When you plan to move to America, it is natural to feel as though leaving your pet behind is too much to bear. Fortunately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), does provide pretty straightforward guidelines to those who want to bring their pet to the states. While this may be a long process, it is certainly worth it if you want to bring your furry friends along to America.
Finding Out if Your Pet is Eligible
Unfortunately, not all pets are going to be eligible for importation to the U.S. Each country has its own delicate ecosystem; America is no different. Bringing in a pet that could disrupt biodiversity in the U.S. calls for immediate exportation or for the pet to be put down. Fortunately, most people do not get that far, as the guidelines for bringing in animals in the first place are pretty stringent.
Most dog breeds are allowed into the U.S., unless they are banned in the state you wish to live in. There are no restrictions on cats. The same goes for fish. Monkeys, however, cannot be brought in under any circumstances.
It is okay to bring snakes and lizards into the U.S., but there are restrictions on turtles. These restrictions apply to those bringing the turtles for commercial purposes, as they wish to limit breeding of alien species within the country.
If you own a bat, the CDC will put you through a lengthy form filling and inspection process to ensure that your pet is not carrying a zoonotic disease. While this is tiresome, it does ensure that certain diseases are not re-introduced to the U.S. eco-system and population.
You are unlikely to encounter problems bringing in birds, as the CDC has relaxed a lot in recent years. However, you will encounter difficulties if you are travelling from an area with bird flu.
Under no circumstances can you bring in an African rodent.
Making Sure Pets are Healthy to Enter the U.S.
If you are bringing in a dog, it must be vaccinated against rabies. If the dog is under three months and therefore unable to be vaccinated, it must be contained for 30-days. The same goes for dogs that arrive in the U.S. without proof of vaccination. If you come from a rabies-free country, a vaccination may not be required.
Cats do not require vaccinations, but they will be inspected for diseases that can transmit to humans. If they are found to have such a disease, they will be quarantined until they are healthy.
Hawaii and Guam
Most pets being brought into Hawaii and Guam require a period of temporary isolation. This is because both areas differ significantly in terms of their eco-systems.
Transporting Your Pets to the U.S.
Every airline has different regulations for transporting pets, which means you need to gain the specifics from those you are traveling with. British Airways, for example, works alongside a variety of other companies to set guidelines. You can only travel with pets via certain routes, which means you may arrive in the U.S. and complete the rest of the journey using another mode of transport. There are shipping routes available too, if you cannot find an air route.
In general, a pet must have sufficient lighting, room to turn around, water, and food in their carrier. Clearly this means that each pet may require something different, so seeking a vet’s guidance is wise.
You will most likely need to get a pet passport, especially in the case of dogs and cats. Your nearest vet may be able to help you out, or you can try the DEFRA scheme. State import regulations vary between each state. Finally, you may want to consider microchipping your pet, just in case they get lost!