Health Certificates (National and International)

Traveling with your pet requires preparation prior to your departure. This can take 1-2 days or several months depending on your final destination. Regardless of whether you are traveling interstate or internationally your pet will likely need a health certificate. The clinicians and staff at the KSU-VHC Pet Health Center are available to help you with this process.

Interstate travel

Most states require a current health certificate for your cat or dog to enter the state. The following USDA-APHIS web site will connect you with individual state requirements.

Your pet will need to have a physical exam and be current on its vaccinations (the minimum requirement is rabies) for the health certificate. Various tests or treatments may be required by some states as well. If the veterinarian issuing the health certificate is not the one who vaccinated your pet, you will need to bring copies of the rabies certificate and proof of any other vaccines that were given. Please be prepared to give us the name and phone number of the veterinary hospital where the vaccines were given if you do not have the proper documentation. Not having this information may delay the health certificate process and it may not be able to be completed the day of your appointment. Your pet may have to be vaccinated at the time of the health certificate appointment if documentation is unavailable. Vaccine information including manufacturer, type of vaccine and date given all need to be recorded on the health certificate. You will also need to provide your current address and final destination address for the certificate. Please note that these must be physical addresses and that a PO Box is not acceptable for this purpose. A health certificate cannot be issued if your pet has evidence of a contagious disease. Severely debilitated animals may be declared unfit for travel and denied a health certificate.

The USDA considers a health certificate valid for 30 days; however, many airlines require the certificate to be issued within 10 days of travel. Please contact your airline for specifics on their requirements for pet travel. Airlines may also require a certificate of climate acclimation to accompany your pet if traveling in the cargo area.

***Hawaii has its own unique set of requirements as they are a "rabies-free" state. Traveling with your pet to Hawaii requires several months of advanced preparation. At a minimum your pet will require:

  • At least two rabies vaccines separated by 30 days and at least 30 days prior to entry
  • Submission of two original rabies certificates signed in ink
  • Rabies titer (FAVN)
  • Microchip
  • Completed import form submitted
  • Minimum 30 day waiting period after the FAVN
  • Health certificate issued within 14 days of arrival
  • Tick treatment performed by a veterinarian within 14 days of arrival
  • Submission of documents (at least 10 days prior to arrival) per specific guidelines
  • Fee payment

You are strongly urged to go to the Hawaii Rabies Quarantine website and review their regulations for specific details and updates.

You can also email them at: RabiesFree@hawaii.gov

International travel

International travel often takes several months of preparation. In general, rabies-free countries have more requirements for entrance. Some countries also require a special notarization by a USDA veterinarian on the international health certificate in addition to your veterinarian’s signature. It is important to locate the nearest USDA veterinarian who can assist you with this as the notarization process may take a few more days after your veterinarian has signed the health certificate. There are some countries that now allow electronic signatures +/- notarization, but as with signed documents, ample time must be allotted to have these signed and sent back to you via overnight delivery. It is prudent to check with the foreign consulate and embassy to get specific requirements for entrance into their country.

This website can link you to most of the agencies from which you will need information.

Traveling with you pet can be both rewarding and frustrating. Thorough, advanced preparation will mitigate some of these frustrations. Please feel free to contact the staff at the VHC should you have questions concerning health certificates or to schedule an appointment.