Pet Passport USA: The Guide to Bringing your Pet From the USA

If you currently reside in the USA and are looking to relocate, or perhaps take a holiday abroad and plan to bring your pet with you, there are a few things you will need to do before boarding the plane.

Obtaining a USA pet passport will mean that you can allow your pet to become just as much of a jet setter as you and whilst they may not enjoy the in-flight movies or tax-free shopping, at least they get to go on holiday!

How do you obtain the USA pet passport though so you and your furry friend can go on an adventure together and avoid the quarantine periods?

Read on and find out how you can help your pet travel from the USA and comply with the rules.


What is a USA pet passport?

A pet passport is a term for the collection of documents that you will need to take your pet from the USA to another country. Depending on where you will travel will determine what documents are required and these can vary between species. It isn’t a passport in the strict sense of the word, it’s the selection of documents you require. For example, an export health certificate among others.

A USA pet passport will show that your animal is fit and healthy and ready for travel out of the USA.

How to get a pet passport in the USA?

To get a pet passport in the USA, you will need to ensure you get booked in with your vet at the earliest opportunity.

Before this though, you will need to ensure your vet is federally accredited. If they are not, you will not be able to obtain your USA pet passport from them. Most vets will be happy to point you in the direction of a colleague that is accredited.

Once you have sourced a suitably certified vet, you can book your appointment, you should inform the vet that you are looking to obtain a pet passport so they can then organise the necessary preparations for your visit.

On the day of your appointment, the vet will administer the procedures that match the requirements of your country. Once a full health check has been completed and any treatments administered, you will receive an animal health certificate. This is your proof of a fit and healthy pet that is ready to travel.

Get USDA endorsement

Any animal leaving the USA must have the paperwork endorsed by the USDA. To do this, all paperwork for the country you are visiting must be sent to the USDA before departure. As all countries have differing requirements, you should check before you go to the vet or seek endorsement. Luckily, the USDA website breaks down the requirements for each country. Check these first before doing anything!

What are the requirements for a USA pet passport?

To ensure you can get your pet passport you must obtain the health certificate and USDA endorsement, but you will also need proof of rabies vaccination. This should be issued when you attend your vet appointment.

As a minimum, most countries state an animal health certificate and rabies vaccination are essential.

Rabies vaccinations in the USA

Almost all countries will state that a rabies vaccination is essential for a pet to be able to enter, however when you return to the USA, you will need to ensure your dog is still protected by the vaccination. Cats do not require a rabies vaccination, but it is advisable to check state laws as upon your return you may have to prove your cat is rabies-free, likewise a certain country may ask for cats to be vaccinated before entry.

In most cases, your pet will need to be vaccinated 28 days before travel and the vaccination must have been administered within the past 1-3 years, however, in the USA you cannot return to the country with a 3-year vaccination. Instead, the date of the vaccination must be less than 12 months before your return to the USA.

Dog leaning out of car

Are there additional requirements for a USA pet passport?

As a USA pet passport is not an actual passport and rather a collection of documents, the requirements can vary per country. The previously mentioned animal health certificate, rabies vaccination and USDA endorsement are essential. Other requirements may need to be fulfilled for other countries though and these could include:


In the USA it is not a requirement to have a pet microchipped, but many countries do expect it. The UK and EU will require it and it does come highly recommended. If your pet was to go missing, it can be tracked and recovered.

Your local vet will be able to help with this.

Something worth noting is that if the country you visit requires your pet to be microchipped, the rabies vaccine must be administered at the same time, or after the microchip has been issued.

Rabies blood test

Also known as a rabies tier test, some countries will ask you to prove your pet has enough of the rabies antibody in its system.

If the country you are visiting from the USA requires a rabies blood test you should look to complete this at least two months before you travel. This is because the blood sample will need to be taken 28 days after your pet had a rabies vaccine. Results then take approximately 1 month to return.

If the country you are visiting does require the tier test, they will normally ask it to have been completed anything from 30 days to 180 days in advance of travel. This like many requirements will vary per country. The period starts from the moment the blood sample was taken by the vet.

Tapeworm treatment

Tapeworm treatment isn’t a requirement for all countries you may plan to visit but some state it is essential. If you depart the USA to go to the UK, Finland, or Malta, you will need proof of tapeworm treatment for your dog. It must be administered 1-5 days before departure and logged on the paperwork to complete your USA pet passport.

Just ensure that Stronghold, Advocate, Frontline or Nexgard are not used. These are not permitted and will invalidate your USA pet passport.

Import licences for pets from the USA

There will be a few countries that require an import licence before you enter, heading to the USDA website will show you which countries require this. Once granted they can be for periods of over a month.

How much does a USA pet passport cost?

As we have touched upon, a USA pet passport is not one document, but rather a collection of them. You could be paying under $100 or over $1000, it all depends on where you are going and what species of pet you have.

Some animal charities offer some services free of charge, but this will not cover all the requirements of a USA pet passport. Therefore, check the USDA site for specific country requirements and work from there to establish the costs.

How quickly can I get a USA pet passport?

This will vary depending on the number of requirements the country you are visiting has. It would be advisable to give at least two months. As soon as you know where you are travelling, investigate the entry requirements. Then speak to your vet. They will be able to give you information on appointments, costs and a timeline of when you should be completing each stage.


PBS Pet Travel are experts in facilitating pet travel around the world. If you are bringing a pet to the UK from the USA, speak to us. Pet imports are something we have assisted people with since 1989. We are always on hand to provide you with a detailed quote and can offer advice and guidance on bringing your pet to any country from the USA. Contact us today!