carriers. Very few international airlines allow pets in the passenger section of the aircraft, and will insist your pet fly in the cargo section. While some airlines advertise a pet friendly passenger cabin, they may only allow one pet in the passenger section per flight. Contacting the airlines in advance can help ensure that your pet rides in the cabin. Some airlines have specific requirements regarding how many days prior to flight the health certificate can be written.
4) Schedule a veterinary visit
To travel internationally, pets need an APHIS 7001 form, otherwise known as an International Health Certificate. Please be sure the Veterinarian you are seeing is licensed to issue these forms. Drs. Kupkee and Rose meet these requirements. Please bring all of the necessary forms you obtained from the consulateas well as PetTravel.com, EXCEPT the health certificate to this visit. You will also need to bring the exact address of where you will be staying once you reach your destination. A Comprehensive Physical Exam and Fecal Test for intestinal parasites must be performed at this visit, even if your pet has had these tests recently. Please understand that the USDA requires these tests and it is illegal for veterinarians to skip them for any reason. Your pet must be up to date on all vaccines as per the USDA. Veterinarians cannot issue health certificates to animals that are unwell or test positive for intestinal parasites. If your pet has had vaccinations elsewhere, you must bring proof of these vaccinations as well. Without this documentation your pet must be revaccinated or a veterinarian cannot issue a health certificate. The person who will be traveling with the pet must be listed on the Health Certificate with their current address and phone number. If you are sending a third party to the veterinary clinic, please make sure they have this information with them. When the form is completed, the veterinarian will sign it and keep a copy for your pet’s records. While at your veterinarian it is important to make sure your pet's microchip is functioning properly or have one implanted. Remember to check with your destination country regarding any specific requirements regarding the type of microchip. Also, it is vital that you make sure your pet's microchip information is up to date. We strongly recommend purchasing ID tags or an embroidered collar with your current contact information in the event you get separated from your pet while traveling.
But Wait....There’s More!
5) Get State Veterinarian USDA Endorsement on documents
Now that you have your completed APHIS 7001 form (International Health Certificate) you must bring your form and supporting documents to the USDA office to be endorsed by a USDA veterinarian. Their office is located at : 6300 NW 36th Street (on Perimeter Road), Miami, FL 33122 and is open for health certificate endorsement Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 11:30 am and 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm. You can get more information about this office including directions at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/states/maic_info.html You MUST have an appointment to get this endorsement. Please call (305) 876-2200 for an appointment time. DO NOT bring your pet to this appointment. As of this writing, the cost of the endorsement is $35 for 1 pet.
Some countries require additional forms to be filled out at their consulate office. This is a good time to make sure you have all the additional documentation you may need. Double check Pettravel.com to make sure all of your documents are in order.
If you are driving to Canada or Mexico, you must have APHIS 7001 form (International Health Certificate) as well as any other documents required by those countries.
If all of this sounds like a convoluted, expensive, aggravating pain in the neck...well...it is. While some countries issue Pet Passports to animals who travel back and forth on a regular basis, many do not. A final word of advice is to make sure you really want to do this. If the answer is yes, plan ahead, be patient, and think about how much fun you’ll have when you get there!
Just One More Thing...
Be sure to research what you need to do in order to get your pet back to the US. Depending on the country and the length of your stay, you may need to jump through a similar set of hoops to come home.