How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit

Plan ahead: Due to the extremely high volume of permit requests, responses to applications may be delayed up to 8 weeks after submission.

Applications for CDC Dog Import Permits or requests for changes to an existing permit must be submitted by the owner of the dog. CDC will not accept permit applications from shippers, brokers or pet transporters without a power of attorney. If dog owners use a power of attorney, the document must be uploaded along with the required supporting documents in the application.

CDC has the authority to issue a CDC Dog Import Permit to bring in 1 or 2 dogs from a high-risk country for dog rabies. Permits will be issued only for dogs that were vaccinated against rabies in a foreign country. Dogs with current valid US issued rabies vaccination certificates do not need a permit.

STOP! Did you verify that your dog has been in a high-risk country for dog rabies in the past 6 months? If not, go back to High-Risk Countries.

Permit Application Requirements:

  • Each person may be granted approval (permits) to bring in a maximum of 2 dogs for one trip during the temporary suspension. People wishing to import dogs for science, education, exhibition, or bona fide law enforcement may be granted approval to import more than 2 dogs.
  • For dogs to be eligible for an import permit, they must:
  • Dogs must enter the United States through one of the 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station:
    • Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (IAD).

See more details about these requirements below.

If you don’t meet the requirements above, STOP! Go back to Determining if You Can Bring a Dog into the United States.

Before You Apply: What You Must Know

Start the process early before you travel. Give yourself plenty of time to apply for the permit—especially to gather all the required documents and photos. Also, because of the high-volume of applications CDC receives, it can take up to 30 business days or 6 weeks for CDC to process a complete and valid permit application. However, if required information is missing from the application, the process can take longer. CDC will respond to you within 6 weeks.

If you are granted a permit, it is valid for entry at any of the approved ports of entry from 14 days before the planned date of arrival in the United States until 90 days after the planned date of arrival. If your arrival date changes to outside the period your issued permit is valid, notify CDC immediately at CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov.

The permit can only be used once before the expiration date.

The permit will only be issued to a single person, known as the Applicant. The Applicant must be at least 18 years old to apply. You, as the Applicant, may designate someone (for example, a family member or friend), known as the Permit Holder, to travel with the dog to the United States. If this is the case, then you must make sure the Permit Holder receives the permit so the Permit Holder can present it to a US Customs and Border Protection officer upon arrival.

At the Port of Entry

Once the dog is within the United States, the applicant (or Permit Holder) of the dog listed on the permit must confine the dog at the address listed on the permit. The dog may not be placed at any other location or with any other person until the confinement period has ended. Ownership of the dog can’t be transferred to another person while the dog is in confinement. The confinement period for permitted dogs ends once the dog is revaccinated against rabies in the United States, which must occur within 10 days of arrival.

Don’t forget: In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) and your US destination’s regulations. Regulations of US states or territories may be more strict than federal regulations.

Read through the required documents below as soon as you can. You can also read the Application Instructions on how to fill out the permit application form line by line. Be sure you understand all that is required and what decisions you may need to make before filling out and submitting the permit application form.

An incomplete application will delay the time to process the permit.

Collect the Documents You Must Submit with the Permit Application Form

Gather the documents for the permit application. You will use it on the form or include it with the completed form by uploading the files. It may take several weeks to over a month to obtain some items, so give yourself plenty of time.

Documents must be submitted in English or be accompanied by a certified English translation. A certified translation is a signed statement on professional letterhead issued by a licensed translator declaring that the translation is an accurate and true representation of the original document. The translation must include the name, address and contact information of the translator and have a signatory stamp or elevated seal with the translator’s license number included. A certified translation service provider can be found online.

  1. Photographs: Take two clear photographs of your dog’s teeth and include them with your permit application:
    • front view of upper and lower teeth
    • side view of upper and lower teeth
  2. vet inspecting dog's mouth
  3. Rabies vaccination certificate: Obtain a copy of your dog’s current, valid rabies vaccination certificate issued outside the United States and its previous rabies vaccination certificate if applicable. Remember, if your dog’s certificate is expired, you cannot apply for a permit.
    1. For dogs vaccinated for the first time and for dogs younger than 15 months old: Submit a current rabies vaccination certificate showing the rabies vaccine was given on or after 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days before the arrival date.
    2. For dogs older than 15 months with booster vaccinations: Submit a current rabies vaccination certificate.
  4. Microchip number: Obtain the dog’s ISO-compatible microchip number. The number should be listed on the vaccination certificate. If the dog was microchipped after the rabies vaccine was administered, submit microchip registration card, or other veterinary record with the microchip number listed.
  5. Rabies serologic titer: valid rabies serologic titer from an approved laboratory.
    1. Titers must be drawn a minimum of 30 days after initial rabies vaccination and at least 45 days before US entry. Test results are valid for 1 year from the date the sample was drawn.
    2. Dogs due to receive rabies vaccination boosters may have their titers drawn at any time, but titers are most easily detected at least 30 days after vaccination.
    3. View the list of approved laboratories. Results from unapproved laboratories will not be accepted.
  6. Passport photo: Obtain a clear photo of the identification page of the applicant or permit holder’s passports.