International Travel Info

What You Should Know About International Pet Travel

If you’re planning an exotic getaway with your pet in tow, were you aware you’ll need an international pet travel certificate? Upper West Manhattan’s Westside Veterinary Center has accredited veterinarians with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help with the required documentation. Every country has its own requirements for both the necessary documentation, as well as the timeframe for your pet’s examination. Many foreign countries require an international pet travel certificate that’s been completed, signed, and dated by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and then approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As a responsible pet owner, it’s your duty to make sure you have this information all in order before your trip. However, our staff will do our best to help you meet all established international pet travel guidelines.

The International Pet Travel Certificate Process Explained

When planning your trip abroad, it’s important to remember that many countries post their specific international pet travel certificate guidelines online. If you happen to be traveling internationally to a country that doesn’t have its own approved health certificate online, the United States has one that’s suitable for many small companion animals. Please contact our veterinary clinic on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at least 21 days before your travel date, as international pet travel certificates can take some time to process. Most include the following information certified by an accredited veterinarian:

  • Your pet’s name
  • Breed
  • Age
  • Color
  • Country of origin
  • Health confirmation (i.e., your pet’s free of parasites and up-to-date on relevant vaccinations, including the type, manufacturer, and batch number of any administered recently)
  • Owner’s contact information (in case your pet gets lost, though some destinations may require microchipping to help prevent this)

Generally speaking, your pet will need to have a rabies shot at least 30 days before your trip (but not more than 12 months before), although this may vary from country to country. Some countries may require additional paperwork, travel permits, and laboratory tests besides what’s outlined on your international pet travel certificate. At the very least, you’ll be asked to provide the following information about your trip: the type of animal traveling, your destination, the date of your departure, the address at which your pet will be staying once they arrive there, and your exact travel arrangements. Will your pet be traveling alone, in cargo, or with you in a carrier on the plane? 

It’s Best to Be Prepared Months Before Your Travel Date

It’s recommended that you contact Westside Veterinary Center as soon as you know you’ll be traveling internationally with your pet. The amount of time that’s acceptable to have your international pet travel certificate verified before your trip will vary from country to country. It’s best to be prepared as early as possible (sometimes many months in advance). You should also be aware that certain airlines also have specific international pet travel requirements that must be met separately. Travel and export guidelines change frequently, so it’s imperative that you have a plan in place.

Additionally, if you plan to bring a pet into the United States from a foreign country, there’s additional paperwork involved for international imports. For that matter, there’s also required paperwork for those who wish to move their pet from one U.S. state to another. Please feel free to discuss whatever upcoming international pet travel arrangements you’re planning with our Upper West Manhattan USDA-accredited veterinarian. We’re here to help!

Please Plan Your Pet’s Examination Date Accordingly

If you’re planning to travel internationally with your pet soon, please plan your examination date with us carefully to ensure your visit is in accordance with the USDA guidelines, as well as those of your destination country. Most destinations will require your paperwork from your visit with our USDA-accredited veterinarian on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to be sent to the USDA’s main office for final approval. You’ll need to either send your paperwork to the USDA facility in Albany via FedEx or set up an appointment to personally go to their facility at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. For your convenience, we’ve provided the link to the USDA website, as well as a suggested checklist of possible international pet travel requirements:

Printable Suggested Checklist

Contact Westside Veterinary Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side

Do you have questions about international pet travel certificates? Contact Westside Veterinary Center in Upper West Manhattan to schedule an appointment with our USDA-accredited veterinarian to ensure your paperwork’s in order. Not filling out your international pet travel certificate correctly can cost you time and money. However, our veterinary clinic’s experts in international pet travel will steer you in the right direction, so you and your pet both have a memorable trip. Bon voyage!


Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


8:00 am

7:00 pm


8:00 am

9:00 pm


8:00 am

9:00 pm


8:00 am

9:00 pm


8:00 am

6:00 pm


9:00 am

5:00 pm


9:00 am

5:00 pm