Pet Import + Export

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:
BVI – 284 468-9108
Cayman Islands
Petite St. Vincent
Grenada/Carriacou/Petite Martinique (permit issued in Grenada)- 473 440-3195
Anguilla – 264 497-2615
St. Kitts/Nevis (permit issued in St. Kitts) – 869 465-2110
Antigua/Barbuda (permit issued in Antigua) – 268 460-1759
Dominica – 767 266-3824
Jamaica
St. Lucia – 758 450-3213
St. Barths
St. Vincent/The Grenadines (permit issued from St. Vincent) – 784 457-2452
St. Martin/Sint Maarten
The Bahamas
Trinidad & Tobago

Non-Import Permit Islands:
USVI
Puerto Rico
Martinique
St. Eustatius (Statia)
Saba
Guadeloupe

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.

Screwworm (fly), a parasitic fly known for its screw-shaped larvae, which infest open wounds. The screwworm is a serious pest of livestock and certain domestic and wild animals. It is found in subtropical and tropical climates from the extreme southern United States to Argentina.

Caribbean Islands with Screwworm: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago

Please note: APHIS VS has special requirements for all dogs imported or returning to the United States of America from countries affected with screwworm. Pet and other types of dogs (commercial, breeding, etc.) that are returning, and/or are presented for US entry, from countries or regions where screwworm is known to exist, may enter the US if they meet the following requirements:

  • The dog must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a full-time salaried veterinary official of the region of origin stating that the dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days prior to shipment to the United States.
  • The certificate must state that the dog is either free from screwworm or was found to be infested with screwworm and was held in quarantine and treated until free from screwworm prior to leaving the region.

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
USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services
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:
VS.Live.Animals.Import.Permits@aphis.usda.gov

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.