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Chicago Pet Health Certificates for Pet Travel

Traveling with your pet can be stressful! The sooner you begin the process of investigating the requirements of your destination, the less hectic and more comfortable the process will be for both you and ymetrovet-dog-travelour pet.

A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) is often called a “Health Certificate”. A pet health certificate is a document that includes pertinent information about your pet and their health. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection typically shows not only your pet’s information (e.g. name, age, if they are microchipped etc) but also that your pet has received recommended vaccinations, is not showing signs of infectious, contagious or communicable disease, and is healthy for travel. The veterinarians at Metropolitan Veterinary Center in Chicago are certified by the USDA and can provide exams and sign the documents for international travel.  However, it is the responsibility of the pet’s agent to gather the correct documents, know what documents are required and that they are completed timely.

We have included information here to help you prepare for your pet’s trip. It is the agents responsibility to check the specific regulations for the destination of travel with the United States Department of Agriculture. Their website can be found by clicking here.

If you are traveling within the United States:

Unbeknownst to many pet parents, dogs and cats who cross most state borders are required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to meet certain entry requirements (regardless of what an airline may require and even when driving!). While every state has different requirements for best friends crossing state borders, most states require one of two things, if not both: a pet health certificate, and a certificate stating that your pet is current on vaccinations, such as rabies (a rabies certificate must include the vaccine serial number, tag number, and manufacturer). Additionally, rabies tags should be worn on your pet’s collar. If your pet is due for a rabies vaccine, we can administer the vaccine at the time of your pet’s appointment.

Please Note: If you are traveling to Hawaii, please see the section regarding International Health Certificates.

In addition, if your pet will be traveling in an airplane’s cargo, an acclimation certificate is required. Once your pet is deemed healthy for travel, we can provide you with this documentation as well.

When you are flying, before you schedule your appointment, check with your carrier and the state(s) you are traveling to; find out how long they will honor the health certificate after the date of issuance. Most airlines require pet health certificates that are no older than 10 days. Once again, always make sure to contact the carrier you will be flying with to verify any special requirements.

If you are traveling somewhere outside the United States (or Hawaii):

Please, please, PLEASE! We cannot stress enough, the sooner you begin the process of investigating the requirements of your destination country, the better!

We strongly encourage you use a pet travel agency such as, Pets in Transit, that is not only familiar with, but has experience with the constantly changing regulations for pets to travel outside of the United States or Hawaii.  The cost for this service will greatly reduce the stress of preparing for travel.

Exporting your pet(s) can vary greatly in processing time and conditions depending on the importing country. There are usually special stipulations in regards to breed, vaccines, de-worming treatments, microchips, and/or quarantine prior to entry. The types of documents required for travel also vary greatly. For example, some countries will ask that health certificates and other documents be translated to the country’s language of origin. While we are more than happy to assist you, it is ultimately the pet owner’s responsibility to investigate the specific requirements of his/her destination country. You will also want to check with your airline carrier to ensure that they do not have any additional requirements. Please inform us of your travel plans as early as possible so that we can ensure that your travels go as smoothly as possible.

Other Helpful Links and Information:

The USDA recommends scheduling your appointment for stamping/Federal Endorsement of your International Health Certificate approximately 10 days prior to you date of travel. Questions regarding specific requirements of travel should be directed to the office of the APHIS Area Veterinarian-In-Charge, Dr. Kathleen J. Burda.

USDA: APHIS Guidelines for animal export>

Export FAQ>

Des Plaines Office Contact Information:

2300 E. Devon Ave., Suite 220
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Office: (847) 699-2450
Fax: (847) 699-2463
Cell: (224) 217-8709

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm local time

Hours for Health Certificate Endorsement:
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm (appointment required)

APHIS Area Office Information:

3410 Hedley Road
Springfield, IL 62711

Main Phone: (217) 547-6030
Fax: (217) 547-6031