If you plan to take your pet abroad or import one on your return, please review a copy of the CBP brochure Pets and Wildlife. You should also check with state, county and local authorities to learn if their restrictions and prohibitions on pets are stricter than federal requirements.
Importing animals is closely regulated for public health reasons and also for the well-being of the animals. There are restrictions and prohibitions on bringing many species into the United States.
Cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense might be required at the port of entry.
Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.
All pet cats arriving in the state of Hawaii and the territory of Guam, even from the U.S. mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements.
Dogs must also be free of evidence of diseases that could be communicable to humans. A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet dogs into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies greater than or equal to 30 days prior to entry into the United States. This certificate should identify the dog, show the date of vaccination, the date it expires (there are one-year and three-year vaccinations), and be signed by a licensed veterinarian. If the certificate does not have an expiration date, CBP will accept it as long as the dog was vaccinated 12 months or less before coming to the United States. Dogs coming from rabies free countries do not have to be vaccinated.
These requirements apply equally to service animals such as Seeing Eye dogs.
If your pet does not meet CDC’s entry requirements as described above, contact CDC at CDCAnimalImports@cdc.gov to discuss your particular situation.
Birds may be imported as pets as long as you comply with APHIS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife requirements.
Advisory: Until further notice, there is a temporary ban on the importation of pet birds from countries/ regions affected with highly pathogenic Avian influenza subtype H5NI. See the Animal and Animal Product Import Information page for more information.
All non-U.S. origin pet birds imported into the United States (except from Canada) are required to be quarantined for 30 days in a USDA animal import quarantine facility at the owner’s expense. A reservation at the facility must be made in advance by contacting the USDA port veterinarian at one of the special ports of entry listed below. A cost estimate for the quarantine will be provided at that time. Once the reservation is made and payment is received in full for all quarantine services, the animal import quarantine facility will issue a USDA import permit (VS Form17-129). This permit must accompany the bird while in transit.
The USDA defines pet birds as those that are imported for personal pleasure of their individual owners and are not intended for resale.
Document and Quarantine Requirements:
- USDA import permit (VS Form17-129);
- Current Health Certificate issued by a full-time salaried veterinarian of the agency responsible for animal health of the national government in the exporting country of origin;
- 30-day Quarantine in an USDA Animal Import Center; and
- Fish and Wildlife Services Certification (if necessary).
USDA Quarantine Centers and Ports of Entry
All non-U.S. origin pet birds must enter the country and undergo quarantine at one of the following import quarantine facilities.
These are the only ports of entry available for importing non-U.S. origin pet birds.
For additional information visit the APHIS Animal Health page.
Other common pets such as rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs may be imported if they are in good health. The importation of reptiles and invertebrates is restricted; please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for additional guidance. Most species of snails are not admissible. Contact APHIS for additional information. All civets, African rodents and nonhuman primates are prohibited except for science, education and exhibition. These species cannot be imported as pets. Refer to the CDC’s Traveling with Pets, Importation of Animals and Animal Products into the United States page for more information.