Where is Your Dog Coming From?

A small, curly-haired, light brown dog sitting in a dog carrier backpack with his head sticking out on the seat of an airplane

Photo credit: Audilis Sánchez, CDC

The rules for bringing your dog into the United States depend on where you are coming from.

Different types of rabies exist in many mammals, but CDC focuses on importing dog rabies into the United States from certain high-risk countries. CDC experts collect and analyze rabies information around the world to determine a country’s risk for rabies.

Dog rabies was eliminated in the United States in 2007 and is under control in some other countries. However, many other countries do not have it controlled, and dogs coming from these countries can import this disease into the United States.

There is a temporary suspension for dogs imported from countries that CDC considers high risk for dog rabies.

On an extremely limited basis, CDC has the authority to issue advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) to bring a dog from a high-risk country.

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

No CDC Dog Import Permits are issued upon arrival. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without advance written approval from CDC will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense.

A young bulldog puppy standing in a blue and white dog travel crate

Photo credit: Michelle Decenteceo, CDC

Dogs coming from a country not on the high-risk list for dog rabies are NOT required to present a rabies vaccination certificate or CDC Dog Import Permit to enter the United States. However, when you enter the United States, you must provide written or verbal statements that the dogs lived in a country that is NOT high risk for at least 6 months or since birth. Written statements and any documents must be 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.

  • Example: Your adult dog lived in the United States and visited Mexico. This dog does NOT require a rabies certificate or CDC Dog Import Permit, because Mexico is NOT on the list of high-risk countries for dog rabies.
  • Example: Your puppy has lived in Germany since birth and is coming to the United States. This dog does NOT require a rabies certificate or CDC Dog Import Permit, because Germany is NOT on the list of high-risk countries for dog rabies.
  • Example: Your adult dog lives in Japan (not a high-risk country) but visited China (high-risk country) within the past 6 months and is coming to the United States from Japan. This dog is not eligible for entry without advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) due to visiting a high-risk country.

In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your destination state’s regulationsexternal icon, which may be more strict than federal regulations. Please be aware that dogs imported for commercial (resale or adoption) purposes have additional requirements from USDAexternal icon.