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Now Mandatory
For Pets Returning to the United States from High-Risk Rabies Countries
All Pet Documents Must be in English or Bilingual


For returning to the United States with pets, check the specific requirements that must be fulfilled by the Center for Disease Controls (CDC).  Please note that valid, bilingual rabies vaccine certificates (in English or as a certified English translation) are required for dogs returning from rabies high risk countries.  Check the list of affected countries on the CDC website.

Animals Entering the United States Booked as Manifest Cargo

A directive regarding transporting live animals into/through the United States by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) became effective February 1, 2009. The directive requires that all animals, including dogs, coming into the United States booked as manifest cargo must be tendered at their foreign origin airport by a “Regulated Agent” or “IATA-Approved Agent.” To find a TSA-approved pet shipper in your location. Visit the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) .

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection :

Who is affected?

  • Breeders shipping pets as cargo overseas/across the US border
  • Animal show participants shipping pets as cargo overseas/across the US border
  • Individuals living overseas who want to send their pets back to the US as cargo

All of the above must now go through a Registered Agent. This could be particularly difficult for someone living in a more remote city/country where there might not be a freight forwarder or registered agent who is capable and/or willing to book pets as cargo.

Who is not affected?

  • People (Breeders, Pet Owners, etc.) shipping their pets as cargo within the US.
  • People traveling with their pets as excess luggage or in-cabin within the US.
  • People traveling with their pets as excess luggage or in-cabin into the US.

For more information, please contact the Transportation Security Administration at (866) 289-9673 or the US Customs and Border Protection at (877) 227-5511.

More Information: Customs and Border Protection for Pets Entering the U.S. as Cargo
If a pet owner ships a pet to the U.S. as cargo using a pet shipper, and the pet owner plans on having the pet collected by a professional shipper, the pet owner should download CBP Form 7501 . After completing the appropriate sections of this form, the owner should fax or scan this information along with a copy of the airway bill, the health certificate papers and a copy of the owners driver’s license or passport to the pet shipper. The shipper can deliver this form and accompanying papers to the Custom’s office at the airport prior to the pet’s arrival. In essence, this will mean that the owner is authorizing clearance—not the shipper. This avoids the need to hire a customs broker. A friend or family member may collect and clear the pet without this form because they are not being paid for this service.

Check with the Airline You Intend to Use

Recent changes in airline policies mean that returning pets will have to travel as cargo. Do not assume that if you have shipped your pet as accompanied baggage to post that you can ship your pet in the same way back into the United States. Individuals flying with animals into the United States should check with the airline you intend to fly to confirm its policies on live animals as excess baggage / cargo / and in-cabin.

Returning with Birds

The USDA website provides some information regarding the importation of birds into the United States. 

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future