In most countries, the country of export and the country of import have special procedures, required documentation, and health requirements that must be met by each pet either leaving or departing a country. Many countries require that the documentation be officially endorsed by the Government agency or a special appointed veterinarian. It is best to first visit the Government or Ministry page of each country to get the most accurate and updated information.
As culturally diverse are the islands, so are the entry requirements. Some Caribbean Islands tend to have stricter import policies and procedures and require an import permit. Others may not. It is also important to confirm requirements with each country because rules and regulations can frequently change. With an import permit, you want to make sure that the expiration date is long enough for the return trip if necessary.
Caribbean Islands that Require an Import Permit:
Barbados – Import Permit Application
Application to Transit Animals through Barbados
BVI – Import Permit Application
Cayman Islands – Import Permit Application
All dogs and cats entering the Cayman Islands must be accompanied by an Import Permit issued by the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture.
Completed application forms, all supporting documents and the non-refundable application fee must be submitted to the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture. Upon successful completion of the import requirements, an import permit will be issued. All correspondence and copies of the documents for consideration beforehand (up to six months with payment) may be sent to:
Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 459
Grand Cayman KY1-1106
181 Lottery Road, Lower
Valley Bodden Town, Grand
Tel: (345) 947-3090
Fax: (345) 947-6501
Types of Import permits:
Single Entry Import Permit: this permit is valid for 14 days from the date of the Official Health Certificate. This permit is appropriate for dogs and cats moving to the Cayman Islands on a permanent or long-term basis and for all dogs and cats entering the Cayman Islands for the first time.
Multiple Entry Import Permit /Cayman Islands Animal Passport: valid for a period of one year. This permit is appropriate for dogs and cats travelling to and from the Cayman Islands more than three (3) times a year. With this permit, there is no need to apply for an import permit with each entry; however a new Official Veterinary Health Certificate must be obtained with each entry. Your dog or cat must be resident in the Cayman Islands at the time of application for an Animal Passport.
Passports cannot be issued to dogs and cats entering the Cayman Islands for the first time. Application forms are available at the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture. The passport is only for travel into the Cayman Islands and is NOT accepted by any other country as an import permit.
Grenada/Carriacou/Petite Martinique (permit issued in Grenada) –
Once you have your endorsed International Health Certificate, apply for an import permit. Visit the Embassy of Grenada website to obtain the import permit application:
Instructions for Import Permit
Anguilla – Import Permit Application
Currently, if someone wants to import an animal from the United States, they need to get an import permit from Dr. Vanterpool CVO of Anguilla. Along with the permit they get a list of the import requirements. The importer/exporter meets the requirements and has the AVIC, of the state of origin, sign the international health certificate.
St. Kitts/Nevis (permit issued in St. Kitts) –
Apply in writing to the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for import permit. The application must include the species, name, age, sex, breed, color or color pattern and microchip number.
An import permit will be issued only after the two (2) rabies titer test results and endorsed health certificate are received.
Application for Import Permit into the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
Antigua/Barbuda (permit issued in Antigua) –
To apply for an import permit, please contact the Veterinary & Livestock Division in Antigua & Barbuda by fax (268-460-1759) or email (email@example.com).
Send them the following information:
- Valid Certification of Rabies Vaccination
- Rabies vaccine must have been administered within 1 year of importation
- Certification of Microchipping
- Results within accepted levels of the Rabies FAVN (Antibody Titer) tested at an OIE approved Laboratory.
- The list for other approved labs can be located at the DEFRA website.
- Medical and Vaccination History
- Please include results for Ehrlichia and Lyme’s Disease Testing
- For cats, please include testing results, vaccinations and any relevant history regarding FIP, FeLV, FIV
Once this is done and after reviewing the dogs/cats medical and vaccination history an import license can be issued. Only pets with a duly issued import license will be accepted into Antigua and Barbuda.
Dominica – Application Information
How to Import Animals to Dominica What you need to know about Animals/Pets importation to Commonwealth of Dominica: Travelers / Importers wishing to bring in Dogs, Cats or other pets into Dominica must first obtain an Import Permit from the Veterinary Department prior to importation.
Animals/Pets Health Guidelines to Acquire an Importation Permit
The animal must be examined by a licensed and accredited Veterinary authority in the exporting country, and a certificate issued indicating the health status of the animal.
The animal must be free from internal and external parasites.
The animal must be tested and treated for Heart Worms and certified Heart Worm free for export.
The health records indicating the Immunization Status of the animal must be provided with a current DHLPP+ C Immunization Record or any other endemic diseases of importance.
Dogs and cats coming from all Countries must be immunized with an approved Rabies Vaccine by an official veterinarian stating type, serial number, date of expiration and date of administration, at least 30 days and not more than one(1) year prior to exportation of animal. A blood sample must be taken from the animal and sent to a reputable Rabies Reference Laboratory to perform the RNATT*/FAVN, and the result must be sent directly to the Veterinary Services prior to issuing an import permit.The test result must show a serum antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/mL. The test must be done not less than one (1) month after vaccination with an approved Rabies Vaccine.
