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travel guides

Traveling with Pets and Wildlife
» Introduction  
Guide Sections ...
  • Introduction
  • General Customs
  • Customs Duty
  • Purebred Animals
  • Birds
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Vaccination
  • Monkeys
  • Turtles
  • Wildlife
  • Game: Birds & Other
  • Endangered Species
Travelers frequently inquire about taking their pets with them to the United States. All such importations are subject to health, quarantine, agriculture, wildlife, and customs requirements and prohibitions. Pets, except for pet birds, taken out of the United States and returned are subject to the same requirements as those entering for the first time. Returning U.S. origin pet birds are subject to different import restrictions than pet birds of non-U.S. origin entering the United States for the first time. For more information on importing pet birds into the United States, refer to Section 5: Birds of this guide.

Sadly, pets excluded from entry into the United States must either be exported or destroyed. While awaiting disposition, pets will be detained at the owner's expense at the port of arrival.

The U.S. Public Health Service requires that pet dogs and cats brought into this country be examined at the first port of entry for evidence of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Dogs coming from areas not free of rabies must be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate. Turtles are subject to certain restrictions, and monkeys may not be imported as pets under any circumstances.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned with the importation, trade, sale, and taking of wildlife and with protecting endangered plant and animal species. Some wildlife species of dogs, cats, turtles, reptiles, and birds, although imported as pets, may be listed as endangered. Endangered and threatened animal and plant wildlife, migratory birds, marine mammals, and certain injurious wildlife may not be imported without special federal permits. Sportsmen will find the section on wildlife of particular interest, since game birds and animals are subject to special entry requirements.

We also suggest that you also check with state, county, and municipal authorities for local restrictions on importing pets.

For information on requirements of the country into which you will take your pet, write to that country's embassy in Washington, DC, or to its nearest consular office.

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Data Source: US Customs Service.