Before and After: Dog Importation Changes

Below are the changes to CDC’s requirements for dogs arriving in the United States that have been in high-risk countries for dog rabies in the past 6 months.

Before and After: Dog Importation Changes
Requirements BEFORE
July 14, 2021
December 1, 2021
Who is eligible to import a dog from a high-risk country? Anyone Limited to
  • US government employees with official travel orders;
  • US citizens or lawful residents relocating to the United States, such as for employment or education;
  • Owners of service dogs that are specifically trained to assist the owner with a disability (as defined by DOTexternal icon);
  • Importers of dogs for science, education, exhibition, or law enforcement purposes as defined in 42 CFR 71.50external icon

(People in one of the above categories can apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit)

  • Travelers with dogs that have valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificates
    • Dogs must have a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate to enter the United States. Expired US rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted.
      • People relocating to the US with dogs must have a CDC Dog Import Permit if the dogs’ US rabies vaccination certificates have expired.
      • People returning from temporary travel aren’t eligible for a permit for their dog to return if the US-rabies vaccination certificate has expired.
Importation documents required upon arrival Valid rabies vaccination certificate Proof of microchip AND 2) Valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate OR
CDC Dog Import Permit
Minimum age requirement for dogs 4 months
minimum age
(must have been vaccinated on or after 12 weeks of age, at least 28 days before arrival)
6 months minimum age
Limit on the number of dogs imported No limit Maximum of 3 personal pet dogs for 1 trip only if applied for CDC Dog Import Permit

(exceptions apply for research and government-owned animals)

No limit for dogs with valid US-issued Rabies Vaccination Certificate

Can dogs be imported for resale, adoption, rescue, or transfer of ownership from a high-risk country? Yes No, if the dogs were rabies-vaccinated outside the United States.
Is rabies serologic testing required? No
  • Yes, if the dog’s current rabies vaccination was given outside the United States. Titer testing is required for the CDC Dog Import Permit application.
  • No, if the dog’s valid rabies vaccination was given in the United States. A CDC Dog Import Permit and titer aren’t required.
Can the dogs enter the United States through any port of entry? Yes No. Dogs arriving from high-risk countries must enter the United States at one of the approved ports of entry.

NOTE: A CDC Dog Import Permit is not required for dogs arriving from countries NOT at high risk for dog rabies or for dogs arriving from high-risk countries with a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate. Expired US rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If a US-issued rabies vaccine has expired, you must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit, if eligible.

CDC requires all dogs to be healthy upon arrival. In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your destination state’sexternal icon requirements.