New Travel Rules For Canine Tourists From USA Will Take Effect August 1,2024

Photo: Pixabay. Dog playing on a beach.
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Starting on August 1, 2024, dogs entering or returning to the United States must meet new, specific requirements depending on where they have been in the 6 months before entering the U.S. and where they received their rabies vaccines.

If dogs do not meet the requirements to enter or renter the United States, then they will be sent back to where they arrived from.

This means that effectively any dogs from the United States that enter Caribbean destinations for purposes of vacation travel will have to have documentation that would allow them to return to the United States.

All dogs entering the US after August 1,2024 must:

  • Be at least 6 months of age at time of entry or return to the United States
  • Have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip
    • This must have been implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination
    • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all accompanying veterinary records
  • Appear healthy upon arrival
    • Dogs may not enter the United States if they are carrying a disease contagious to people.
    • Isolation of the dog, veterinary examination, and additional testing, at the importer’s expense, may be required to determine if the dog has a contagious disease and prevent spread if the dog does not appear healthy upon arrival.
  • Have a CDC Dog Import Form receipt
    • black and white French bull dog
      Dog photo courtesy of United States Centers for Disease Control.

      This form should be filled out online ideally 2-10 days before arrival; however, it can also be completed right before travel (even in line at the border crossing) if you have internet access. If the information on the form changes before the dog arrives, you must submit a new form and indicate you are making changes to an existing form. All information, including port of entry where the dog is arriving, must be correct at time of arrival.

    • This form requires you to upload a clear photograph of the dog showing its face and body. Dogs that will be less than one year of age at time of arrival should have the photograph taken within 10 days before arrival.
    • There is no charge to importers for submitting this form.
  • Have additional documentation which varies depending on where the dog has been in the 6 months before entering or returning to the United States, or if the dog has a current rabies vaccine administered in the United States.

The CDC regulations were last updated in 1956, and a lot has changed, said a CDC official who spoke to AP News. More people travel internationally with their pets, and more rescue groups and breeders have set up overseas operations to meet the demand for pets, she said. Now, about 1 million dogs enter the U.S. each year.

Dogs were once common carriers of the rabies virus in the U.S. but the type that normally circulates in dogs was eliminated through vaccinations in the 1970s. The virus invades the central nervous system and is usually a fatal disease in animals and humans. It’s most commonly spread through a bite from an infected animal. There is no cure for it once symptoms begin.

Sources: CDC, AP.
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