Beginning August 1, 2024, the CDC’s rabies-related requirements for dogs entering the United States will change significantly. This includes major changes for pets traveling from high-risk rabies countries but also introduces new standards that impact pet owners and shippers departing from low- or no-risk countries.

Whether you know you’re traveling from a high-risk rabies country or unsure whether these regulations will impact your upcoming relocation, we’re here to help. 

Tailwind Global Pet is an expert source for complex pet shipping into the United States. As one of only 7 CDC-approved Animal Care Facilities (ACFs) in the United States, a key component of the CDC’s new regulations, we’re approved to navigate the new standards as efficiently as possible.

What’s Changing on August 1, 2024?

Effective Aug. 1, dogs arriving in the United States from a high-risk rabies country must fly into one of only 6 approved airports below:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Previously, pet owners were able to fly into 12 additional airports from high-risk countries. Those 6 above are now the only option.

These additional requirements apply as of Aug. 1:

  • Foreign-vaccinated dogs arriving from a high-risk country must have planned travel arrangements booked with one of 7 CDC-approved ACFs near the 6 approved airports before arrival. Tailwind Global Pet offers these services at LAX.
  • Foreign-vaccinated dogs coming from high-risk rabies countries must get rabies serology titer results from a CDC-approved lab 28 days before travel to the U.S. If this isn’t possible, the pets must be quarantined for 28 days upon arrival, with no exceptions. With our comprehensive boarding options at our Kennel Club LAX facility, we’re well-equipped to help with all quarantine requirements.
  • Dogs arriving from high-risk countries without a history of U.S.-administered rabies vaccines will be revaccinated upon arrival.
  • Dogs younger than 6 months of age are no longer allowed to enter the U.S. from any country. There are no exceptions.
  • You will no longer be able to apply for CDC Dog Import Permits but will be required to fill out the free CDC Dog Import Forms online 2-10 days before arrival.
  • Your pet must travel with a receipt of your completed CDC Dog Import Form. The forms will be accessible starting July 15, 2024.
  • Dogs who arrive from low- or no-risk countries must still meet entry requirements around rabies vaccinations. All dogs must arrive with a government-endorsed export certificate from the country of export.

The CDC’s DogBot tool can help you better understand what to expect with your particular case based on your travel dates and origin point.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of questions our clients have already asked about how these new regulations will impact their pet’s travel. Each answer is accurate, to the best of our knowledge, according to the CDC’s regulations that take effect on August 1, 2024.

If you have a question related to these changes that isn’t listed below, contact us. Please note that we can’t provide a quote based on that contact form. For a quote, get started here, and a member of our team will contact you.

General Questions

Your dog can only fly into most U.S. airports if they are arriving from low- or no-risk countries for rabies. If they are coming from one of the 109 countries identified as high-risk for dog rabies, they may only arrive at one of 6 approved ports with a CDC-registered animal care facility.

As of Aug. 1, all dogs coming into the United States must be at least 6 months old. Their travel paperwork should include the CDC Dog Import Form receipt with a clear photograph of the dog’s face and body. Dogs less than 12 months old upon arrival should have their photo taken within 10 days before arrival.

The new rules only apply to dogs. Cats are not required by the CDC to have a rabies vaccination certificate to enter the United States. An international pet shipping company can help you check on importation regulations at your destination and get your cat up-to-date on any relevant vaccinations.

If you are traveling from any of the high-risk rabies countries after Aug. 1, you must work with an international pet shipper and a CDC-approved ACF to navigate the complexities involved with your arrival. Pets coming from these countries can only fly into 6 U.S. airports and must complete a pre-arranged vet examination and vaccination at one of 7 CDC-approved ACFs.

If you are flying from a low- or no-risk country, we still recommend working with an experienced international pet shipper to take care of the complex paperwork. However, it’s not required.

Your pet can fly as manifest cargo on its own ticket, as excess baggage on the same ticket as you (still in cargo, but on the same plane), or in-cabin with you if it meets the airline requirements. After Aug. 1, the airline must create an air waybill (AWB) for all dogs, including in-cabin pets or pets flying as excess baggage.

If your pet is flying in from a high-risk country without a history of U.S.-administered vaccinations, it may be less stressful for your pet to fly as manifested cargo. Pets flying via excess baggage or in-cabin must undergo a post-entry process with a CDC-registered ACF when they arrive. The pet owner does not accompany the pets to these facilities, which can be difficult upon arrival.

At Tailwind Global Pet, we can handle that transfer to ensure your pet gets to its ACF appointment with everything it needs to move through the process safely and efficiently.

As of August 1st, 2024, only dogs vaccinated in the United States may enter at land borders from Canada or Mexico. U.S.-vaccinated dogs must still have all of the required paperwork ready with the port of entry listed on a valid CDC Dog Import Form receipt.

