Tips: How to Get A Pet Health Certificate from the US

Pet Health Certificate for International Travel

What is a Pet Health Certificate?

A pet health certificate is an official document issued and often endorsed by USDA/APHIS, through your Veterinarian certifying that your Pet is fit to travel. including vaccination, Rabies & Titer tests, Microchip, age, breed and health conditions required to travel with pets. Many Airlines require a Certificate to be issued within 10 to 14 days prior to travel.

Pet Health Certificate Endorsement from USDA/APHIS

PawPawsExpress, a leading Pet Travel and Pet Transport Company, owner Misty Collins shares these valuable Tips:

Not all USDA offices are “Endorsement” offices. Most states only have one and it is usually in the state capital. Some states do not have an operating Endorsement Office at all (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming) just to name a few.


…The USDA is responsible for all animal and plant regulations in the US, so they’re inspecting everything from seeds and dirt to dairy milk.

Can my vet send my Pet Health Certificate to any USDA Endorsement Office?

The answer is yes. Your vet can send your documents to any USDA Endorsement Office that is open and operating.

If for whatever reason your pet will travel on a 48 hour health certificate, you may want your vet to send to the closest operating office to your departure location to shorten the “in transit” time for the documents to be sent back to you.

If you’re traveling on a 48 hours – you’re going to want to request Next Day Early A.M. return service regardless of where / when you depart. PawPawsExpress, Misty Collins.

What if I Want or Need to Pick Up My Pet Health Certificate paperwork in person?


You will need to check with that specific office to see if they are allowing pick up. Just as an example, the Ohio office did allow pick up in person (from an exterior mailbox only) just a few months ago, but now say to send your documents to Wisconsin.


How can find the information for USDA Endorsement Office locations? https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/endorsement-offices

One final tip, if you find yourself in an emergency, maybe you’re already traveling or maybe your vet can’t see you…..as long as you have your pets current rabies vaccination certificate and it has all of the required information on it (microchip number, manufacturer and brand of vaccine), most PetSmart locations can do a health travel certificate for you.

Call to verify and make sure you specify that it’s for international and will need to be submitted to the USDA for you. PawPawsExpress, Misty Collins.

Cost of Pet Health Certificates for Travel—Prices from Actual Travelers  

Do I need a Pet Health Certificate to Fly with my Pet?

Yes, Pet Health Certificate requirements are set by the destination country and airline to fly with Pets. Requirements: Vaccinations, Rabies & Titer test, Microchip, Medications, Parasite Treatments, Age and Breed. Pet Health Certificates often are issued 10-14 days prior to entry and must be endorsed by the USDA and APHIS through your Veterinarian.

How Much Do Pet Health Certificates Cost?– in 2022

The Cost of a Pet Health Certificate is between $30 and $400 depending on location and number of certificates. You can have up to 5 animals on your Certificate and you may need multiple certificates even if you are transiting through countries.

See all our information on Cost from Actual Travelers here: Cost of Pet Health Certificates for Travel—Prices from Actual Travelers  

Pet Travel to or Through More than 1 Country?

Your Pet Health Certificate is often time sensitive, often valid only 10 to 14 days prior to entry to your destination Country. What do you do when flying with your Pet takes more than 10 or 14 days to arrive? You can usually arrange to have your Pet Health Certificate for the final (destination country) issued at your Layover or Stopover country.

For example, if you are traveling to England through France (it is easier and cheaper Flying Your Pet to England through France? (Options for Dogs In-Cabin 2022)!,), you can make an appointment for the US to France leg of travel in the US and have an appointment for the France to England leg in France. This way, you have the 10-to 14 days to arrive in France and another 10 to 14 days to arrive in England.

What is the Cost to the USDA/APHIS for a Health Certificate and Rabies Titer Test?

In addition to the Cost your Vet charges for the Pet Certificate, there is an additional is $38usd fee to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to endorse the Certificate.  This amount is paid to the US Gov’t. through the Vet you choose.

For countries that require a rabies titer or blood tests, there is an additional cost of between $121.00 and $173.00usd per pet depending on the number of tests or non-rabies vaccinations. (1-2 will be $121.00 | 3-6 will be $150.00 | 7 or more will be $173.00) Additional pets included on the same form are between $7.00 and $14.00usd.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Pet Health Certificate? 

Your Pet’s veterinarian should submit your Certificate for endorsement electronically to the USDA/APHIS System (VEHCS system, Vet Export Health Certificate system) at the the appointment

The USDA/APHIS systems takes between1-3 Business days to process.

You should include payment of an Overnight delivery fee.  If you pay this fee, the USDA/APHIS will “overnight” the certificate back to you via USPS, FedEx or DHL.

Most countries require the Pet Health Certificate be issued within 10 days of your Pet’s Travel.

How Long are Pet Health Certificates Valid for? 

Most countries allow for each Pet Health Certificate to be valid for entry within 10 days of the date of issue.  

The Certificate is usually valid for 4 months from the date of issue.

Pet Health Certificates for Pet Travel to Multiple Countries 

If you are traveling to or through another country before your final destination, you may need more than one Pet Health Certificate.

If you are staying in the airport for your connecting flight to your final destination, you usually are considered “transiting”.  In this case, you will only need the certificate for the destination country.

If you are leaving the airport, flying out another day, traveling to your final destination by another method such as train, ferry or car, you will not be considered transiting.  This is a stop over and you will need a certificate for the both the interim country and the final destination. It is a good practice to have an appointment with a Veterinarian locally in the Country you are traveling through.

Where to Find Low Cost Pet Health Certificate Veterinarians:

If you have access to a Military Veterinarian, they are almost always great to work with and are experienced in Pet Travel and importing Pets to many countries including the Pet Health Certificates. 

Also, fees are often less expensive at your local Animal Shelters or retail outlets such as Petsmart. 

You can have more than 1 Dog or Cat or other Pet on a single health certificate. You can have up to 5 animals per Certificate

Find a Step-by-Step Guide to Your Country Requirements for a Pet Health Certificate here: Pet Health Certificates and Pet Passport US to Everywhere

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