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Bone Voyage! A Guide to International Pet-Travel Paperwork

Small dog maltese sitting in the suitcase or bag wearing sunglasses and waiting for a trip
Written by Tasmiah Rashid

This blog post was updated on November 15, 2022.

Flight tickets: booked. Tourist visa: got it. Passport renewal: done! Just when you think you’re ready to officially activate vacation mode, you look down at Fluffy staring back at you with those big, inquisitive eyes as if to ask— “ok, but what about me?”

You may already know that pet-travel regulations vary from airline to airline. But, did you know that some countries require special travel documentation, and yes, even a pet passport for your four-legged friend? Whether you’re jumping ship and moving abroad, or you just want a cuddly comrade to keep you company on your trip, having the right paperwork will help make traveling overseas with Fluffy a safer and far more enjoyable experience for you both!

Here’s our quick guide to international pet travel paperwork. Bone Voyage!

Read Up on Rules

OT Pet travel paperwork

The required international pet travel paperwork to prove that Fido is fit to fly varies from country to country, so be sure to check the specifics of your destination. For example, countries such as Haiti and Ecuador require various types of vaccination certificates within a 21-day window before your departure date, while other eastern nations such as Singapore and Australia require up to 30-day quarantines in order to be allowed entry into the country. Similarly, pet travel rules and regulations can also vary between airlines. For example, pets traveling in cargo vs. those accompanying you on your flight need different types of clearances, so the international travel documentation might differ as well. Everything from your pet’s breed and age, to its size and healthiness, will determine the rules, regulations, and requirements they’ll need. Finally, don’t forget to check the prerequisites on how much time your pet needs to be approved before your trip. In Hawaii, for example, Toby will need his passport completed 6 months ahead of your flight… or else she could be quarantined. Yikes!

Get to a Vet

OT Pet Travel Paperwork - Go to a vet

Circle, circle, dot, dot… your pet will need a rabies shot! Before you go full speed ahead on booking those a-meow-zingly cheap flights, hit the brakes and take your pet to a vet. No matter where in the world you’re planning to visit or move to, your pet will definitely need to get rabies clearance. When it comes to international pet travel, of the many diseases pets can carry, rabies is considered the most severe of them all abroad. Additionally, every country — and even the U.S. — has its own set of requirements when it comes to health clearances, vaccines, blood tests, and microchips for identification. So, even if you think Fluffy is in the clear, you’ll need an official certificate from a veterinarian that is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to travel abroad with your bushy-tailed buddy.

RELATED: Flying with Fido? Pack These Travel Pet Accessories for Luxurious Tips

Pet Passports, Certificates and Microchips…Oh My!

PT Pet Travel Paperwork

Microchip Requirements

Refresher: a microchip is essentially a teeny-tiny electronic chip that functions as a GPS and health portfolio for your pet. While microchips aren’t required for pets living and traveling within the U.S., your pet will need one to travel overseas. Since pets have a lot (and we do mean a lot) of paperwork needed to travel, a microchip allows airport security to quickly scan your pet and retrieve all the information that they need for clearance. This is especially helpful for pets traveling via cargo.

EU Pet Passport

Originally popularized by the EU, a “pet passport” is a reference to all the international pet-travel paperwork you’ll need to travel between countries within the EU. Now, it’s a term universally used across the globe. Like your own passport—with its necessary Visas and approvals—your pet’s passport should have all the required signoffs and certificates it needs to gain access to foreign countries.

The EU Pet Passport closely resembles your own; aside from Fido’s health records (comparable to visas), it’ll have the birth/adoption date, full name, expiration date, and even a cute little 2×2 photo of your favorite furry pal. Besides the EU, these specific passports are also accepted in the U.S. and Canada. But, for all the other wonderful foreign locales out there, it’s important to do some significant research on your destination and check what other medical clearances and records are needed for Fluffy to travel without restraint.

Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate

No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll need a health certificate from your vet which is also referred to as a Veterinary or Sanitary Certificate. Although the rules vary from country to country, the most important elements of this certificate are your pet’s name and all the vital information about their vaccines (ie: when it was given, when it expires, and the name of the drug manufacturer).

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Form 7001

The United States Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals—a.k.a. the APHIS Form 7001—is an international health certificate issued by the USDA. While not every state requires you to have this form for international pet travel, most will, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it even before booking those cheap flights in April you had your eye on!

Did we miss any im-paw-tant advice? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the author

Tasmiah Rashid

In a past life, Tasmiah was either a Bollywood actress, renowned ethnographer or master chef; no questions asked. In this one, she is a shower-singing, croissant enthusiast, who also writes content for Fareportal, in that order.

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