How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit
CDC is extending its temporary suspension of dog importation from high-risk dog rabies countries until July 31, 2024. This suspension includes dogs arriving from countries without high risk of rabies if the dogs have been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months. Learn about the current rules: What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States
Plan ahead: The current wait time to receive a permit is less than 4 weeks, but submitting an incomplete application will result in additional delays.
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.
- 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 purposes may be granted approval to import more than 2 dogs.
- 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
- have an ISO-compatible microchip
- have a valid CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page]
- have a valid rabies serologic titer from an approved laboratory. For dogs older than 15 months with booster vaccinations, make sure the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] shows the current rabies vaccination and at least one previous rabies vaccination given when the dog was 12 weeks old or older if your dog’s titer was collected less than 30 days from the date of the current rabies vaccination.
- Dogs must enter the United States through one of the 18 airports with a CDC port health 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.
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 40 business days or 8 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 8 weeks.
If you are granted a permit, the validity dates of the permit may be from 14 days before planned entry up to 90 days after planned entry, provided the dog meets all entry requirements during that time frame. The dog may only travel to the United States during the period of validity listed on the permit. If your arrival date changes to outside the period your issued permit is valid, please submit a new application and note in the additional comments section that you are requesting changes to a current permit.
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 upload these documents as part of the application. 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.
- Photographs: Take two clear photographs of your dog’s teeth (make sure the photographs are recent and taken within 10 days of submitting your application) and include them with your permit application:
- front view of upper and lower teeth
- side view of upper and lower teeth
- Dogs need to be at least 6 months of age at the time you submit the application to CDC
- CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page]: This record is required for permit applications submitted beginning March 1, 2023. Have your veterinarian fill out the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record if your dog was vaccinated outside the United States. The record must document a current rabies vaccine. Your veterinarian must also enter the prior rabies vaccination information if your dog’s titer was collected less than 30 days from the date of the current rabies vaccination. Remember, if your dog’s rabies vaccination is expired, you cannot apply for a permit.
- For dogs vaccinated for the first time and for dogs younger than 15 months old: Submit a current CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record showing the rabies vaccine was given on or after 12 weeks of age and at least 28 days before the arrival date.
- For dogs older than 15 months with booster vaccinations: Submit a CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] that shows the current rabies vaccination and at least one previous rabies vaccination given when the dog was 12 weeks old or older if your dog’s titer was collected less than 30 days from the date of the current rabies vaccination. Enter the date of the most recent rabies booster into the application and submit a CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record showing both rabies vaccinations with the application.
- Serologic titer from an approved laboratory: You must submit serologic titer results from an approved laboratory as part of your CDC dog import permit application.
- Titers must be drawn at least 30 days after your dog’s first rabies vaccine was administered.
- Dogs over 15 months of age with at least one vaccine administered previously after 12 weeks of age may have a titer drawn at any time. For dogs older than 15 months with booster vaccinations, make sure the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] shows the current rabies vaccination and at least one previous rabies vaccination given when the dog was 12 weeks old or older if your dog’s titer was collected less than 30 days from the date of the current rabies vaccination.
- Dogs must wait 45 days from the date their titer is collected before they can enter the United States.
- Titers are valid for entry for one year (365 days) from the date of collection.
- Passport photo: Obtain a clear photo of the identification page of the applicant’s and permit holder’s passports.
If you need to request a change to a permit that CDC has already issued, please submit a new application by clicking the blue button above and note in the additional comments section that you are requesting changes to a current permit.