Health Certificates

Overview

A health certificate is a confirmation that a pet is healthy enough and meets all the requirements in order to travel domestically or internationally. Some examples of travel requirements are a rabies titer test, vaccines, bloodwork, flea treatment or a microchip placement.

All pets traveling both domestically (within the United States) and internationally must have a health certificate. For international travel, the Health Department (USDA) must review and endorse this certificate in order for the pet to travel outside the United States. It is equally important if someone is driving to have a domestic health certificate. If the client, for instance, is stopped for speeding in a different state, they may ask for proof of a rabies for your pet.   A hotel who allows pets may also require a certificate. If they cannot prove this, they may be required to go to a vet immediately to receive a rabies vaccination. They could also incur an additional fine. While this does not happen often, we are required to educate our clients regarding this risk.

An appointment is set up for the pet to receive an exam from a DVM 10 days prior to departure if pet is flying either domestically or internationally.

Domestic certificates are relatively easy since this is the only documentation besides a rabies certificate required for traveling. International certificates usually require a bi-lingual one as well.

DOMESTIC HEALTH CERTIFICATES (Pets traveling within the United States)

  • We recommend the exam be done as close to the travel date as possible to assure your pet is in good health to travel. These certificates are only good for 30 days.
  • If vaccines were done elsewhere, you must provide verification including a rabies certificate. A copy of the rabies certificate must accompany the health certificate.
  • Contact your airline for any specific regulations. If traveling by car, a health certificate is still required by most states.
  • If making multiple stops while traveling, the last destination needs to be the address on the certificate. This includes travel to Canada.
  • An appointment can be made once we have all of the required information. If flying, the appointment must be 10 days prior to departure.

HAWAII

Hawaii requires a RABIES TITER test be done. This involves drawing blood to test the percentage of rabies protection for each pet. This test is usually sent to the Kansas State Laboratory or the Ft. Sam Houston Lab (active duty military members) at least 120 days before the arrival date. A passing test is valid for 36 months. Results can take up to 4 weeks. Results will be mailed and faxed back to the hospital. The client will be called to come in and pick up the results. A separate check must be mailed to the lab along with the blood sample.

  • A microchip number and destination must be included with the sample.

INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATES (outside of the United States)

International certificates are more complicated and require more time due to specific requirements of each country. We recommend you contact the embassy of the country you are traveling too. These certificates must be mailed overnight to the USDA office in New York or hand delivered to the local office in Richmond. An appointment must be made for the Richmond office. These appointments are very limited and they DO NOT accept walk-ins. They should be scheduled far in advance of your departure date.

** We highly recommend making an appointment at the Richmond office instead of mailing documents to the New York office. If there are any complications or errors on the documents, they will inform you of any changes that need to be made at your appointment. If mailing documents to New York, any errors or changes will not be known until the documents are returned.

  • All required information must be provided BEFORE an appointment can be scheduled. This information is required to type up the Health Certificate before the appointment.
  • Appointments need to be scheduled the 10th day prior to the departure flight.
  • The Certificate then either needs to be mailed to New York (with an overnight return pre-paid envelope) or taken down to the Richmond USDA office.
  • Along with the Health Certificate, you will need 3 copies of your Rabies Certificate, signed by the Veterinarian who administered the vaccine in BLUE INK.
  • A check for 38.00 (made out to the USDA) must accompany the certificate.
  • Multiple pets can go on the same health certificate with one endorsement fee.

ACTIVE MILITARY OR D.O.D EMPLOYEES

We are more than happy to provide this service to our active military and DOD members but feel it is to the client’s best interest to have them done on base. This will save you time and money because the base vet is able to endorse the certificate themselves. They are also able to assist you if there is a problem at the port of entry.

SCHEDULING A HEALTH CERTIFICATE APPOINTMENT:

We will do our very best to make sure these appointments go smoothly and that all documentation is completed accurately and in a timely manner. In order to achieve this, we must have all the required information such as destination address, current phone numbers, departure date, and vaccine history.

*** If the required information is not provided to us prior to your scheduled appointment, the appointment will need to be rescheduled.

 

We highly recommend you visit the USDA website
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel
The website also provides a listing of many countries and their current requirements and protocols.
You may also e-mail questions to the Richmond office at vspsva@aphis.usda.gov.