Bringing a Dog into the United States

CDC issues regulations to control the entry of dogs into the United States from other countries. These rules apply to all dogs, including puppies and service animals. They also apply whether you are a US citizen, legal US resident, or foreign national.

If you don’t follow CDC’s rules, your dog won’t be allowed to enter the United States. If denied entry, your dog will be sent back to the last country of departure at your expense. Country of departure is where the last trip originated—not where the dog was born or where it lives.

In addition, 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. Please be aware that dogs imported for commercial (resale or adoption) purposes have additional requirements from USDA.

Determining If You Can Bring a Dog into the United States

Whether you can bring a dog into the United States depends on where the dog is coming from—especially if from a high-risk country for dog rabies.

To enter the United States, your dog will be required to meet specific criteria. Start by answering the questions below to determine if you can bring a dog into the United States.

STEP
1
Has your dog been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months?

YES: See Step 2.

NO: Dog can enter at any port of entry with a 6-month travel history statement and healthy appearance.

Dogs that have NOT been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months are NOT required by CDC to present a rabies vaccination certificate. However, when you enter the United States, you must provide a written or verbal statement your dogs have NOT been in a country that is high risk for rabies within the last 6 months or since birth if under 6 months of age. While CDC doesn’t require proof of rabies vaccination, CDC recommends that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies, and your US destination may have additional requirements. See What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States.

STEP
2
Is your dog at least 6 months old?

YES: See Step 3.

NO: Dog is not allowed to enter the United States.

All dogs that have been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months must be at least 6 months old to enter the United States. See What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States.

STEP
3
Does your dog have an ISO-compatible microchip?

YES: See Step 4.

NO: Dog is not allowed to enter the United States.

The microchip number must be listed on the dog’s rabies vaccination certificate. If you are unsure whether your dog has an ISO-compatible microchip, please contact your veterinarian for assistance. See What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States.

*The applicant is responsible for making sure the dog has an ISO-compatible microchip. If the dog does not have an ISO-compatible microchip, the applicant (or permit holder) can bring their own scanner that can read the microchip.

*Many US universal scanners have been unable to detect microchips that begin with the numbers 1 or 8. Please ensure your dog’s chip can be detected by a universal scanner if it begins with a number other than 9. If you are unsure, you should purchase your own scanner (available online) that can detect the microchip or have your dog re-microchipped.

*If the microchip cannot be scanned on arrival, your dog may be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at your expense.

STEP
4
Does the dog have a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate?

YES: The dog may enter the United States under certain conditions.

See Option A at What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States.

NO: see Step 5

Note: expired US rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If your dog’s US rabies vaccination certificate is expired, proceed to Step 5.

STEP
5
Does the dog have a valid foreign-issued rabies vaccination certificate?

YES: If you are importing 1 or 2 dogs, see Step 6.

If you are importing 3 or more dogs, see Step 7.

NO: Dog is not allowed to enter the United States.

If you attempt to import your dog into the United States, the dog will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at your expense. See What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States.

STEP
6
Does the dog have an adequate rabies serology titer result from an approved laboratory, drawn at least 45 days and no more than 1 year before arrival?

YES: The dog may enter with a CDC Dog Import Permit through one of 18 approved airports (Option B) OR without a permit through an airport with a CDC-approved animal care facility (Option C). See What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States

NO: The dog must have a reservation to quarantine at an approved animal care facility in the United States upon arrival and enter through the airport where the facility is located. See Option C at What Your Dog Needs to Enter the United States

STEP
7
Are you importing 3 or more dogs?

Why Entry of Dogs to the United States Is Controlled

Rabies is fatal: Rabies is over 99% fatal and is 100% preventable. The United States eliminated dog rabies in 2007, but dog rabies is not controlled in over 100 countries—creating a risk to the United States for imported dogs. Through regulations, CDC strives to protect America’s families, communities, and pets by preventing the reintroduction of dog rabies into the United States. Preventing infected dogs from entering the United States is a public health priority. Each rabid imported dog could infect people and other animals and could cost more than half a million dollars to contain.

Why it’s important now: Since 2015, four rabid dogs were imported into the United States. Historically, about 300 dogs annually have been denied entry to the United States due to inadequate paperwork. However, between January and December 2020 (during the COVID-19 pandemic), CDC documented an increase from previous years with more than 450 instances of incomplete, inadequate, or fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates for dogs arriving from high-risk countries.

The increase in the number of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies that importers were attempting to bring into the United States created a public health risk of importing dog rabies.

Protect dogs and people: CDC will use the extended suspension period to improve the importation process to better protect the health and safety of dogs being imported and their US families and communities.

For questions, please contact CDC at cdcanimalimports@cdc.gov or CDC-INFO at (404) 718-3660.