Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from Countries Classified as High Risk for Dog Rabies

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As of July 14, 2021, there is a temporary suspension for dogs entering the United States from high-risk countries for dog rabies. This includes dogs arriving from countries not at high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months.

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 a limited basis.

UPDATE: Effective December 1, 2021, dogs vaccinated in the United States by a US-licensed veterinarian may re-enter the United States from a high-risk country without a CDC Dog Import Permit if the dog:

  1. has a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate;
  2. has proof of a microchip;
  3. is at least 6 months old;
  4. is healthy upon arrival; and
  5. arrives at an approved port of entry

Expired US-issued rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If the US-issued rabies vaccination certificate has expired, you must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit, if eligible.

UPDATE: Effective December 1, 2021, all dogs that have been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months may only enter the United States through an approved port of entry, which includes all 18 airports with a CDC quarantine 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).

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

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 or a CDC Dog Import Permit—and can enter the United States at any port of entry, but must be healthy upon arrival and vaccination against rabies is recommended.

On June 14, 2021, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the “Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from High-Risk Rabies Countries.” Through this notice, CDC is informing the public that, effective July 14, 2021, it is temporarily suspending the importation of dogs from:

  • countries classified by CDC as high risk for dog rabies; AND
  • countries that are NOT at high risk if the dogs have been in high-risk countries during the previous 6 months.

This temporary action is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of canine rabies virus variant (dog rabies) into the United States.

In 2020, CDC identified a significant increase compared with the previous 2 years in the number of imported dogs that were denied entry into the United States from high-risk countries. Due to reduced flight schedules, dogs denied entry are facing longer wait times to be returned to their country of departure, leading to illness and even death in some cases.

CDC estimates 6% of all dogs imported into the Unites States arrive from countries at high risk for dog rabies. Inadequately vaccinated dogs are not protected against rabies and are a public health threat. Rabies is fatal in both humans and animals, and the importation of even one rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets, and wildlife. Dog rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007. This suspension will protect the health and safety of imported dogs by preventing importations of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies and will protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of dog rabies.

CDC has coordinated with other federal agencies and entities as necessary to implement this action, and CDC will review this suspension periodically.

Dogs from high-risk countries may be imported only with CDC’s advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit), including dogs imported from a country NOT at high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country during the previous 6 months. Such approvals may be granted on a limited case-by-case basis at CDC’s discretion. If your request for advance approval to import a dog is denied, CDC’s written denial will constitute final agency action. No appeals will be allowed.

To request advance written approval, you must follow the instructions at How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to enter the United States. Requests cannot be made at the port of entry upon arrival into the United States. 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.

All dogs from high-risk countries granted advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) must enter the United States at a port of entry with a live animal care facility with a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-issued Facilities Information and Resource Management System (FIRMS) code. CDC will update the list of approved ports of entry at this website as they become available.

Before entering or re-entering the United States with a dog, importers should continue to check other federal regulations as well as rabies vaccination requirements of state and local governments at their final destination.

Please view the FRN as a PDF pdf icon[PDF – 9 pages]external icon file.  For questions about this notice or CDC’s import regulations, contact CDC-INFO.

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