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What is an International Pet Travel Health Certificate?

An international pet travel health certificate is a document provided by your veterinarian that certifies that your cat or dog is healthy and has all the requirements necessary to travel internationally. Requirements vary depending on the country that you will be visiting.

If you are traveling internationally, you are responsible to meet each country's requirements. Some countries have very strict requirements when it comes to visiting with pets, so make sure that you do your research. You may be required to update or add to your pet’s vaccines, or in some cases, even quarantine for a set period of time. Please refer to the USDA APHIS pet travel website for additional information about international requirements. 

When to Get Your Cat or Dog’s International Travel Health Certificate

We recommend that you start the process at least three months before you plan to travel internationally with your pet. Our mobile veterinarians will travel to your home for the exam, so that’s one less thing you will need to worry about before you travel and less stress for your pet! We can also help you to determine what tests or vaccines your pet may need if any.

Our Process‍

Make sure to leave plenty of time before traveling to obtain your international health certificate and satisfy all the requirements necessary for importation. Sometimes pets will need to be examined and certified within a very specific window of time before traveling. The certificates we issue may need endorsement by the USDA immediately after your pet’s examination, which may take a few days to turn around. Once you’re ready to schedule your appointment for an international health certificate for pet travel, you can book right on our website or convenient mobile app. Once you’ve booked your day and time, we will send you a quick form to complete before the appointment. This form is extremely important and will help guide our conversation during your appointment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an international pet health certificate and a domestic pet health certificate?
An international pet certificate is necessary to obtain before traveling out of the country with your pet. A domestic pet health certificate may be issued for interstate travel within the US (usually by air). Not all states require a pet health certificate, but most airlines do. Both types have specific requirements that need to be met prior to travel.
Why do you need a certificate for your pets to travel internationally?
The country where you are planning to visit will want to ensure that any visiting pets are in good health and meet their health requirements - which could be different than here in the States. These requirements may include recent or new vaccinations and a new comprehensive wellness exam. Airline companies also require health certificates to make sure your dog or cat does not have any transmissible health conditions that could be passed on to passengers or other pets, such as fleas and ticks, or rabies.
How much does a pet health certificate for international travel cost?

Costs associated with obtaining a USDA pet travel certificate for international travel will vary, depending on the following factors:

  • The cost of a veterinarian exam - the cost of the exam from one of our mobile veterinarians and the issuance of a pet health certificate varies, depending on the BetterVet location where you book your appointment. 
  • Additional vaccines your pets may need
  • Any lab tests required by the country where you will be traveling to 
  • USDA endorsement fees - the USDA charges a fee to endorse an international health certificate, as well as any lab results that are required by each specific country.
How to get a pet health certificate for international travel?
Make sure to leave plenty of time before you are scheduled to travel and schedule an appointment on our website or mobile app. We have same-day and next-day appointments in most locations so you can avoid long wait times. As mentioned, your pet may need additional vaccines and lab tests as part of the process of getting an endorsement for your pet health certificate from the USDA.
What are the requirements for traveling internationally with a pet?
The international requirements will vary, depending on the country where you are planning to visit, but usually include a recent health examination and up-to-date vaccinations. For more information about specific travel destinations, please refer to the USDA APHIS pet travel website.
Which documents does my pet need to travel internationally?
You will need a USDA-certified pet travel certificate, as well as any other documents required by the specific country that you will be traveling to.
How long are pet health certificates for international travel good for?
Typically, International Health Certificates are valid for 10 days after they are issued if you are traveling by plane, and 30 days if traveling by land.
When do you need an International Travel Pet Health Certificate?
When traveling internationally with your pet, you will need to have a valid International Pet Health Certificate before you enter a foreign country. Keep in mind that certificates are only valid for 10 days if you are traveling by air and 30 days if you are crossing by land.
Do you need a separate pet health travel certificate for each international trip?
Since each pet health travel certificate is only valid for a short amount of time, if you travel internationally again after the certificate expires, then you will need to obtain a new one.
How long does it take to receive an international travel certificate for pets?
It is recommended by the USDA that you start the process as soon as possible, or at least three months before you plan to travel internationally with your pet.
Do I need a pet passport for international travel?
While pets don’t require a US passport for international travel like people do, sometimes the set of required documents a pet will need before entering a foreign country is referred to as a “passport” which typically includes international travel certificates for dogs and cats.

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