Travel with Pets from US to JAPAN

Pets entering from the US will have Quarantine of up to 12 hours if you follow the Requirements in this Guide.  If the requirements are not met, your pet will be refused or quarantined for up to 180 days. Pets are defined as: Domestic Dogs, Cats and Ferrets.

Exception for Hawaii and Guam

No rabies vaccination or titer test is required if your pet was born in or resided in Hawaii or Guam for a period of not less than 6 months. All other requirements must be met, and your pet will have only up to 12 hour Quarantine

Here is a FLOWCHART OF THE STEPS all the details are below: 

Step 1  SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A USDA ACCREDITED VETERINARIAN.

1.  Find a USDA Accredited Veterinarian in your state at the USDA/APHIS Portal Here.

You may need more than one appointment for your pet such as boosters  and 2nd dosage or to wait for a Rabies/Titer test results.

Your Accredited Veterinarian will ensure the following requirements are in the Health Certificate (APHIS 7001 may be used). You may need more than one appointment for your pet such as boosters  and 2nd dosage or to wait for a Rabies/Titer test results. Your Accredited Veterinarian will ensure the following requirements are in the Health Certificate:

2.  Your Pet Must Have a Microchip and Vaccinations.

A.  All Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets must have a microchip implanted. We recommend your pet have a microchip in the standard ISO compliant microchip format. Most country inspection services; veterinarians and animal shelters word-wide use the ISO standard.

ISO Standard Microchip? 

ISO compliant (11784 and 11785) microchips are 15 digits long.  The pet’s microchip ISO compatibility can be confirmed with the microchip manufacturer.

Not an ISO Standard Microchip? 

If the pet does not have an ISO compliant microchip:

The pet will need to travel with a microchip reader that can read the microchip OR contact the Veterinary Officials at the intended port of arrival to verify that they have a reader capable of reading the pet’s microchip.

OR

If a non-ISO compatible microchip was previously implanted and can still be read, then the Veterinarian can implant an ISO-compatible microchip in addition to the non-ISO one the pet currently has.

The number and the date of implantation of both microchips must be documented on the Health Certificate.

When recording the “Date of implantation and/or reading [dd/mm/yyyy]” of the microchip/transponder on the health certificate, IT MUST BE ON OR BEFORE THE DATE OF THE PRIMARY RABIES VACCINATION. If your pet was vaccinated for rabies before the microchip was implanted, you pet must be revaccinated. 

B.  Required Vaccinations:

For dogs: Distemper, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parvovirus disease, and Rabies.

For cats: Feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, feline panleukopenia, and Rabies

C.  Rabies Vaccination is Mandatory

1)  Pets must be vaccinated for Rabies.  Your pet must be at least 91 days old.   This information is included in the pet’s microchip. If your pet was vaccinated for rabies before the microchip was implanted, you pet must be revaccinated.  The Rabies vaccine MUST occur the same day or after the microchip implant.

2) 1st Vaccination and 30 Day Waiting Period

After the 1st or “primary vaccination”, you must wait for 30 days after the Primary Rabies vaccination.

What is a “Primary” Rabies vaccination? 

A rabies vaccination is considered a primary vaccination by Japan when:

It is the first vaccination given the same day or after microchip implantation

OR

The previous rabies vaccination was expired when the latest vaccination was given.

If you pet has had previous vaccinations for Rabies that are now expired, another can be administered, and it is considered “primary”, and you must wait the 30 days from this subsequent vaccination.

3) 2nd Vaccination Between 30 days after the 1st or primary vaccination and before it expires your pet must receive its 2nd vaccination.  Rabies vaccination that are valid for 1 or 2 years are acceptable.

4)  Rabies Antibody Test. Your pet must have a serum blood sample test.  This test sample is then sent to an approved laboratory and tested.  It is best to have the sample taken the same day as the 2nd vaccination, when possible.

5) 180 Day Waiting Period.  Dogs and cats are required to undergo a wait of at least 180 days between the date the sample is collected for the rabies titer test and the date the animal arrives in Japan. Your Veterinarian will forward the sample to an Approved Laboratories for the Rabies Titer Test. 

Why wait 180 after a Rabies Titer Test Vaccination? 

180 days corresponds to the incubation period for the disease and the test evaluates the level of rabies antibodies.   Animals microchipped before or on the day of the 1st vaccination, the blood sample may be collected on the date of 2nd vaccination or any day until the end of the effective period of the 2nd vaccination.  The date of the blood draw is day zero. 

During the 180 Day Waiting Period complete the remaining Steps:

STEP 2  ADVANCE NOTIFICATION. 

At least 40 days prior to entry to Japan send an Advance Notification to Animal Quarantine Service (AQS).via: NACCS System (Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidation System),fax or regular mail.  

