Veterinarian-Issued Health Certificates for Traveling
Travel With Your Pet
You're planning an upcoming trip and are taking your pet with you. Time to start preparing, so your journey goes as smoothly as possible!
You'll need a health certificate, which indicates that your pet meets the health requirements of the location you are traveling to.
Our vets at Riverside Animal Hospital understand all the requirements you and your pet will need to meet to obtain a health certificate, and the deadlines involved. We can also issue your certificate.
Before Your Appointment
Please follow the list below when preparing for your cat or dog's health certificate appointment:
- Review the requirements for pet travel to your destination
The requirements can be found through the USDA Pet Travel website. Riverside Animal Hospital's role is to complete the certificate and provide the vaccines and shots required but, it's your responsibility to understand the requirements and make sure they are met in the correct time frame for traveling.
Remember: Your pet will need to be vaccinated, and you'll need to start searching the tests your cat or dog will require for travel as soon as possible.
The USDA-APHIS (U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) office states that health certificates issued by veterinarians have to be completed within a specific time frame based on a state's or country's destination requirements.
Please note that Hawaii’s health certificate requirements are very similar to an international health certificate. Also note that most health certificates are valid only for up to 10 days, while several are valid for longer. Keep this in mind when scheduling the date for your appointment, and remember that appointment slots often fill up days or even weeks in advance.
- Contact your airlines
You have to inquire if the airlines have any more travel requirements, including specific vaccines or forms that need to be completed.
- Call the hospital to make an appointment
International health certificate appointments will take 1 hour per pet. National health certificate appointments will be 30 minutes (except for Hawaii, which is also 1 hour). Most health certificates are valid for 10 days and take 1-3 business days to be processed by USDA, so make sure to plan your health certificate appointment and travel date accordingly.
- What to bring to the appointment
- Your full name, current address, and phone number
- The name of your travel destination (person, hotel, etc.), address, and phone number
- The date your pet will be traveling, method of transportation, and port of entry
- All previous records from other veterinary clinics
- Many health certificates need an original signed rabies certificate and the exact date of microchip implantation. If these were not performed at Riverside Animal Hospital and are needed for your pet's travel, you have to bring these forms and dates with you to your pet's appointment.
During Your Appointment
At the appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive exam to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and fill out the Health Certificate.
You must then submit the completed certificates to the USDA office in Albany, NY. Processing time usually takes 1 - 3 business days.
When the certificate is finalized, you can either pick it up in person or it can be mailed to your address overnight. If you would like to have the health certificate overnight mailed to you, you can purchase a pre-paid self-addressed overnight shipping label from FedEx.
Our Riverside veterinarians are here to help facilitate the pet travel process and to fill out the required forms, however it is your responsibility to make sure all the travel requirements are met- so we ask that you come to your appointment prepared!