What is a Valid Rabies Vaccination Certificate?

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

The rabies vaccination certificate is formal proof that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies. As of March 1, 2023, the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] is the only rabies vaccination certificate that CDC will accept from dogs that were vaccinated outside of the United States. CDC will NOT accept foreign-issued pet passports or any other certificates for foreign rabies vaccinations. The CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] must be filled in completely and signed by the licensed veterinarian who administered the vaccine.

A public health worker wearing a white shirt with black and yellow epaulets reviews a rabies vaccine certificate on a clipboard while looking at a Golden Retriever sitting inside a dog travel crate

Photo credit: Derek Sakris, CDC

This record should be completed by the veterinarian that vaccinated the dog. In the event the veterinarian that vaccinated the dog has left the practice, a second veterinarian may complete the record if:

  • A valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists with the second veterinarian currently in the clinic in which the vaccinating veterinarian practiced medicine; and
  • The dog’s information (breed, sex, age, microchip) and vaccination history can be verified using the clinic’s existing medical records

The veterinarian should sign the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] in ink. Alternatively, the veterinarian may create a personalized signature using a PDF program (e.g., Adobe) to affix to the document or the veterinarian can use an authenticated digital signature (e.g., DocuSign) on the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] that ensures only the veterinarian has access to the data entry process. Typed signatures (in cursive or bold fonts) WILL NOT be accepted.

For dogs vaccinated in the United States or for dogs entering from countries not on the list of high-risk countries, use of the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page] is encouraged, but not required. If your veterinarian does not use the CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record [PDF – 1 page], ALL of the following information must be included on the rabies vaccination certificate (which must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation):

  • Name and address of owner
  • Dog’s breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth unknown), color, and markings
  • Dog’s ISO-compatible microchip number
  • Vaccine product name, manufacturer, lot number, and product expiration date
  • Date of rabies vaccination
  • Date the vaccination expires (date the next vaccination is due)
  • Name, license number or official seal, address, telephone or email address, date, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccine

Like your passport, your dog’s rabies vaccination certificate should not be expired. Check to make sure it will be current for the duration of your trip or get your dog a booster dose before you travel.

CDC does NOT accept these items as proof of rabies vaccination in place of a valid rabies vaccination certificate:

  • Rabies antibody titer values or serologic test results
  • Exemption letter from veterinarian
  • Health certificate or pet passport

Vaccination Requirements

  • All dogs vaccinated against rabies for the first time must be vaccinated at least 4 weeks (28 days) before traveling.
  • Puppies must NOT be vaccinated against rabies before they are 3-months (12 weeks or 84 days) old. The rabies certificate must include the puppy’s age or date of birth.
  • Adult dogs (15 months or older) may travel less than 4 weeks after a booster vaccination if they are accompanied by proof of a history of previous rabies vaccination with at least one vaccine given after they were 3-months old and one current booster rabies vaccination.