Here at Georgia Veterinary Associates, we offer international and domestic health certificates for those who are traveling with pets. Today, we’ll talk a bit more about how this process works.
How long will my health certificate appointment last?
The appointment for the health certificate lasts approximately one hour, and it does include a full physical for your animal - dogs and cats alike. We do ask that you do your due diligence prior to your appointment. You can research which country you're going to go to and the specific requirements for that country. We’ve created guidelines for your travel and the paperwork that's needed, both of which are available on our website.
Do I need different health certificates for domestic vs. international travel?
The guidelines for your international and domestic travel do vary depending on your destination. Most often, getting your health certificate will include a rabies vaccine and marker chipping, so it's important that you supply your most current rabies certificate if we haven't done it here in this hospital.
What should I do to prepare for my health certificate appointment?
Prior to travel, you need to make sure that you check with the airline that you're going to be traveling on to make sure we adhere to their specific guidelines. And when it comes to international travel, you can go on the USDA website to search the country that you are going to, and they can give you the guidelines for what is required for that specific country. It's important for you to go over those guidelines before you come in for your visit to make sure we have all the proper documentation.
We’ve had several clients use pet travel companies to help guide them through this process and ease the stress that is often associated with travel and bringing pets abroad. This could very well be an option for you.
We know that traveling internationally with a pet can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Regulations for international pet travel vary greatly by destination and change frequently. The documentation and medical requirements can be quite complicated and time-sensitive. Therefore, Georgia Veterinary Associates highly recommends utilizing a third party pet travel service to assist you in making sure everything is taken care of in the proper time frame and documented correctly.
We will do our best to most accurately complete all necessary health certificates and provide all documentation that is necessary for travel with your pet based on the information provided to us by you and the USDA, but we cannot guarantee the success of your pet’s international transportation or acceptance into the destination country. Additionally, we cannot accept responsibility for any expenses if you or your pet’s travel is delayed.
Certain countries have different requirements for the importation of pets. They may also require certain vaccines and even a microchip, so it's important to fully understand what you'll need for travel, especially for international travel. You can find a full list of requirements for the import of pets into a foreign country at APHIS' website.
We currently have four doctors who are USDA Accredited Veterinarians and are certified by the USDA to issues health certificates for both domestic and international travel. Dr. Evans (Russell Ridge and Apalachee Ridge), Dr. Hines (Russell Ridge and Hamilton Ridge), Dr. Connor (Russell Ridge), and Dr. Reiss (Camden Village). Only a USDA Accredited Veterinarian can issue an International Health Certificate, however, any veterinarian can perform the needed vaccines or tests.
If you know you will be traveling with your pet into another country, make sure to get started on the paperwork as soon as possible. Certain countries require tests, such as the FAVN test, that can take up to a month to get the results back. While we are committed to providing the outstanding service that you have come to expect from all of the Georgia Veterinary Associates hospitals, please understand that our expertise is in veterinary care and not international travel for pets. We will follow government regulations for fulfillment of any medical treatments, vaccinations, and testing for your pet and complete the necessary forms related to your specific travel. However, we require you, the pet owner, to do your due diligence by researching all the necessary prerequisites and ensuring those prerequisites are met prior to your upcoming international travel.
After scheduling your appointment for an International Health Certificate, make sure to prepare for your visit.
- Please fill out the International Travel and Health Certificate Form at least 5 days PRIOR to your appointment.
- Please bring any other records you may have. It's a good idea to make extra copies and keep them on hand during your travels.
- Make sure you are aware of the requirements for the country you will be traveling to. We don't keep a reference on hand so it is up to you to be aware of them. If the requirements are not met, you may be denied entry or your pet quarantined at the border.
- Leave enough time for any vaccines, microchipping and paperwork you'll need. The certificate is required within 10 days of travel and needs to be overnighted and signed by the USDA before traveling. You cannot apply for a certificate on the day before or of international travel.
Please note that any fees associated with vaccinations, microchip implantation, and/or other medical treatments or tests required for your pet’s travel are separate from the health certificate and exam fee.
USDA ENDORSEMENT INSTRUCTIONS
1506 Klondike Rd SW #300
Conyers, GA 30094
Your signed international health certificate may need to be endorsed by the USDA APHIS-VS Office which is located at the address above. Endorsement requirements vary by destination country. There are two methods for endorsement:
- In-person: Make an appointment for endorsement to ensure that it is done within your travel time constraints. Your pet does not need to be with you. Ensure that you have the original signed copy and supporting documents with you at this appointment.
- By mail: You can overnight, priority, or express mail your signed international health certificate and supporting documents through FedEx, USPS or UPS. Ensure that you include a pre-paid return label in your outgoing envelope so that the USDA can mail the endorsed certificate back to you promptly. You also need to include a form of payment for the endorsement fee. Checks payable to the USDA and credit/debit card are accepted – cash generally is not. Please check the USDA website for the most current information on fees and/or other costs.
You will need to bring the following supporting documents (please check the USDA website for the most current information on necessary documentation for the country you are traveling to):
- Signed international health certificate
- Signed rabies vaccination certificates for any rabies vaccination listed on the health certificate
- Signed complete vaccination record
- Microchip certification form (if required)
- Any other documents required by the importing country
These instructions are based on the most recent guidelines as of 2/14/2019. Because requirements for international travel change frequently, we strongly recommend visiting the USDA website or calling the office prior to following these instructions to ensure that you are abiding by the most up to date rules and regulations.
Traveling with your pet can be an exciting time, but you want to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for everything! We've compiled a number of different resources for tips on traveling with your pet on our page, Traveling with Your Pet.
If you have any other questions, please contact us! We are more than happy to help. Safe travels!