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Reminder Re: Changes to Application Process to Import Dogs Unimmunized Against Rabies into the U.S.

As you may know, under limited circumstances, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and PreventionORD_DogInspection_DerekSakris_2017.jpg (CDC) may issue a permit for a dog that has not received a rabies vaccination, to allow dogs into the United States when requested in advance and when specific criteria are met.

For those who may not be aware, the CDC announced changes to the application process to bring a dog that is unimmunized against rabies into the U.S. effective August 18, 2017.

Under these changes:
  • Dog owners or dog owner’s agents must apply online for a Permit to Import a Dog Inadequately Immunized against Rabies at least 10 business days before arriving into the United States with an unimmunized dog through this online system.
  • Permit applications to import an unimmunized dog are no longer available at the port of entry and no permits will be issued at the port of entry.
  • Unimmunized dogs arriving at a port of entry without an approved permit will be denied entry into the United States and re-exported to the country of origin at the owner's expense.
  • If a permit application is denied, applicants may submit an appeal for further review by CDC.
Rules that remain unchanged:
  • Unimmunized dog permits are only given to US residents (or dog owner/dog owner’s agent with a valid US address) and visitors staying 30 days or more in the United States. It takes 30 days for a dog to be fully immunized. CDC will not issue an unimmunized dog permit for a temporary visit less than 30 days.
  • This permit will include a confinement agreement, which is a legal document stating you will confine your dog in the United States until your dog is fully immunized against rabies.
How to Apply
Apply online at for a Permit to Import a Dog unimmunized against Rabies. Application Instructions for an Unimmunized Dog Permit can be accessed here:

Unimmunized Dog Permit Approval
CDC will review a permit application within 3–5 business days of receiving the application. If the application is approved, CDC will email the permit to the dog’s owner. Only one permit per dog, per trip. You must provide a printed copy of your permit to a US Customs and Border Protection officer and your dogs will be inspected to confirm they are healthy and that the documentation reflects the age and look of the dog.

Standard Rabies Vaccination Requirements
Aside from the limited exceptions mentioned above, CDC regulations require that dogs must be fully immunized against rabies before being imported into the U.S. from a country where rabies is present. These requirements apply equally to all dogs, including puppies and service animals. The rabies vaccination must be administered no earlier than 12 weeks of age of the dog and at least 30 days before arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Therefore, the youngest that a puppy may be imported to the U.S. is 4 months of age. All dogs must be accompanied by a current, valid rabies vaccination certificate.

Dogs that have never been vaccinated against rabies must be vaccinated at least 30 days before arrival. Adult dogs older than 15 months of age that previously received a rabies vaccination given no earlier than 3 months of age and that has since expired may be imported immediately after booster vaccination, without the need to wait 30 days.

Other Regulations
Please note that owners/agents must also comply with regulations from both the US Department of Agriculture and your destination state. See ASPHIS’ Pet Travel site

To avoid disappointment at the border, breeders that transport dogs to the US are encouraged to confirm all importation rules and regulations prior to finalizing a contract with puppy buyers.

For questions about this notice or CDC’s import regulations view If you have additional questions, please contact CDC’s Importation and Animal Contact Team at
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