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International Pet Travel Requirements

Planning for your pet's relocation is very time consuming and requires extreme attention to detail. It can be an overwhelming and daunting process if you are not used to the pet relocation process. For example, in Switzerland If you enter Switzerland directly by air, you have to undergo a customs inspection at the airport. If the animals do not meet the import regulations, they are confiscated by the border veterinary service and must be returned to their country of origin immediately at the expense of the person importing the animals. If a return journey is not possible within 10 days, the animals must be put down. This is why it is recommended to work with a professional pet relocation specialist.

Each pet relocation is unique and so is each country's import or export requirements for pets. When departing the United States, the International health certificates for the export of animals are completed by the accredited veterinarian who certifies the animal health status, conducts tests, and records test results for the individual animals being exported. Completed and signed international health certificates for the export of animals from the United States must be endorsed by a Veterinary Services area office in order to be valid.

The United States has minimal requirements for animals to be exported to other countries. However, each country may have other specific health requirements for entry of animals. These requirements are established by the importing country, not the United States. Other countries may also have their own certificate format for export. Some countries also require quarantine, specific deworming procedures, and import permits.

Any health documents that are hand written and signed by a vet must be done in an ink color other than black. Some airlines or countries may not accept handwritten documents.


A Rabies Vaccination Certificate must include:

  • comprehensive pet guardian details
  • pet details including microchip information verified by vet who administered the rabies vaccine - if microchip number is hand written on the certificate it must be installed by the vet
  • date of rabies inoculation
  • rabies serum batch details + date of expiration
  • certificate signed in an ink other than black by attending vet


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