Dogs vaccinated outside of the U.S. must arrive by air at one of the CDC-registered ACFs.

Your dog’s microchip must be International Standards Organization (ISO) compatible. It can be from another country as long as it meets that ISO requirement. Check with your veterinarian or the microchip company to make sure. 

The CDC has reported issues scanning microchips that begin with the numbers 1 or 8. As the importer, you must make sure your dog’s microchip is scannable upon entry. 

Your pet may be denied entry if its microchip can’t be scanned on arrival. A pet transport company can help ensure that doesn’t happen.

There is not a limit on the number of dogs you can ship as long as all regulations are followed. Commercial importation of pets may be subject to additional regulations.

Please see the CDC’s page on what your dog needs to enter the United States between now and July 31, 2024. In general, if your dog appears healthy when arriving and you state that it has not been in a high-risk country for rabies in the past six months, your dog does not need a rabies vaccination. 

Dogs from high-risk countries must be at least 6 months old, appear healthy when arriving, have a valid rabies and microchip record, have an ISO-compatible microchip, and provide proof of an approved rabies vaccination.

They do not need to comply with the CDC regulations because they are not officially “entering” the United States.

Traveling from High-Risk Departure Countries

There are 109 countries considered high-risk for rabies by the CDC. The entire list is available on the CDC website.

While the CDC recommends that you start the process at least 8 weeks before travel, it’s important to consider all of the moving pieces involved with pet transport. Based on our experience moving thousands of pets, we strongly recommend starting the planning process at least 12 weeks before travel.

If you need a rabies titer sample, it must be taken at least 30 days after the dog’s initial vaccination. Results can take 3-5 weeks. Titers, or blood tests showing rabies immunity, have no expiration date as long as there has been no lapse in your dog’s vaccination history.

Even before the new rules came into effect, airlines had limited space for dogs traveling in-cabin and in cargo. Working with a pet shipping company can help you navigate each step of your timeline.

After Aug. 1, for dogs arriving from high-risk countries who had rabies vaccinations done in the United States, you’ll need the following required documents:

  • CDC Dog Import Form receipt: Importers — meaning you, as the dog owner — are responsible for filling out the online CDC Dog Import Form. The free forms will be made available starting July 15, 2024.
  • Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form: This must be completed by a USDA-accredited vet before the dog leaves the United States.

After Aug. 1, for dogs arriving from high-risk countries without a rabies vaccination history in the United States, you’ll need the following:

  • CDC Dog Import Form receipt
  • Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form: This must be filled out by the examining vet and certified by an official government vet in the exporting country. 
  • Confirmation letter for your appointment at a CDC-registered ACF

Rabies serology titer from a CDC-approved laboratory: If you’re unable to complete this step, your dog will be quarantined for 28 days at an ACF upon arrival.

For foreign-vaccinated dogs, the ACF where you’ve made an appointment will collect your pet directly from the cargo facility.

From there, the dogs get their required exam and revaccination for rabies. Assuming the pet gets a clean bill of health, facility staff submit the clearance to the CDC for final clearance through U.S. Customs.

A representative from the airline will fill out a post-entry form with you and then send your pet to the cargo facility. The ACF where you’ve made an appointment will collect your pet there. You will not be able to accompany your pet to the cargo facility or ACF during this process.

At the ACF, the dogs get their required exam and revaccination for rabies. Assuming the pet gets a clean bill of health, facility staff submit the clearance to the CDC for final clearance through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Once they clear customs, the pet is released back to its owner.

If your dog arrives with any missing documentation or doesn’t meet importation requirements, they may be denied entry and returned to their origin point at your expense.

In-cabin pets do not go through customs with their owners if they are coming from a high-risk country without a Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form. They go through the post-entry process described above.

There are no exemptions from the new requirements for service animals arriving by air. This includes military service dogs. Service dogs vaccinated in a foreign country may also arrive at a sea port if they have a valid rabies serology titer from a CDC-approved lab before arrival and meet the other requirements.

Most pets will be apart from their owners overnight on the day of arrival. If your arrival is on a holiday, weekend, or after 5 pm on a weeknight, their stay might be longer. 

If an ACF vet discovers a health issue when they get to the facility, their stay may be extended. If pet dogs arrive without the appropriate rabies serology titer results, they’ll be quarantined at a CDC-approved facility for 28 days.

Traveling from Low- or No-Risk Departure Countries

We recommend that you start planning your travel at least 8 weeks before departure. Even with origins in low- or no-risk countries, there are still a number of moving pieces to consider. 

You’ll need to ensure you’re working with an airline that has room for your pet. Airlines have limited space for dogs in-cabin and in cargo. A professional pet shipper can help you navigate each step more in the most efficient way possible.

