Uniting for ukraine dogs cats

Traveling with Pets

If you are travelling to the U.S. under the Uniting for Ukraine program, you may bring your pets with you. Prepare in advance to transport your pet in the U.S. Below you will find a summary of rules your pet has to comply with and tips how to make the journey less stressful for your pet.

United States Rules for Pet Import

Dogs

Dogs from Ukraine can be imported in the U.S. only with permission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because Ukraine is considered a country with high risk of rabies. Each adult can bring a maximum of two dogs, and the dogs must be at least 6 months old. If your dog spent the last 6 months in another country, check the list of countries with high risk of rabies to see if the below requirements apply.

CDC recommends that you apply for a dog import permit at least 8 weeks before travel. This means you have to vaccinate your dog from rabies approximately 13 weeks prior to your planned travel.

To apply for a CDC dog import permit:

  1. Microchip your dog if it is not microchipped yet. The microchip must be ISO-compatible (most vet clinics use these chips).
  2. After the dog is microchipped, vaccinate it from rabies. Have the veterinarian fill out a CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record. Make sure other vaccines are up to date if needed.
  3. At least 30 days after the rabies vaccine, test the dog for serologic titer at an approved laboratory. You can have the blood drawn at a vet clinic and request that it is sent to a CDC-approved laboratory for analysis. Ask for express processing if you need the results faster.
  4. Once you have the serologic titer, apply for CDC permit. Attach to your application:
    • CDC Rabies Vaccination and Microchip Record filled out by the veterinarian;
    • The serologic titer. If the documents are not in English, they must have a certified English translation;
    • Two clear photographs of your dog’s teeth (front view of upper and lower teeth and side view of upper and lower teeth); and
    • A photo of your passport.

The CDC permit you will receive is valid for entry from 14 days before until 90 days after your planned date of arrival indicated on the application.

Your dog must arrive at one of the 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station: Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), Washington DC Dulles (IAD).

You must re-vaccinate your dog from rabies within 10 days of arriving in the United States.

For more information, see How to Apply for CDC Dog Import Permit.

Cats

The United States does not impose special rules for cat import, however, if your cat appears to be ill, it may be inspected at the border. Make sure your cat has up-to-date vaccinations, including from rabies, and a health certificate from the veterinarian, is treated for parasites and is microchipped.

Airline Rules

Check pet travel rules of the airlines which you will use on the way to the United States. Do they charge extra fee for transporting a pet? Do they require additional documents regarding the pet’s health, such as a pet travel certificate? How long in advance do you need to register your pet for the flight? Are you allowed to bring the pet in the cabin of the airplane, or will your pet have to travel in cargo? Are there pet carrier size requirements? These rules are typically available on the airline’s website.

Transit Country Rules

If you are entering other countries on your way to the U.S., check those countries’ rules for pet import. If you have a short layover in another country without passing through customs and border control, then you are not entering that country and typically do not need to comply with its pet import rules. If you are passing through customs and border control, you and your pet are entering the country, and your pet needs to comply with that country’s pet import rules.

State Rules

Each U.S. state may impose its own rules regarding pet import, in addition to federal rules. Before travelling, make sure your pet complies with the rules of the state of your arrival and the state where you intend to live. Pet import rules for each state can be found at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/interstate-pet-travel.

Arrange a Comfortable Journey for Your Pet

Travel is stressful for animals. Make the journey as comfortable for your little one as possible.

  1. Socialize your pet. At the airport and during the flight, your pet will have to deal with a lot of strangers. If it is shy, try to introduce it to the concept of other people in advance, by taking or carrying it to busier places.
  2. Make sure your pet is comfortable in the carrier. Especially if you bought a new carrier compliant with the airline requirements, make sure your pet knows it and isn’t nervous in it. Train the pet by leaving it in the carrier for increasing periods of time. Put its favorite toys or other familiar things inside to make it feel more like home. Have calming spray handy if needed.
  3. Check if the airport has pet-friendly areas. If you are on a transatlantic flight for several hours straight, your pet will appreciate a quiet place at the airport where it can decompress a little.
  4. Research your place of arrival. If you are staying at a hotel or Airbnb, make sure it allows pets. Have food to feed your pet upon arrival. Research in advance where to buy more food and litter, if necessary, near the place where you stay.
  5. Make sure the carrier has a tag with your information including the phone number. This is especially important if your pet travels in cargo. Airlines occasionally misplace luggage – don’t let that happen to your pet!
  6. Prepare to go through security. You may be required to take your pet out of the carrier at the security check. If your pet is prone to running away, make sure it has a collar with the tag that has your information and the flight number. Have a picture of the pet on your phone. Clip your pet’s nails if it is prone to scratching when nervous.
  7. Feed your pet 5-6 hours before the flight. Do not feed your pet right before or during the journey as this may lead to bathroom accidents or nervous throwing up. However, have water and a portable water bowl available for your pet throughout the journey.
  8. On board, check with flight attendants that nobody around your seat is allergic. This applies especially to cats if they travel with you in the cabin. If your neighbors have cat allergies, flight attendants can re-arrange the seating.