International Health Certificates

So you’re traveling to another country with your pet. Now what?! Unfortunately the rules and regulations can be a tad complicated and not as straightforward as you might think. The number of forms and the amount of time required prior to pet travel varies country to country. Rabies-free countries (like Japan) require at least six months to complete the process. **We prefer to have all paperwork prior to your appointment to expedite the process and have it go as smoothly as possible**

Below are some steps to follow. Start the process as early as possible prior to your travels. When in doubt, call our local USDA-APHIS office state (Virginia) veterinarian (804-343-2560) AND the embassy of the country you are traveling to.

  1. Go to the USDA-APHIS website:
    a. Scroll down and search for the country you are traveling to.
    b. Find the forms that you need for export of your dog/cat.
    c. Print both the form and the “certificate instructions” if they are listed for your country
  2. Read the export form very carefully.
    a. All European Union countries require a Microchip implanted PRIOR to rabies vaccination.
    b. All European union countries also require that at least 21 days have passed between rabies vaccination and filling out the health certificate
  3. If your flight has layovers in other countries, you are often required to fulfill that country’s guidelines as well as the country of your final destination.
    a. If it is unclear from the website, you must call the USDA office and/or the embassy of that country
    b. When in doubt, have more documentation rather than less!
  4. We recommend you print copies of the last two rabies vaccines and your pet’s previous vaccination summary. Often countries require at least the latest rabies certificate. Even if they don’t, it’s always safer to have documentation.
  5. We also recommend that you have documentation of the date of microchip implantation. This can be an old invoice, or ask for a signed document.
  6. We highly recommend that you call the USDA office state vet and the embassy of your country once you have all your documents together to make certain you are not missing anything!


  7. *****ALL international health certificates MUST be signed by the state veterinarian in RICHMOND, VA. You either need to schedule an appointment or have the papers Fed-ex-ed. Almost all forms must be filled out within 10 days or less of travel.*****

    USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services Area Office at Richmond, Virginia is responsible for the Following states: Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Virginia. Contact information: 400 North 8th Street Suite 726, Richmond, VA 23219; Phone: (804) 343-2560, Fax: (804) 343-2599

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I always appreciate the friendliness and helpful attitudes of the support staff at T&C. They are polite and knowledgeable, and very pleasant in handling our dog who is old and blind.