It does not matter if you have an ESA Pet letter registration or your dog is considered a service animal – if you travel abroad and then want to return to the USA, you must find out about new CDC guidelines. I will tell you at the start – that the guidelines are strict.
Table of Contents
First, let’s discuss the new limitations for emotional support dogs and any dogs
CDC published a temporary suspension for dogs entering the US from high-risk countries. This new rule is about all dogs that have visited high-risk countries for dog rabies in the past half-year. Nobody knows when the “temporary” suspension will be canceled. There is a hypothesis that it is permanent.
There is a long list of high-risk countries (more than 100), including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, Philippines, etc.
But you still can travel, for example, to Brazil and then re-enter with your ESA pet dog to the US. But to do it, you need to prepare in advance.
Preparation before the international trip
- Ask a US-licensed veterinarian to vaccinate your dog with the rabies vaccine. The vaccination certificate must not be expired!
- Your dog must have a microchip.
- Your dog must be older than six months old. Otherwise, you must reschedule your trip to wait until your puppy becomes a dog.
You may need to receive a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and an acclimation certificate. Those certificates can be provided only by a federally accredited veterinarian. Some airlines may require an acclimation certificate, so you can get in touch with your airlines and ask them if they need it.
During your trip, be careful about dog health. Your ESA pet will be able to return to the US only if it is healthy upon arrival. Before returning to the US, you must apply for a CDC dog import permit, even if your pet is adopted from a shelter and/or has emotional support dog certification.
Be careful when you buy return tickets.
Your ESA pet will be able to enter the US only at 18 US ports of entry. So if an arrival airport or border crossing post is not one of eighteen ports of entry – your dog will not be able to enter the US.
Limitations of traveling with your emotional support cat or any cat
Unlike dogs, cats are not required by CDC to have rabies vaccination to enter the US. But there are other pitfalls. Let’s discuss them.
First, even though the CDC does not require rabies vaccination, your airlines or state authorities can request it. So it is better to get in touch with them before travel and find it out.
Second, if your cat looks unhealthy and an inspection in a port of entry thinks that there is evidence that your cat has an infectious disease, it can be banned from entering the US. Please pay attention that even ESA Pet Letter certification will not help in such kind of case.
Also, if you plan to have a trip inside the US with your cat – it cannot be that easy, especially if you plan to fly on weekends to Hawaii. The thing is that Hawaii requires all arriving cats to stay in quarantine.
There are also other pitfalls of cat traveling, and you must research them before making a trip.
What should you take on a trip with your pet
- ESA Pet Letter (if available)
- Contacts of your veterinarian
- Identification documents, including a color photo of your pet and travel ID tag. Please pay attention that microchip registration contacts must be up to date
- Copies of medical records or for traveling inside the US medical summary
- Health certificate provided by veterinary inspection
- Acclimation certificate for airlines
The information provided in this article does not and is not intended to be a piece of legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in the article are for general informational purposes only. Information in the article may not have the most up-to-date legal or other information.