Pets, Animals and Wildlife

 Last updated 28 March 2012

People moving stateside can take most kinds of pets with them if they plan ahead. However, endangered species legislation prevents you taking some turtles, birds and reptiles to the United States.

Dogs must be free of disease and be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before they reach the USA. Puppies younger than three months and dogs in rabies-free areas such as the United Kingdom are exempted, however. Unvaccinated dogs will be inoculated on arrival and confined for 30 days at your expense.

Cats must show no signs of disease and rabies vaccination is required in most U.S. states.

Birds are quarantined for at least 30 days in a Department of Agriculture facility, again at your expense. You must reserve quarantine space in advance and obtain a health certificate for the bird.

Here are some links with more details on how to take your pets or wildlife products to the United States


Tips for importing cats, dogs and other pets from the Agriculture Department.

Pet birds

Special quarantine requirements for birds. In response to outbreaks of Newcastle disease in the United States, APHIS developed strict regulations for importing birds. Bird owners who made special arrangements with USDA before leaving the USA can find out more on importing their bird at this site.

Horse imports

Special quarantine requirements for horses. Please scroll down the linked page to the Equine section.

Hawaiian pet restrictions

Hawaii is the only place in the USA that is permanently free of rabies. And the Hawaiians want it to stay that way. Here is a link to the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture describing their quarantine requirements for pets.

Facts about Federal Wildlife Laws

Contains tips on bringing wildlife products, ivory, hunting trophies and endangered species products to the States (in PDF format).

Wildlife permits Find out more about applying for import permits for ivory or other wildlife items. Has links to the forms needed and an email address for queries.

The Endangered Species list

Find out if that fur, orchid or hunting trophy you own is banned from crossing international borders.

Buyer Beware

Whether you go around the corner or around the globe, you could stumble upon products made from endangered or threatened wildlife. To help you in your purchasing decisions--whether at home or abroad--WWF has two pamphlets and a virtual tourist shop and pharmacy. Browse around and click on the various items for sale.

Caviar restrictions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently implemented changes to the regulations governing international trade in sturgeon and paddlefish caviar. The new regulations reduce from 250 to 125 grams the quantity of caviar that international travelers may carry into or out of the country as a personal effect (i.e., without a permit). Sturgeons and paddlefish are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


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