Preparing Your Pet for an International Move & Flight

Even if you’re a professional at including your pets on family vacations, etc., international moves with pets is a completely different ballgame.  There are many factors that must be considered and adhered to when your pet will be traveling internationally to your new home in the United States – many of which you need to be privy to months prior to your moving date.

Checklist for preparing your pet for an international flight into the United States:

  • Check the requirements for the specific state that you are moving to. Some states may require a quarantine period for your pet, also, some states may request more paperwork than other states require.
  • Check the requirements, including necessary documentation, for the specific airline that you intend to use for your pet’s international flight. Some airlines do not allow pets, and some do with strictly adhered to requirements. Airlines that allow pet travel require advanced booking. There are three flight options for your pet’s international move to the United States, depending on restrictions set by the airline and/or your preference: in-cabin, cargo, cargo via professional shipper. In-cabin is the least expensive option, whereby the airline just charges an extra baggage fee for the pet to be kept in a pet carrier under the seat in front of you; Cargo option is slightly higher and based on a cargo rate; Cargo via professional shipper can cost thousands of dollars plus the cargo rate for the airline. Flight options are extremely dependent on the size of the pet and accompanying pet carrier / kennel, weather conditions (extreme temperatures), and airline policies.
  • Make sure to check that your pet’s kennel meets all requirements set by your chosen airline. Make sure your pet has a blanket that smells like home, as well as a well-ventilated kennel, to aid in decreasing the travel anxiety and stress that many pets experience when flying. Also, be sure your pet and all of your pet’s belongings have proper identification securely attached.
  • International health certificate – This document must be obtained from your pet’s veterinarian no greater than 10 days prior to the pet entering the United States.
  •  Rabies Vaccination – In general, all dogs (and some cats) over the age of 3 months must be vaccinated within 30 days prior to entering the United States.
  • CBP  Form 7501 (in some cases), if shipping a pet via a professional shipper (only if professional shipper will also be responsible for picking your pet up from the destination airport.
  • Quarantine period- The country that your pet is moving from, as well as required vaccinations, will determine the length of time (if any) your pet will need to be quarantined upon arriving in the United States. Quarantine periods (if applicable) are usually anywhere from 5-30 days, and must be at an approved facility. It’s very important to research the quarantine policies for the country your pet is moving from, as well as the specific state that your pet is moving to. For more information see the CDC’s website: Bringing an Animal into the US

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