1.  Select the correct form:

Form: Advance Notification for Import of DOGS

Form:  Advance Notification for Import of CATS

2.  When sending your Advance Notification to Animal Quarantine Service you will select your intended port of entry.

Ports of Entry of Entry for Cats or Dogs

Airports:

Narita International Airport, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), New Chitose Airport, Chubu International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Kitakyushu Airport, Fukuoka Airport, Kagoshima Airport or Naha Airport. 

SeaPorts:

Tomakomai Seaport, Keihin Seaport (Tokyo, Yokohama), Nagoya Seaport, Hanshin Seaport (Osaka, Hyogo), Kanmon Seaport, Hakata Seaport, Kagoshima Seaport, Naha Seaport.

3.  Japan’s Animal Quarantine Station (AQS) will return an Approval of Notification.  AQS may request a change of the date or place of arrival.  This is made if the quarantine station is at capacity for your chosen dates or port.

TIP:  Try to book a direct flight for your pet.  If your pet is not “booked through”, direct, from the US to Japan,  your pet’s crate will need to be sealed. 

STEP 3  SUBMIT DOCUMENTS TO THE APHIS ENDORSEMENT via 1 of 3 Methods: Electronic, In-Person, Mail

1.  SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY:  Your Veterinarian will submit the Health Certificate for Endorsement (final approval) through VEHCS.

or

2. SUBMIT IN PERSON BY APPOINTMENT to the nearest Endorsement Office.  TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED AS OF AUGUST 2021. We will update this section for instructions when the suspension is lifted

or

3.  REGULAR/EXPEDITED MAIL (Not Advised—your Certificate must be completed within 2 days of entry.)

A.  Find the nearest office at USDA/APHIS Endorsement office HERE

B.Include a POSTAGE-PAID, RETURN ENVELOPE.  The USDA will not pay for your postage.  Send it by FedEX, USPS, DHL UPS or other “overnight” delivery method to expedite.  Most  Offices process and return within 3 business days after they receive your documents.

C.  Include Health Certificate, Import Permit, Pet Export Checklist, Vaccination Checklist And Other Test Results Required and Payment. Do not pay in Cash.

D. Once the Health Certificate is endorsed by USDA/APHIS, you must enter the APHIS-assigned Certificate Number in the “Animal Health Certificate Number” section of the Declaration. 

STEP 4  Parasite Treatments are Mandatory.

External parasites: fleas, ticks, and Internal parasites: nematodes, cestodes.

Finally, your pet will be inspected upon arrival for overall signs of ill health and if you have met all the above requirements, will only be held in quarantine for up to 12 hours and then released to you.  If not,  your pet will be refused or held for up to 180 days.

U.S. Military Do Not Need an APHIS/USDA Endorsement if using a Military Veterinarian.

What is a Military Veterinarian?

A “Military Veterinarian” is defined as a Veterinary Corps Officer, or civilian GS-0701 series government veterinarian employed by the U.S. Army Veterinary Service working at military treatment facilities.  It does not apply to Army Veterinary Service non-appropriated fund or Department of Defense civilian contract veterinarians.

APHIS endorsement is not required if the health certificate is issued by a military veterinarian, but the military veterinarian must issue it within 2 days of arrival in Japan.

IMPORTANT NOTES:  

The completed health certificate must be endorsed (counter-signed and embossed/stamped) by USDA/APHIS within 2 days of arrival. 

The final page of the EU Health Certificate contains a Declaration of Non-Commercial transport.  Complete and sign before the pet travels to Japan.  The Declaration must accompany the pet and health certificate to Japan.

Timeframe: Health Certificates submitted in VEHCS or as a hardcopy document may take upwards of 3 business days after receipt for endorsement.  Source: USDA APHIS.

Cost:  The fee will be $121-$173usd for the 1st Pet on the Certificate.  Each additional pet on the same Certificate will cost $7-$14usd. 

Keep copies of all your documents and tracking number if you mailed your documents to APHIS.

1.  What happens if I travel with my pet and do not meet the requirements?

Your pet will be refused and may not enter or, if your pet arrives less than 180 days after the rabies titer test, your pet will remain in quarantine for the balance of the 180 day waiting period.

2.  Am I required (as the owner or person responsible for the animal) to accompany my pet during the travel?

In principle, all animals should be accompanied by their owner. For justified and documented reasons, the transport of animals in a different mode of transportation from their owners is permitted as long as it is no longer than 5 days away from the owner.

Import policies change.  Please check Japan’s regulations again before making travel arrangements: APHIS Travels with Pets 

Published by Stephanie Fling

Everything Pet Travel Related by Air, Sea and Land.

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