Taking Your Dogs and Cats to United States of America

Dogs and cats may enter the United States (excluding Hawaii) without an official export certificate. New Zealand is classed as a "rabies free" country by the United States Department of Agriculture and there are no restrictions on the importation of dogs and cats from this country.

While no export certificates are officially required for dogs and cats being exported to the United States, most airlines will not accept animals for shipment to this country unless they are accompanied by a veterinary letter/declaration of health stating your pet is fit to travel. Such letters must be written on veterinary practice letterhead paper.

Veterinarians signing any letter must ensure that their name and qualifications are typed or printed beneath their signatures.

Individual states may have requirements in addition to those applicable to import into the United States. Please check with the authorities in the state you are traveling to.

Managing the export process

  1. Check (offsite link to www.mpi.govt.nz) your pet meets the United States (excluding Hawaii) export requirements by searching for the latest requirements.
  2. Check with the authorities in the state you are entering into the US for any additional requirements.
  3. Contact your local veterinarian for a letter/declaration of health stating your pet is fit to travel.
  4. Check with your airline if they require you to use a pet exporter. We highly recommend that you use the services of a registered pet export company as they are familiar with the protocols and procedures necessary to export pets overseas.
  5. Organise a pet exporter.
  6. An approved cage (offsite link to www.iata.org) will be required. A pet exporter can arrange this as well as provide you with the costs of exporting your pet.
  7. Contact an Official Veterinarian (offsite link to www.mpi.govt.nz) (located at airports) about an Animal Welfare Certificate (AWEC), and any arrangements that are required.
  8. Bon voyage!

Taking your dogs or cats to Hawaii

Hawaii has additional requirements.

Check (offsite link to www.mpi.govt.nz) here for what these are and proceed similarly as above.

Page last updated: 18 March 2015