How to Bring Pets to USA

One questions that many friends have asked me when relocating to the US is how they can bring their pets along. After all, no one wants to willingly leave behind those little furry bundles of love behind. The problem is that bringing a pet to the US is not as exciting as it might sound. Before you proceed, you need to know the various entry and documentation requirements.

Whether a pet can be imported into the US is determined on various grounds, including health, agriculture, quarantine, wildlife, prohibitions and custom requirements. When you bring your dogs, cats or any other pets to America, they will be examined at the port of entry by the officers of the US Public Health Services for all types of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Animals like turtles and monkeys are subject to strict restrictions.

The pets need to be medically certified by a vet as being healthy and fit to fly first. If they are found to have any kind of disease or found not fit to be imported, they’ll either be deported or destroyed. To avoid any such outcome, here are some things you should know.

Importing Dogs

Visitors most often inquire about bringing their dogs and cats. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, dogs, including puppies and service animals, coming into American from another country, need to be immunized against rabies first. They should have a valid rabies vaccination certificate.

Information that should be included in the rabies certificate:

  1. Owner’s name and address
  2. Dog’s breed, age, sex and color
  3. Other information regarding the dog’s identification, such as markings, etc.
  4. Date of rabies vaccination and its expiry
  5. Information regarding the vaccination product used
  6. Name of the veterinarian who administered the vaccination, along with his license number, address, and signature.

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Importing Cats

After dogs, cats are the most common pet brought into the US. Although they are not required to get rabies vaccines, vaccinating them will not harm them. Cats can be given vaccines like Rhinotracheitis, feline enteritis and Calicivirus.

Flying Pets in to the US

Not only do you need to take care of the documentation but also your four-legged baby too, for whom flying across the oceans can be a very stressful experience. You don’t have to worry about your pet’s safety, since most airlines that carry live animals are pet-friendly. Still, the pet requirements for different airlines can vary. They make sure that your pet remains safe and comfortable during transportation between two different time zones.

Tips to Prepare Pets for Air Travel

  • Try to get a direct flight if possible or minimize the number of layovers.
  • Ensure that the pet is exercised and walked before, during and after the flight.
  • The pet carrier should be judiciously chosen for the pet’s proper mobility
  • Keep dry food and water in the pet carrier for long haul flights.

You should also know that you do not need to pay any customs duty to bring dogs, cats and turtles to the US. You will also be custom exempt for various other pets, if you do not intend to sell them afterwards.

Visit the website of the Department of Agriculture to know the requirements to bring birds into the US.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.