After Aug. 1, for dogs arriving from low- or no-risk countries who had rabies vaccinations done in the United States, you’ll need the following:

  • CDC Dog Import Form receipt: Again, the pet owner or importer is responsible for filling out the online CDC Dog Import Form, even if you hire a pet shipper to help you with the process. 
  • Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form, OR 
  • An export health certificate endorsed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the dog’s age, microchip information, and the origin country or documents that the dog received a valid rabies vaccine in the U.S.

After Aug. 1, for dogs arriving from low- or no-risk countries without a rabies vaccination history in the United States, you’ll need the following:

  • CDC Dog Import Form receipt
  • Certification of Dog Arriving from a DMRVV-free or Low-Risk Country into the United States form and vet records from the last 6 months, OR 
  • Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form with a rabies serology titer or vet records from the last 6 months, OR

A foreign export certificate from an official vet with the dog’s age and microchip number and vet records from the last 6 months

Your dog doesn’t need a rabies titer before entering the U.S. if they have a history of U.S.-administered rabies vaccines. That health history must be documented on the Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form or USDA-endorsed export health certificate.

If they only have a history of foreign-administered rabies vaccines, your dog won’t need a rabies titer if you can provide the following: 

  • A Certification of Dog Arriving from DMRVV-free or Low-Risk Country into the United States form with vet records from the last 6 months OR 
  • A Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form with vet records from the last 6 months.

A rabies titer is an alternative if you don’t have access to 6 months of vet records to go along with that second form option.

Pets arriving from a low- or no-risk country are not required to work with a CDC-approved ACF. Pet transport remains a complicated process no matter where you’re coming from, though. A pet shipper like Tailwind Global Pet can dramatically reduce the stress involved with navigating fees, import paperwork, crate requirements, and more in pet transport and relocation.

Learn more about how we can plan your pet’s travel for a seamless experience.

Rabies Vaccination Questions

Yes, all dogs must be vaccinated for rabies before entering the United States with a completed Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form. This includes dogs from low-risk and rabies-free countries. 

It does matter where your dog gets its rabies vaccination. The CDC has given several reasons for the extra precautions, primarily that they hope to reduce the growing number of fraudulent or incomplete documentation cases.

They also aim to create standard guidelines for dog importation as an alternative to temporarily suspending dog imports from high-risk countries altogether. The end goal is to avoid the reintroduction of the canine rabies virus variant in the U.S. as a public health safety measure.

If your dog has a history of U.S.-administered vaccines, they’ll need to travel with a Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form completed by a USDA-accredited vet before leaving the U.S.

If your dog’s rabies vaccination history is from outside of the U.S., what follows depends on their origin country. If they’re coming from a low- or no-risk rabies country, they’ll need their CDC Dog Import Form receipt and one of the following: 

If they’re coming from a high-risk rabies country, the process is more complex. All dogs coming from a high-risk country without U.S.-administered vaccines will be revaccinated upon arrival. They’ll also need to get a rabies serology titer from a CDC-approved lab to avoid a 28-day quarantine upon arrival. This is all in addition to completing the Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form.

Revaccinating your dog soon after a recent vaccination is generally considered safe because the rabies shot is not a live virus vaccine. Some dogs may react to the vaccine with mild symptoms like fatigue or swelling at the injection site. Your veterinarian is your best resource if your dog has a history of allergic reactions to vaccines.

Why We’re The Best Animal Care Facility Around

Kennel Club LAX, our first-class boarding facility, isn’t just a place for your pets to rest and relax. It’s your best option for a CDC-approved ACF to make sure your arrival to the U.S. is as efficient and stress-free as possible.

Tailwind Global PetCompetitors
CDC-ApprovedDepends on the facility; only 7 CDC-approved boarding facilities exist in the entire United States
Over 40 years in business
Large boarding capacityOver 200 dogs per nightMany facilities have space for fewer than 50 dogs per night
Staffed 24/7/365
Vet on StaffDepends on the facility
Offers Full-Service International Pet Shipping ServicesWe have helped ship thousands of pets internationally and provide all the required paperwork, walking you through the process step-by-stepMany facilities do not offer full-service international pet shipping, which means you may have to work with multiple vendors to plan and schedule your pet’s travel
LocationConveniently located next to LAX, one of the 6 total ports that the CDC allows dog travel through from high-risk rabies countriesSome facilities require a drive outside of the airport, which can add to your pet’s total travel time
Multiple contact methods (e.g. online quotes, email, phone, Zoom meetings, WhatsApp) Depends on the facility

Get World-Class Support for Your Pet’s Travel

If you’re arriving in LAX, we have decades of experience helping pet owners navigate their pets’ arrival with care and ease. Our facility, Kennel Club LAX, is your best option for meeting CDC requirements upon arrival and giving your pet a safe rest stop before they’re reunited with you.

We know the new rules may complicate your travel plans. We’re here to support you through that process with first-class, personalized service every step of the way.