International Travel

International Travel

International travel regulations differ from country to country so be sure to allow enough time to find out which forms, vaccinations and blood tests may be required at least several months in advance of your trip. If you are traveling to another country from the U.S., check out this helpful guide to the 3-step process you will generally need to follow before traveling from the U.S. to another country with your dog. For specific requirements for your destination country or countries, go to the USDA Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS) web page on pet travel. Although guide dogs and other service animals are not pets, the same rules generally apply to pets and service animals because they are both considered commodities for the purposes of import and export. Some of these requirements must be completed months before departure. Certain 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 necessary for international travel 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 (NVAP). 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 typically endorsed by the local APHIS office. The endorsement fee is waived for service dogs covered by the ADA belonging to a person with a disability pursuant to this APHIS guidance. Some countries also require their own import certificate to be filled out before allowing dogs to enter. Generally import permits can be obtained from the USDA Pet Travel website or from the destination country’s ministry of agriculture.


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 depending on the country. The turnaround time to receive test results also varies and can take up to four weeks. If you want to follow up on the status of your results, you will need to reach out to the USDA accredited veterinarian who completed your dog’s health certificate so they can obtain this information for you.

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

Travel To or From Canada

If you are traveling to or from Canada, check out the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) pet travel web page. When traveling between the U.S. and Canada, you only need a valid rabies certificate.

Additional Points to Remember

Now that you’ve taken the necessary steps to get your dog into a destination country, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • There are specific requirements for traveling by air with your guide dog and issues to consider for cruising as well. For more information, check out our page on airlines and cruise ships.
  • If you are traveling to a country that restricts the import of dog food, make sure you’ve spoken to your vet about appropriate alternative foods for your dog and researched their availability in your destination country.
  • Access laws vary widely from country to country. Some countries do not allow any dogs, including service dogs, in public places. Learn what you can about the access laws in your destination country before you decide whether it’s an appropriate place to take your dog. You may want to find out if there is a guide dog school in your destination country and reach out to them for information about relevant laws and other important information to consider while in the country. Search the International Guide Dog Federation’s list of guide dog schools to find out if there may be a school in your destination country. It is also a good idea to bring your guide dog school ID if you have one or a letter from your school attesting to your dog’s training. Owner trainers may need to be prepared to answer questions about their dog’s training.

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