Health Certificates

international and domestic health certificates in PA for dogs and cats

Our doctors at Smithfield Animal Hospital are accredited by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to complete international health certificates for the import of pets to a foreign country.

We know that traveling internationally with a pet can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Regulations for international pet travel vary greatly by destination and change frequently. The documentation and medical requirements can be quite complicated and time-sensitive.

Each country has different requirements for the importation of pets. They may also require certain vaccines and even a microchip, so it's important to fully understand what you'll need for travel, especially for international travel. You can find a full list of requirements for the importation of pets into a foreign country at APHIS' website.

If you know you will be traveling with your pet into another country, make sure to get started on the paperwork as soon as possible. We recommend starting this process 6 months in advance since certain countries require tests, such as the FAVN rabies titer test, that can take up to a month to get the results back.

After scheduling your consultation appointment for an International Health Certificate, make sure to prepare for your visit.

Please bring any records you may have. It's a good idea to make extra copies and keep them on hand during your travels.

Make sure you are aware of the requirements for your destination country. Smithfield Animal Hospital requires an initial consultation appointment prior to travel for the purpose of helping you with this. If the requirements are not met, you may be denied entry, or your pet may be quarantined at the border.

Leave enough time for any vaccines, microchipping and paperwork you'll need. The certificate is required within 10 days of travel for most countries. You cannot apply for a certificate on the day before or the day of international travel.

Please note that any fees associated with vaccinations, microchip implantation, and/or other medical treatments or tests required for your pet’s travel are separate from the health certificate and exam fee. If you will be traveling with your pet, please give us a call so that we can help you understand any costs that may be associated with this process.


USDA, APHIS, VS, Veterinary Export Trade Services
2300 Vartan Way, Suite 250
Harrisburg, PA 17110
[email protected]

Your signed international health certificate may need to be endorsed by the USDA APHIS-VS Office which is located at the address above. Endorsement requirements vary by destination country. There are three methods for endorsement:

  • In-person: Make an appointment for endorsement to ensure that it is done within your travel time constraints. Your pet does not need to be with you. Ensure that you have the original signed copy and supporting documents with you at this appointment.
  • Electronically (our preferred method): Some countries will accept paperwork that is endorsed electronically. In these instances, our clinic can electronically submit international health certificates to the USDA for endorsement. This allows for faster turnaround time.
  • By mail: You can overnight, priority, or express mail your signed international health certificate and supporting documents through FedEx, USPS or UPS. Ensure that you include a pre-paid return label in your outgoing envelope so that the USDA can mail the endorsed certificate back to you promptly. You also need to include a form of payment for the endorsement fee. Checks payable to the USDA and credit/debit card are accepted – cash generally is not. Please check the USDA website our call their office for the most current information on fees and/or other costs.

You will need to bring the following supporting documents (please check the USDA website for the most current information on necessary documentation for the country you are traveling to):

  • Signed international health certificate
  • Signed rabies vaccination certificates for any rabies vaccination listed on the health certificate
  • Signed complete vaccination record
  • Microchip certification form (if required)
  • Any other documents required by the importing country

Please be aware that all these forms must be originals, usually signed in blue ink. Copies are generally not accepted. Because requirements for international travel change frequently, we strongly recommend visiting the USDA website or calling the office prior to following these instructions to ensure that you are abiding by the most up to date rules and regulations.