How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit

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Beginning July 14, 2021, there is a temporary suspension for dogs imported from high-risk countries for dog rabies. CDC has the authority to issue a CDC Dog Import Permit for US citizens and lawful residents relocating from high-risk countries to bring their dogs into the United States. Such permits will be issued on an extremely limited basis.

First 90-Day Transition Process
From July 14 through October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries  with CDC Dog Import Permits can enter the United States at one of these 18 airports: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit, Honolulu, Houston (IAH), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (JFK), Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, DC (Dulles).

After October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries with CDC Dog Import Permits must enter only at approved ports of entry.

All dogs imported into the United States must be healthy on arrival.

Dogs that have not been in a high-risk country in the previous 6 months are not required by CDC to present a rabies vaccination certificate or other paperwork, but vaccination against rabies is recommended.

Background

On an extremely limited basis, CDC has the authority to issue advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) to import a dog from a high-risk country. CDC Dog Import Permits will not be issued upon arrival. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without a CDC Dog Import Permit will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense.

If you wish to import a dog from a high-risk country, you need to apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to bring the dog into the United States.

Submitting an application does not guarantee a permit will be issued — CDC reserves the right to deny issuing a CDC Dog Import Permit. Submitting false information or making other false statements is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

If your request for advance approval is denied, CDC’s written denial will constitute final agency action. No appeals will be allowed.

Who Can Apply:

The following categories of importers are eligible to request a permit to import a dog into the United States:

  • US government employees traveling on official orders.
  • US citizens or lawful US residents relocating to the United States, such as for employment or education.
  • Owners with service dogs that are trained to assist them with a disability.
    In accordance with US Department of Transportation regulations at 14 CFR part 382, emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not considered service animals.
  • Return travelers (US citizens or lawful residents) who left the United States before July 14, 2021and are returning before October 14, 2021. Dogs must have:
    • Valid rabies vaccination certificate issued in the United States; and
    • USDA Export Health Certificate from the United States issued July 14, 2020–July 14, 2021; and
    • Documentation that they traveled out of the United States with their owner before July 14 (for example, official airline documentation showing the animal traveled with you).
  • Importers wishing to import dogs for science, education, or exhibition, as these terms are defined in 42 CFR 71.50, or for bona fide law enforcement.

CDC Dog Import Permits will NOT be issued for:

  • Dogs intended for other purposes, such as adoption, resale, or transfer of ownership.
  • US citizens and lawful residents traveling temporarily out of the United States with their dogs after July 14 (such as for vacation, to visit friends, or family).
  • Non-US residents traveling temporarily to the United States with their dogs after July 14 (such as for vacation, to visit friends, or family).

Permit Application Requirements:

  • Each eligible importer of personal pet dogs may be granted approval to import a maximum of 3 dogs for one trip during the temporary suspension.
  • For dogs to be eligible for an import permit, they must:
    • be at least 6 months old, as verified by submission of current photos of the dog’s teeth
    • be microchipped
    • have a valid rabies vaccination certificate
    • have a valid rabies serologic titer from an approved laboratory if the dog was vaccinated outside of the United States. Serologic titers must be drawn in accordance with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommendations.
      • Currently, titers must be drawn a minimum of 30 days after vaccination and at least 90 days before US entry.
      • Dogs due to receive rabies vaccination boosters should have titers drawn before receiving the booster to avoid the 30-day waiting period.
    • View the list of approved laboratories
      • Results from unapproved laboratories will not be accepted.

Approved Ports of Entry:

During the transitional period from July 14, 2021– October 14, 2021, dogs coming from high-risk countries with CDC Dog Import Permits can enter the United States at one of these 18 airports: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit, Honolulu, Houston (IAH), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (JFK), Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington DC (Dulles).

After October 14, 2021, only approved ports of entry are allowed. CDC will update this list of approved ports of entry here as they become available:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

Permit Application and Instructions

To apply, download and complete the PDF application pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages]. Application instructions are available here. Send the application and all supporting documents in one email to CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before travel date. Documents must be submitted in English or have 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.

A completed application includes:

vet inspecting dog's mouth
  • Application PDF pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages]
  • Required Supporting Documents
    • Photo of identification page of the importer’s US passport or Lawful Residence card
    • Clear photographs of your dog’s teeth:
      • front view of upper and lower teeth
      • side view of upper and lower teeth
    • Current and previous rabies vaccination certificates with microchip number listed on the rabies vaccination certificate
  • If applicable:
    • Rabies serologic titer from an approved laboratory for dogs vaccinated outside of the United States.
      • A list of approved laboratories can be found here.
      • Titer must be drawn a minimum of 30 days after vaccination and at least 90 days before US entry.
      • Dogs due to receive rabies vaccination boosters should have titers drawn before receiving the booster to avoid the 30-day waiting period. Proof of previous rabies vaccination (i.e., at least 1 rabies vaccination certificate) will be required if the titer was drawn before the booster vaccination was received.
    • Official orders, offer of employment or university acceptance letter
    • US DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]external icon/ proof that the dogs are for science, education, exhibition, or law enforcement purposes

Submit by Email

To open the online permit application, you must first download Acrobat Reader from Adobeexternal icon.

  • For Windows operating systems, click “Send Via Email” at the bottom right-hand corner of the application. Your email should open with your permit attached. Attach all supporting documents to the email and press send.
  • For Mac and other operating systems, save the completed application on your computer and send as an attachment with all supporting documents to CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov from your own email account.
  • Follow the instructions on how to complete the application. Application must be completed electronically and sent in one email with ALL of the required documents attached.

Permit FAQs