Health Certificates (National and International)

Traveling with your pet requires preparation prior to your departure. This can take 1-2 days or several months depending on your final destination. Regardless of whether you are traveling nationally or internationally your pet will need a health certificate. The clinicians and staff at the KSU-VHC Pet Health Center are available to help you with this process.

Interstate travel

Most states require a current health certificate for your cat or dog to enter the state. The following USDA-APHIS web site will connect you with individual state requirements.

Your pet will need to have a physical exam and be current on its vaccinations (the minimum requirement is rabies) for the health certificate. If the veterinarian issuing the health certificate is not the one who vaccinated your pet, you will need to bring copies of the rabies certificate and proof of any other vaccines that were given. Please be prepared to give us the name and phone number of the veterinary hospital where the vaccines were given if you do not have the proper documentation. Your pet will have to be vaccinated at the time of the health certificate appointment if documentation is unavailable. Vaccine information including manufacturer, type of vaccine and date given all need to be recorded on the health certificate. You will also need to provide your current address and final destination address for the certificate. Lastly, you must sign the health certificate. A health certificate can not be issued if your pet has evidence of a contagious disease. Severely debilitated animals may be declared unfit for travel and denied a health certificate.

The USDA considers a health certificate valid for 30 days; however, many airlines require the certificate to be issued within 10 days of travel. Please contact your airline for specifics on their requirements for pet travel. Airlines may also require a certificate of climate acclimation to accompany your pet if traveling in the cargo area.

***Hawaii has its own unique set of requirements as they are a "rabies-free" state. Traveling with your pet to Hawaii requires several months of advanced preparation. At a minimum your pet will require:

  • at least 2 rabies vaccines and the original rabies certificates (or carbon copies)
  • rabies titer
  • microchip
  • 120 day waiting period
  • health certificate
  • tick treatment
  • submission of documents (at least 10 days prior to arrival and not by fax)
  • fee payment

You are strongly urged to go to the Hawaii Rabies Quarantine website and review their regulations for specific details and updates.

You can also E-mail them at:

International travel

International travel often takes several months of preparation. In general, rabies-free countries have more requirements for entrance. Some countries also require a special notarization by a USDA veterinarian on the international health certificate in addition to your veterinarian’s signature. It is important to locate the nearest USDA veterinarian who can assist you with this as the notarization process may take a few more days after your veterinarian has signed the health certificate. It is prudent to check with the foreign consulate and embassy to get specific requirements for entrance into their country.

This website can link you to most of the agencies from which you will need information.

Traveling with you pet can be both rewarding and frustrating. Thorough, advanced preparation will mitigate some of these frustrations. Please feel free to contact the clinicians at the VHC should you have questions concerning health certificates or to schedule an appointment.