An Import permit will be issued once the requirements are met, and sent to the importer by fax or email.*RNATT- Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titration Test Animals and associated documents will be examined on arrival at Port by a Quarantine Inspector who reserves the right to reject or accept the animal based on its condition. N.B. Please note that the test takes 3-4 weeks or longer before a result can be obtained. Please be guided by this information in relation to your travel plans. Processing and other fees may apply.
For more information on the importation of meat and meat products please contact: The Livestock Development Unit Division of Agriculture BotanicGardens, Roseau Dominica: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Dominican Republic – Consulate endorsement is not required for personal dogs or cats. For the commercial exportation of dogs and cats, an import permit from the General Directorate of Livestock of the Dominican Republic is required.
Jamaica – Import Permit Application
St. Lucia – Import Permit Application
St. Vincent/The Grenadines (permit issued from St. Vincent) – Import Permit Application
An import permit is required for entry of dogs and cats to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is the responsibility of the exporter to obtain an import permit. The following are regulations for bringing pets into St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
No pets from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia are allowed into St. Vincent & The Grenadines unless they have been in quarantine for six months. For example, the animal(s) were born in and have never left the United States, OR where not born in or have left the United States and returned, and have been in the United States for the previous six (6) months.
They can come aboard yachts, but must remain onboard at all times.
Pets are allowed from the UK, New Zealand and Australia on condition that a health certificate is presented. Contact the Government Veterinary Officer at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Martin/Sint Maarten – St. Maarten (both sides) require an import permit in advance. This permit is issued by the Dutch since that is where the airport is located. Import Permit Application.
The Bahamas –
Apply at least 4 weeks in advance.
Trinidad & Tobago -The Import Permit application must be completed and submitted at least one and half (1 1/2) months in advance of your pet’s arrival into Trinidad and Tobago.
Non-Import Permit Islands:
Puerto Rico (except for those who are from outside of the US)
St. Eustatius (Statia)
Import of Cats and Dogs into the United States:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has regulations on the importation of dogs and cats into the United States. To protect public health within the United States, importers who bring dogs to the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately vaccinated against rabies before arrival. In general, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry, except for dogs originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies. Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age, so the youngest that a puppy can be imported into the United States is 4 months of age. Importers may need to obtain a confinement agreement from the CDC, for puppies prior to U.S arrival. Entry may be refused if dogs/puppies arrive without this agreement or vaccination. We strongly suggest that you visit the CDC web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/dogs.html or call them at 1-800-232-4636, for more information on their regulations.
The Animal Welfare Act has an amended new rule that goes into effect on November 17, 2014. The Final Rule pertains to certain classifications of dogs importing to the United States. The Animal Care section of the Animal and Plant Health Inspections Services (APHIS) are responsible for implementation of this new rule. To obtain more information about compliance and to obtain a copy of the rule, access the following link:https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/18/2014-19515/animal-welfare-importation-of-live-dogs
The CDC regulations pertaining to cats can be found by following this link:http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/cats.html
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has certain restrictions on the importation of dogs. Collies, shepherds, and other dogs that are imported from any part of the world except Canada, Mexico, and regions of Central America and the West Indies and that are to be used in the handling of livestock must be inspected and quarantined at the port of entry for a sufficient time to determine their freedom from tapeworm.
Pet owners importing cats and dogs into Hawaii can follow the State’s 5-Day-or-Less Quarantine Program protocol, which includes a 120-day waiting period prior to arrival in Hawaii and a provision for cats and dogs to be directly released to their owners at Honolulu International Airport after inspection. Cats and dogs that don’t meet all of the 5-Day-or-Less program requirements will be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii. For more information, please visit the website for the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page/.
All cats and dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry for evidence of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
Owners of dogs imported from countries or regions affected with Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) are advised to take the following precautions to prevent the introduction of FMD from pets entering the United States:
- The feet, fur, and bedding of the pets should be free of any excessive dirt or mud.
- The pet’s bedding should be free of any straw or hay, or other natural bedding.
- The pet should be bathed as soon as it reaches its final destination.
- The pet should be kept separate and apart from all livestock for at least 5 days after entry into the United States.
If you need more information contact the Import Animals Program at (301) 851-3300.
Pet Birds: There are many different processes involved with importing different species of live animals into the United States. Importing pet birds can be a timely and more complicated process than just bringing in a cat or a dog.
Applicants may submit import permit applications to the National Center for Import and Export through the following mail address:
Live Animal Import Permits
National Import Export Services
4700 River Rd. Unit 39
Riverdale, MD 20737
For faster service, importers (or other applicants seeking to import live animals, semen or embryos) may submit applications to the National Import and Export Services via a dedicated email address:
Other Live Animals: Animal Import Centers are responsible for the endorsement of import / export certificates and livestock inspection of animals departing from, and the quarantine of animals arriving into, the U.S. near the major international airports of New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
General Questions: If you have any questions, or require further information related to imports or export of live animals, birds or germplasm, please contact National Center for Import and Export at (301) 851-3300 or email VS.Live.Animal.Import.Export@aphis.usda.gov.
Other Countries: Each country has its own set of import and export regulations. It is also important to consider where your pet is coming from and if there will be any additional countries in which your pet will transit through in addition to the final destination. Certain countries have special in transit requirements that must be met.