International Health Certificates
We at Safe Harbor Rescue want to make traveling with your pet as simple as possible. We are lucky to have NUMBER USDA-certified veterinarians, DOCTORS, at our clinic. This allows us to fill out all required paperwork required for domestic and international travel.
Each country has different requirements for traveling with pets. You can find the full list of requirements for each country at APHIS’ website. We at Safe Harbor Rescue will do our best to make sure you are fully prepared for your travels with your pet but it is ultimately up to you to make sure you have all the required documentation, vaccines, microchips, and have the correct timing for your trip. Additionally, we cannot accept responsibility for any expenses if your travel is delayed or additional requirements are needed.
Please make sure you come prepared for your appointment with all needed documentation to be filled out and aware of all requirements for your certain country.
Timing is everything! Some countries such as Japan and even states like Hawaii, who do not have rabies, require a FAVN test, a test that can take upwards of a month to get results back. On top of that, many countries also have waiting periods before a pet can travel AFTER some medical requirements are met. We highly recommend that as soon as you know you will be traveling out of the country with your pet, you Donate Now with us and start doing your due diligence for your trip.
Only a USDA certified Veterinarian can fill out and certify both domestic and international health certificates for travel. You will also need ample time to send that paperwork to a USDA APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer.
Preparing for Your Appointment:
Please make sure that you have / do the following to prepare for your International Health Certificate appointment. This will help expedite the process and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- If you are not a current client or have other medical records for your pet elsewhere, please make sure you bring those records with you or send a copy to our staff prior to your appointment.
- Make sure you are aware of all the requirements for your travel. We will do our best to make sure you have everything you’ll need, but if certain requirements are not met, you may be denied entry or your pet may be quarantined at the border.
- Be aware of timing! Most certificates are required to be signed by both a USDA certified Veterinarian and a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services endorsement officer within 10 days* of travel but many other medical requirements have waiting periods as well.
- You cannot apply for an International Health Certificate the day before or the day of international travel.
USDA Endorsement Instructions:
Our local USDA office for STATE is:
USDA, APHIS, VS, Veterinary Export Trade Services
1111 Deming Way, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53717
There are two ways to get your paperwork endorsed after it has been filled out by a USDA Certified Veterinarian. This the final step in the process and in most cases is required at least 10* days before you will be entering your destination country.
Note: Both your Vet’s signature and that of the USDA APHIS office is required within this time frame.
Option 1: Use the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS). Talk to your veterinarian about how you can save time and money using VEHCS to submit your paperwork, including the health certificate. All countries allow the use of VEHCS to submit the health certificate for endorsement. An accredited veterinarian typically does this process.
Option 2: Ship the paperwork to USDA. Use the shipping address for the USDA Endorsement Office above. Include The Pet Owners Checklist for Shipping Health Certificate(s) to a USDA Endorsement Office with your paperwork to ensure that all required documents are in your shipping package. Submitting an incomplete package will cause delays.
*The timing varies by country, please make sure of timing for your destination.
All instructions are based on the most recent guidelines set by the USDA and APHIS as of December 13th, 2021.
As of December 1st, 2021 all dogs that are coming from a country classified as high risk by the CDC for Rabies are required to enter via an approved point of entry with a valid US-issued rabies certificate. If your US-issued rabies certificate is expired by the time of entry, you will need to apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit if eligible.
All approved ports of entry are as follows: Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (IAD).
For a full list of countries currently classified as high risk, please visit the CDC’s website.