Off to the USA for a long time or immigrating there to live permanently but you have babies along you don’t want to leave? What I mean of precious babies are your lovely pets. I have Captain Ahab and Zissou, and they’ve been traveling with us and can’t seem to leave them for a long time. As pet parents, if we relocate, we bring the whole family, including our fur babies.
Bringing a pet to the United States is not an easy venture. It’s a bit more challenging than getting your own US visa because you need requirements and your pets must be in good condition to travel too.
So if you’re planning to travel with your pets from the Philippines to the USA, you’re in the right course as we will be discussing with you this issue.
When you decide to go to travel with your pet, consider the options on how to transfer him/her: via air travel (via 13 to 16 hours max) or via ship. You can go together on the same flight, you both have different ones, or you use a carrier to bring your baby to the US.
Discuss also with your veterinarian if it is okay to travel with your pet. They will be there to give you good advice if they are healthy to do so or if they are not, maybe give them vitamins or medicine to make them better recommend another timeline.
I highly suggest doing a non-stop flight as your pet as your pets will be more stressed in transferring from a plane to another and your pet might be placed in a hot place with all the luggage, plus might you might need to pass documents in the country you are in transit.
Here are the Requirements in exporting dog and cats as per Bureau of Animal Industry
- Valid health certificate issued by NVQS (National Veterinary Quarantine Services Division) or Licensed Private Veterinary Practitioner
- The Veterinary Health Certificate form must be printed. Likewise, the entries must be typewritten.
- If the dog or cat was vaccinated against rabies by the veterinarian issuing the health certificate, the space provided for the vaccination details must be duly accomplished.
- If the dog or cat was vaccinated by a veterinarian other than the one issuing the health certificate, the phrase provided. However, a photocopy of the rabies vaccination record should be attached to the health certificate and with the original vaccination certificate presented to the NVQS.
- The health certificate should bear the name (typewritten or computerized) and signature of the veterinarian. Other pertinent information which includes the PTR, PRC number with its expiry date and TIN must be indicated.
- Updated vaccination record against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and parvovirus for dogs; and feline panleukopenia for cats
- The animal should have been vaccinated against rabies not earlier than 91 days since birth. Likewise, they should have been vaccinated not more than one year but not less than 30 days
- ISO 15 digit non-encrypted microchip identification number
- Rabies Neutralization Antibody Test
- The animal must be presented to the office for inspection. In lieu of this, the applicant must present a valid health certificate using the form that you can download at www.bai.da.gov.ph and issued by a licensed private veterinary practitioner not more than three days from the date of presentation. The original copy shall be submitted to NVQS.
- In filling up the application form the flight details which include the name of the airline, flight number, and the date and time of departure, must be indicated.
- All dogs for export to the USA must be accompanied by a certificate signed by an Official Veterinarian stating that the dog has been inspected and found to be free from screwworm within five (5) days before the date of departure. This will be the basis on the issuance of the Veterinary Health Certificate (Export Certificate) which will be valid for Ten (10) days. The only screwworm certified free dogs will be allowed to enter the USA.
Please also check the additional requirements per state of the USA.
Additional requirements for dogs or cats traveling to Hawaii or Guam from the Philippines from the BAI Memorandum 12/13/2011:
- The pet must have been vaccinated at least two times for rabies.
- They must be administered more than 30 days apart.
- The most recent rabies vaccination must be done not more than the vaccine’s booster interval and not less than 90 days before the pet’s date of arrival.
- The dog must have an electronic microchip implanted (required before a Rabies blood test is performed).
- An OIE-FAVN Rabies blood test is required. It must be done at an approved lab (Kansas State University or the DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas).
- The day after the KAU’s or DOD’s receipt of the blood sample must not be more than 38 months and not less than 120 days before the date of arrival. The result must be greater than or equal to 0.5 IU/ml.
- Following a successful OIE-FAVN test result, animals must wait at least 120 days before arriving in Hawaii. If arrival occurs before 120 days has elapsed, the animal is subject to quarantine until 120 days is completed.
- The pet must be treated by a veterinarian for ticks with a product containing Fipronil or an equivalent long-acting product within 14 days of arrival.
As for the airline, Philippine Airlines is recommended as they have non-stop flights to the USA, which is less stressful for pets.
The following data are from the Philippine Airlines website.
Pets such as dogs, cats, and birds, if and when they are acceptable for carriage as baggage should:
- Be placed in a secure and leak-proof container
- Have valid vaccination certificates and exit and/or entry permits from the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry, Animal Health Division (AHD), Diliman, Quezon City. Visit their website at bai.gov.ph for more information.
- Be accompanied by passengers at least 12 years old.
- Inform Philippine Airlines at least 48 hours before your flight with regards to your pets
Philippine Airlines only accepts Emotional Support Dogs, not any other pets. The passenger must provide to current documentation (not more than one-year-old) on letterhead from a mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the passenger’s mental health-related disability stating:
- The Passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM IV)
- The Passenger needs the emotional support of psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination
- The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional or medical doctor, and the Passenger is under his or her professional care AND
- The date and type of mental health professional’s or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued
Note: All brachycephalic or mixed-breeds of snub-nosed dogs will not be accepted for transport as check-in baggage since these animals are susceptible to increased risk of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or heat. However, it does not apply to service and emotional support dogs with the passenger in the cabin.
Pets are not included in the free baggage allowance, and thus shall be considered as automatic excess baggage even if the passenger does not have any other baggage. Charges for the carriage of pets for piece system shall be as follows:
- Pet and container measuring 203cms (80in) or less and weighing not more than 23kgs (50lbs) shall be charged 200% of the applicable excess baggage rate.
- Pet and container measuring over 203cms (80in) and weighing up to 45kgs or fraction thereof shall be charged 300% of the applicable excess baggage rate.
- For each additional 10kg over 45kg or fraction thereof, 100% of the applicable excess baggage charge shall apply.
- The total resulting amount shall be multiplied by two (2) to come up with the total excess baggage charge.
Before the Flight
Practice and Shop
If your pet is flying with you on cargo, make sure he is comfortable since it’s going to be a long flight. Buy food or blankets or bring his favorite stuffed animal. You can also practice putting him on cargo while you are driving around or put him in a dark place so that he/she won’t get shocked when up in the air.
If your carrier is too small, you might want to buy a new one. Don’t forget to put “Live Animal” sticker on your cage and your pet’s name and picture, flight details and your details in case your pet will get lost. Some even put a card for the crew to read. Like “Hello! I am Captain Ahab; it’s my first time flying, so I’m a bit nervous. Please take care of me.” It’s cute and effective.
Have an appointment with your veterinarian to check whether your pet is good to go. Talk about safe options to keep your pet calm during the flight. Sometimes a pet that looks sick won’t be allowed in the US, so you need to make sure they are on top shape. Check the vaccinations as well as bring your certificates and his record.
Notify the airline at least 48 hours before you are traveling with your pet so that they could accommodate you both. Notify as many as possible so that you’ll both be safe and comfortable.
The day of the Flight
Feed your pet a light meal a few hours before the flight, not too much because his/her stomach might not feel well. Take him for a walk and some exercise too. You can freeze food or water to have a minimum mess in your pet’s carrier. Give him a big kiss and hug because he’ll be alone for half a day.
Claim your pets! Let the authorities check him, if your pet is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.
If it’s already okay, Congratulations. Your pet has successfully traveled from the Philippines to the USA. It is indeed an amazing moment to be living in a country with your little babies, I terribly miss them when I’m traveling solo. Not seeing them for more than half a year would break my heart. So it is really a great feeling to have your pets live with you! I wish you both the best!
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