At Hill Country Veterinary Hospital, we’re here to simplify your pet’s travel experience. Dr. Erin Homburg, our USDA-certified veterinarian, can handle all the necessary paperwork for both domestic and international trips.
In order for our team to assist with the necessary paperwork, it is required that you fill out our Travel Certificate Form.
Traveling With Your Pet: A Step-By-Step Guide
Step One: Identify what the travel requirements are for your pet.
Every country has specific pet travel requirements, which can be found on APHIS’ website. While we’ll assist you in preparing, it’s crucial for you to ensure you have the right documentation, vaccines, microchips, and adhere to the correct timing for your journey. Please note that we can’t be responsible for expenses related to travel delays or additional requirements.
Don’t forget about your return! It is just as important to understand the requirements of returning to the United States with your pet before leaving.
Step Two: Sketch out a feasible timeline.
Certain countries, like Japan and rabies-free states such as Hawaii, require a FAVN test, which can take around a month for results. Moreover, there are waiting periods after meeting medical requirements.
Only a USDA-certified veterinarian can complete and certify domestic and international health certificates. Allow ample time to send these documents to a USDA APHIS Veterinary Medical Officer.
For guidance specific to your destination, consult the USDA’s Pet Travel Guidance for Pets Leaving the United States.
Step Three: Schedule an appointment
You can schedule your appointment with Dr. Erin Homburg, our USDAcertified veterinarian, by calling 512-219-7774. We strongly advise booking an appointment with us as soon as you know you’ll be traveling with your pet internationally.
Most certificates must be signed by both a USDA-certified veterinarian and a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services endorsement officer at least ten days before travel. You can’t apply for the certificate the day before or on the day of your international trip.
Step Four: Send additional medical records
If you’re not a current client or have medical records elsewhere, send a copy to our staff at [email protected] in advance of your appointment.
Step Five: Fill out our Travel Certificate Form
We recommend filling out this form at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.
Step Six: Attend the scheduled appointment.
Ensure you arrive at your appointment fully prepared with the required documents and a clear understanding of your destination’s demands.
Step Seven: Get your pet’s travel paperwork endorsed.
There are two ways to get your paperwork endorsed after it has been filled out by a USDA Certified Veterinarian.
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.
Ship the paperwork to USDA. Use the shipping address for the USDA Endorsement Office below. 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.
Our local USDA office for Texas is:
USDA, APHIS, VS, Veterinary Export Trade Services
903 San Jancinto Blvd, Room 262
Austin, TX 78701
If you are shipping your paperwork to your local APHIS office, please be aware of what you need to include for processing. As of November 2022, the required items are as follows:
- A self-addressed pre-paid express return shipping label (see instructions below for preparing the shipping label). We will use the label to return your endorsed health certificate to you.
- Be sure you include all original documents required by your destination country.
- International Health Certificate (filled out by a certified USDA veterinarian)
- Vaccination certificates (if vaccinations are required by the destination country)
- Test results for laboratory tests (if tests are required by the destination country)
- Import Permit (if a permit is required by the destination country).
- The Pet Owners Checklist for Shipping Health Certificate(s) to a USDA Endorsement Office so that we can contact you or your accredited veterinarian if we find a problem with your pet’s health certificate. If you provide a phone number, make sure you’re able to receive voicemails.
- The Credit Card Information Sheet, if you are paying the endorsement fee by credit card.
While we will try to do all we can to make your upcoming trip successful, we cannot accept responsibility for any expenses if your travel is delayed or additional requirements are needed. It is up to you to ensure you are prepared for your travel and arrival at your destination country. If you fail to do so, you may be turned away at the border or your pet quarantined.
*The timing varies by country, please make sure of dates for your destination.
All information is based on USDA and APHIS guidelines as of November 10, 2022.
CDC Travel Alert: The CDC’s temporary suspension for dogs entering the U.S. from high-risk rabies countries, initially implemented in July 2021, will extend until January 2023. Starting June 10, 2022, import eligibility for all dogs from high-risk rabies countries will expand. For details, visit CDC.gov.
Approved Ports of Entry: These include 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). Check the CDC’s website for the full list of high-risk countries.
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