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Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

From Afghan Hounds through to French Poodles, our parks are full of doting dogs with roots in far away places. Have you ever wondered how do dogs from other countries come to be here?

As far as I am aware, no immigration attorneys take on four legged clients, so this is something you will need to focus on and put in the work for by yourself. I am writing this blog purely to give advice as we are often told about how much people long to be reunited with beloved furry family members.

Of course, we humans require a visa to enter the US, but the same system does not yet apply to our pets. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which controls human movement across international borders does not contain a clause for pets, animals fall under the remit of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and their rules are enforced by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). You will not require a PETition (sorry!) to bring your (hopefully) four legged companion to the US, however, you better prepare yourself for a mountain of forms to fill out and airline regulations to check. Airlines usually require very recent health certificates and may have a limit on the number of hours an animal can fly depending on the size and weight of your dog.

Forward planning is your key to success. To give you an idea of what you’ll be up against, here are the CDC rules for dogs entering the US.

Depending on where the dog is traveling from, different vaccinations and veterinary certificates will be required. If for example screwworm or rabies exist in the dog’s country of residence, very recent (perhaps as recent as 5 days) evidence of a clean bill of health will be required. In the case of rabies, dogs must be vaccinated at least 30 days before entering the US (puppies aged under 3 months can’t yet be vaccinated).

A valid rabies vaccination certificate

Dogs without a rabies vaccination certificate, including those that are too young to be vaccinated, may still gain entry, but only after a period of confinement. Your dog will be vaccinated and you will need to wait 30 days for the all clear.

In cases where the vaccination was performed less than 30 days before the dog’s arrival, they may still be admitted but must be confined at a place of the owner’s choosing until at least thirty days have passed since the vaccination date. This also applies to puppies waiting to reach the 3 month mark.

Dogs may be denied entry if they look sick at the point of entry. In these circumstances, a health check by a veterinarian will be required.

So, I hope you find this information helpful. That is all I know on the subject, so I wish you the best of luck in being reunited with your faithful friend!
If you need any help on matters regarding human immigration we are always happy to arrange a consultation.

Eliana Phelps

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