We at Hill Country Veterinary Hospital want to make traveling with your pet as simple as possible. We are lucky to have Dr. Erin Homburg, who is a USDA-certified veterinarian, at our clinic. This allows us to fill out all required paperwork required for domestic and international travel.
Preparing for Your trip:
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 Hill Country Veterinary Hospital 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 Make An Appointment 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.
The USDA has a great resource to help you figure out what you need depending on what country you are traveling to. Please see the USDA’s Pet Travel Guidance for Pets Traveling to Another Country from the United States.
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 Texas is:
USDA, APHIS, VS, Veterinary Export Trade Services
903 San Jacinto Blvd., Room 262
Austin, TX 78701
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.
If you are shopping your paperwork to your local APHIS office, please be aware of what you need to include for processing. As of Novemeber, 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 instructions are based on the most recent guidelines set by the USDA and APHIS as of
November 10th, 2022.
CDC Travel Alert:
The CDC’s temporary suspension for dogs entering the United States from high-risk countries for dog rabies implemented in July 2021 will be extended until January 2023. Effective June 10, 2022, import eligibility for all dogs (pets and dogs intended for resale/adoption) from high-risk rabies countries will expand and allow import options for dogs vaccinated for rabies in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries provided the dogs meet the requirements outlined on the CDC’s website. Learn more on CDC.gov
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.
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