When traveling to and from the United States, a passport is a necessity. Without it, you cannot regain entry into the country. This vital document proves your citizenship along with your name, address, date of birth, photo, sex, nationality, and signature. Given humans need this documentation, what about pets? Do pets need a US passport? Yes, indeed they do.
If you’re planning on traveling with a pet out of the country, you must obtain a pet passport, but how much does it cost? In this guide, we’ll explore pet passports and other pertinent information to help you be prepared.
The Importance of Obtaining a US Pet Passport
As we’ve stated, you need a passport to regain entry into the United States, and our pets are not exempt from this rule. All countries have their own rules and protocols, and the documents required may vary from country to country. Obtaining a US pet passport is paramount if you want your pet to travel with you.
A pet passport proves your pet is fit and healthy to travel. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), a pet is considered a dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, rodent, hedgehog, reptile, amphibian, or bird. Some birds are considered poultry, such as chickens, ducks, geese, etc. In that case, you must meet specific import and export requirements. Another rule for traveling with pets is that the pet must be a privately-owned companion and not intended for resale or research.
How Much Does a US Pet Passport Cost?
Many factors come into play that determine the cost of a US pet passport, such as the veterinarian you visit to obtain the passport, your pet’s species, and where you will be traveling to and from. Your pet will generally require a health certificate and rabies vaccine to enter the United States. It’s important to note that dogs coming from countries that are considered to be high risk for rabies are under a temporary suspension of entry until July 31, 2023. Keep in mind that only mammals require the rabies vaccine, which excludes birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
To get an idea of costs, let’s break down the general requirements you need to obtain a US pet passport. Some of these tests and vaccines are not required, depending on your pet’s species and what country you are traveling to, but you can at least get a general idea.
|$1–$20 for a 1-year shot
|$35–$50 for a 3-year shot
The rabies vaccine must be indicated in your pet’s passport and administered by a USDA-accredited veterinarian less than 12 months before re-entry.
Health certificates vary greatly depending on what country you are traveling to. Health certificates must be endorsed by the USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The fees are as follows:
|Number of lab tests (non-vaccine)
|Number of Pets
|Associated Fee Per Certificate
|$38 per certificate
|2 or more
|$121 for the first pet plus $7 for each additional pet on the same certificate
|2 or more
|$150 for the first pet plus $12 for each additional pet on the same certificate
|7 or more
|7 or more
|2 or more
|$173 for the first pet plus $14 for each additional pet on the same certificate
Note that not all countries allow multiple pets on one health certificate. In these cases, the fee for a single pet will apply to each certificate. There is also no charge for service animals.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Pinpointing additional costs is almost impossible because the varying cost will depend on what country you are traveling to and what pet species you have. All countries have their own rules and regulations regarding pets, and you’ll need to check the requirements beforehand to ensure you have everything in place and all necessary tests completed.
However, here is a list of possible tests that must be completed.
|Rabies blood tests:
|Tapeworm (dogs only):
How Long Does It Take to Get a US Pet Passport?
Getting a US pet passport could take a few weeks to a few months. The timeframe will be determined by how many tests are required and what country you are visiting. Your veterinarian can give you a better estimate of the time it will take. That said, it’s best to start inquiring what the requirements are as soon as possible once you know where you are going as this can reduce stress—the sooner you start getting everything in order, the better.
Does Pet Insurance Cover US Passports?
If you have pet insurance, your plan may help cover any expenses you incur, such as certain tests and vaccines. They may reimburse you for the vet exam itself, but this all depends on the pet plan you have. For example, some pet insurance companies offer accident and illness plans with the option of adding on a wellness plan. If you have a wellness plan, odds are your pet insurance will reimburse you according to the way your pet insurance is structured.
Obtaining a US pet passport is a necessity if you plan on traveling with your pet. Ensure you make an appointment with your veterinarian and inform your vet where you are traveling to. That way, they can help you learn the timeframe and what tests and vaccines are required. Ensure you go through a USDA-accredited veterinarian for all necessary requirements for the pet passport.
- Related Read: How Much Does a Canadian Pet Passport Cost?
Featured Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock