Traveler Story: Here’s What To Know When Moving Abroad With A Pet
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of @Planetnehemiah.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of @Planetnehemiah.

Traveler Story: Here’s What To Know When Moving Abroad With A Pet

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Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Jul 22, 2022

Moving internationally already takes a lot of planning for humans, but when you try moving pets abroad, things can be a little more challenging.

“The process to get my dog, Bella, out of the country was cumbersome,” Sadie Jordan, an expat living in Costa Rica with her Shih Tzu, Bella, tells Travel Noire. “There were a lot of steps, and while it’s not difficult, you definitely have to plan ahead.”

Jordan, who spends her time between Costa Rica and the U.S. takes Bella along for all her adventures.

Here’s what she says is important to know before moving abroad with a pet.

Plan Ahead

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What you need for your pet depends on your destination and your origin country.

Keep in mind that every country is different.

Sadie says in Costa Rica, she had to prove her dog was up to date with the vaccines needed, and she was dewormed.

A rabies vaccine, proof that your pet is dewormed, and microchips are required in most countries you plan to travel or move to.

The age of the pet can also play a role.  In France, for example, pets must be at least 12 weeks old to enter the country.

Health Certificate From A USDA-Accredited Veterinarian

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Most countries require a health certificate from a USDA-accredited veterinarian.

“The health certificate proves that your dog is in good shape,” says Jordan. “It shows that your pet is healthy and meets the qualifications for entry. This was the most stressful part of it.”

Once you get the health certificate, the next step is to have it endorsed for a fee that starts at $38, as the USDA explains.

If incorrect, your pet may be quarantined, or worse: the country may deny entry.

Veterinarian Services

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Before moving, you want to research if there’s a veterinarian your pet can see for all of its health needs.

One of the best resources in finding a veterinarian may be closer than you think.  Asking your current veterinarian for a recommendation is one of the best options.

RELATED: A Complete Guide To Traveling With Your Pet

Another resource? Expat forums and social media groups, especially if users are residing in the country you plan to relocate to.

“One thing that I love in Costa Rica is that vet services are not as expensive as they are in the U.S,” says Jordan. Bella is really taken care of at her veterinarian’s office here.”

Apply Ahead of Departure

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Some countries will all you to apply for entry with your pet ahead of time.   When navigating through your destination’s requirements on the USDA website, you may notice what they call green or red banner countries.

If it’s a green banner country, it means that accredited veterinarians can submit health certificates for USDA online.

If it’s an orange banner country, it means the process can be started online, but the final, endorsed health certificate that travels with the animal must be mailed back to you.


Don't Forget To Check With Your Airline

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Be sure to check with your airline when traveling with an animal.

Airlines may have separate or additional requirements for each destination.

Save This Resource

The USDA website is the best resource for navigating a move or vacation with a pet.

They have a comprehensive website that breaks down the requirements for each country, including coming back to the U.S.

You can access it by clicking here. 

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