Vet Blog

Pet Health Travel Certificates

November 13, 2020

Are you planning to travel with your pet? You'll need a pet health certificate.

We want everything to go as smoothly as possible when traveling, especially with our pets! It is important to know that there is a great deal of paperwork and a multitude of regulations to navigate when choosing to travel with a pet. Please make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to research and plan prior to traveling since many requirements are time-sensitive and require extensive paperwork and documentation. We cannot stress the importance of thorough planning enough.

The veterinarians at Charlotte Street Animal Hospital are accredited by the USDA to sign Health Certificates for your pets as you prepare them for domestic and international travel.

What Is a Pet Health Certificate and How Do I Get One?

If you are taking your pet across state or international borders, a health certificate is required. The health certificate, or Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, is an official document stating that your pet has been examined by a licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian and has been found free of communicable diseases or parasites, as of the day the certificate is issued. If a veterinarian is concerned that your pet has a communicable disease he/she will NOT issue a health certificate. Also, the certificate lists the current vaccine types and dates of administration. Different states and countries require different vaccines for travel. Some also require microchip identification which is also listed on the health certificate, blood testing, quarantine, or other specialized forms.

You will need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection specific to the country of destination, and some airlines also require an Acclimation Certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by a federally-accredited veterinarian. When you return home, your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that your pet did not pick up any diseases or parasites while traveling.

CSAH's Health Certificate Policy:

Same-day domestic travel health certificate appointments are available, but you must schedule in advance to ensure you are able to see a doctor on the day of your choosing. Refer to our helpful checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and the other states. It is helpful to review this checklist PRIOR to making travel arrangements.

International travel health certificates are VERY complicated and time-sensitive. We have created a checklist to help you prepare for international travel. There are two ways to prepare for an international health certificate examination:

  1. See the links below for the paperwork needed to travel to your country of destination. Print out the paperwork, review it, and, on a separate sheet of paper, write down all of the pertinent information your veterinary office will need. Bring ALL documentation and information to CSAH 48 hours prior to your health certificate examination appointment.
  2. As a pet owner, you must know everything that you will need in order to travel with your pet. A veterinarian will examine your pet during your Health Certificate Appointment and the staff of the hospital will complete the forms that you provide. However, it is the owner's responsibility to provide all proper and necessary paperwork and present a complete list of requirements for the country you are traveling to so that the veterinarian is able to complete the appropriate tests during the exam. Any misinformation provided to the veterinarian (such as the wrong destination address or not having proof of rabies certification) can cause havoc with the international health certificate process and, in some cases, prevent you from traveling with your pet.

Some documents are required to be shipped overnight, signed by the APHIS Veterinary Services Service Center, then returned all in a certain time period. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and consider how office hours during the week, as well as weekends, will affect these strict time constraints. Some countries require quarantines or special tests prior to travel and these processes can take time.

As you can see, the procedure to complete a Health Certificate and all the related documents while meeting USDA requirements is very detailed, time-sensitive, and specific so we ask for your cooperation, preparation, and patience so that we can do our part to ensure everything is completed before you travel.

Important Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Your Veterinarian Health Certificate Exam:

  • Make sure you provide us all appropriate paperwork at least 48 hours BEFORE your veterinarian appointment.
  • Bring all the appropriate forms, records, and any pertinent documentation/information needed, otherwise, you may have to reschedule the exam (which may not be possible if you are about to travel!).
  • Know your airline-specific requirements and standards

Prices: for international and domestic

Call our hospital today for the prices of the Veterinarian's Exam & Health Certificate & Endorsement Fee (pricing varies based on domestic, international, and destination-specific requirements).

  • Veterinarian's Exam + Domestic Health Certificate
  • +International Health Certificate + Endorsement

Helpful Checklists & Info for People Traveling with Pets in Regard to Health Certificates:

Checklist for IN-Country Travel - DOMESTIC

  1. Health Certificates for travel within the United States of America does not need to be endorsed by the USDA (except Hawaii).
  2. Legally, all interstate travel requires a health certificate- this is especially important for flying
    • Call the airline to find out their requirements
      • Travel carrier requirements
      • Location of the pet in plane
      • Sedation policy
      • Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
    • Demonstrate appropriate documentation of current rabies vaccination (some rabies vaccines are good for 1 year or 3 years)
  3. Domestic health certificate examinations can be scheduled the same day as travel with a USDA accredited veterinarian
  4. Keep a copy of your domestic health certificate with you while traveling
  5. Domestic health certificates are typically valid for 10 days when flying and 30 days if traveling by land
  6. If traveling to Hawaii please see the USDA's website for that state's unique requirements
  7. Forms and previously prepared documentation needs to be dropped off to USDA-accredited veterinarian 48 hours prior to date of health certificate examination

Checklist for OUT of Country Travel - INTERNATIONAL

  1. Research country requirements on USDA website ( -see details below for how to navigate the site)
  2. Call the airline
    1. Travel carrier requirements
    2. Location of the pet in plane
    3. Sedation policy
    4. Health certificate/vaccine/parasite control requirements
  3. Have definitive travel plans with specific locations/dates
  4. Verify if your pet will automatically be quarantined-this is based on the destination country's quarantine policy
  5. Determine if USDA endorsement is required and endorsement fees/schedule
  6. Check on microchip information (some countries have very specific requirements for placement and type of microchip)
  7. Some countries require testing (titers for vaccines, parasite testing, etc.) prior to travel (at the owner's expense)
  8. Be sure to have your pet's complete medical records for the USDA-accredited examining veterinarian
  9. Health certificate examinations typically need to be within 10 days of travel (and keep in mind the logistics of endorsed documents, office hours, weekends, etc)

Where To Begin Your Research:

  • Go to and navigate to their Pet Travel section.
  • Choose your destination country in the drop-down option to view your requirements for travel.

This will provide you all the information regarding the regulations and rules to travel to that country.

Please call our hospital if you have any questions or if you'd like more explanation and help with this procedure.