International Travel

International Travel

International travel regulations can differ from country to country so be sure to allow enough time to find out what forms, vaccinations and blood tests may be required. Some of these requirements must be completed months before departure. Some countries may not allow service animals at all and some may restrict dog food from being brought into the country.

International Health & Import Certificates

The certificates, health tests and exams generally have to be completed by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian. Accredited Veterinarians are licensed private practice veterinarians who have completed specialized training in the USDA National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NAVP). If your veterinarian is not accredited, contact your state’s NVAP coordinator for a list of accredited veterinarians near you.

The health certificate and supporting documents prepared by the Accredited Veterinarian are then endorsed by a state’s USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services official veterinarian. The fee for stamping/endorsement varies by the number of tests required for the health certificate. Some countries also require their own import certificate to be filled out before allowing guide dogs to enter. Generally import permits can be obtained from the USDA Pet Travel website or from the destination country’s ministry of agriculture.

Many countries require the federal government to review, stamp and endorse all documents prior to a dog’s departure from the United States. The health certificate and supporting documents prepared by an Accredited Veterinarian are then endorsed by a state’s USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services official veterinarian. The fee for stamping/endorsement varies by the number of tests required for the health certificate. Some countries also require their own import certificate to be filled out before allowing guide dogs to enter. Generally import permits can be obtained from the destination country’s ministry of agriculture or a state’s Veterinary Services official veterinarian.

Microchips

Most countries require your dog to be microchipped before carrying out the required rabies vaccination or other import requirements. If the destination country requires the ISO microchip, and the dog’s existing microchip does not meet these standards, contact the destination country to see if they would accept the dog’s current chip or tattoo as an alternative. All dogs who were microchipped by The Seeing Eye after 2009 have an ISO microchip. Always make sure that the microchip can be read before departing for a trip.

Rabies Vaccinations

Some countries may require an animal to have been vaccinated against rabies within a specified period of time before it arrives. This means that the dog might need to be revaccinated against rabies before the dog’s booster vaccine is actually due. Be sure that your vet documents the microchip number, the date of insertion and the location of the chip onto the dog’s rabies vaccination certificate.

Blood Tests

A rabies titer test (FAVN or RNATT) is required before traveling to Hawaii and many rabies-free countries. An interval of three weeks is generally required between the rabies vaccinations and taking a blood sample but some countries have more specific requirements. The wait time to enter a country begins at the date of the blood draw and can vary from one country to the next. All rabies titer tests must be sent to Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory. The turnaround time to receive results varies but can take up to four weeks to obtain results.

Guide dogs returning to the United States must be accompanied by a current, valid rabies vaccination certificate that includes the following information:

  • Name and address of owner
  • Breed, sex, age, color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
  • Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
  • Date the vaccination expires
  • Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination

For additional information regarding international travel with your dog, send an email to InternationalTravel@SeeingEye.org or call (800) 539-4425.