Are you planning to travel with your dog or cat? If your trip involves either driving across state lines or flying with your pet, you may need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI).
You should obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection from your veterinarian prior to a trip. A CVI is a legal document that certifies that your veterinarian has seen your pet and that your pet complies with the destination’s rules for the importation of companion animals and equines (including horses and donkeys). The Certificate of Veterinary Inspection is valid for thirty days after your veterinarian signs it. There are also CVIs for livestock that are even more stringent than those for pets.
Typically, this certifies that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies; some states require that it also indicates that your pet has been free of rabies exposure (no rabies reported in your area) and possibly that your pet is free from clinical signs of contagious or communicable diseases.
Varying State Regulations on the CVI
Sometimes referred to as an Official Health Certificate or a Health Certificate, the CVI often is not required for pets entering fairs and exhibits, such as a dog show or cat show, or pets that are transferred for vet care or to educational or research facilities. The CVI is usually required for vacationing pets from other states.
If you are planning a trip with your pets to any of the following states, make a note of the special requirements and exemptions.
- You won't need CVIs for your dogs or cats if you are heading to California.
- Georgia does not usually require CVIs for dogs or cats, unless they are entering the state to be traded, sold, or otherwise exchanged for compensation. These CVIs should be issued within thirty days of the trip. Pets that are traveling by commercial carrier in Georgia must have a CVI issued no more than ten days before shipment.
- Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania do not require CVIs for cats, but do require them for dogs.
- Maine only requires CVIs for dogs or cats that are brought into the state for resale, adoption or exhibition. In such cases, the pet must also be accompanied by an entry permit.
- If you are moving to Texas with your dog or cat, you won't need a CVI, but if are flying in by commercial carrier, you will have to comply with the airline's health certificate requirements.
- In most cases, Washington does require a CVI for dogs and cats, except for family pets that have recent rabies vaccination certificates and are traveling in the family's private vehicle.
You can find more information about the rules and regulations regarding CVIs on the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Flying With Your Pet
Flying with your pet means that you will also need to comply with the airline’s rules on the health certificate. At present, most airlines do not require health certificates for pets flying in-cabin at your feet, but do require them for those pets that are checked. Talk with your airline at booking to confirm the most recent regulations regarding the airline’s policy.
International Travel with Your Pet
If you are planning an international trip, you will need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection as well as any other paperwork required by the country or countries you will be visiting, so begin those plans well in advance. As superstars like Justin Bieber and Johnny Depp have found out with their respective monkey and dogs, not all countries allow travelers to bring their pets, so always check ahead before booking. If it can happen to the Biebs, it can happen to you!