US Live Animal Air Shipping Policy Changes


(Thursday, February 26, 2009)

A new directive regarding transporting live animals by air into/through the United States has been put into effect by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Effective February 1, 2009, the directive requires that all animals, including dogs, coming into the United States from overseas airports booked as manifest cargo—that is, not accompanied by a ticked passenger—must be tendered at their foreign origin airport by a "Regulated Agent" or "IATA-Approved Agent".

Parties NOT AFFECTED include:

  • Within the US, people (breeders, owners, etc.) either shipping their pets as cargo (i.e., not accompanied by a ticketed passenger) or traveling with their pets as excess luggage or in-cabin.
  • People traveling with their pets as excess luggage or in-cabin into the US from overseas airports. 
  • People shipping their pets from the US to a foreign country.

AFFECTED parties include:

  • People shipping pets as cargo not accompanied by a ticketed passenger into the US.
  • Individuals living overseas who want to send their pets back to the US as cargo not accompanied by a ticketed passenger.

These affected parties must now use the services of a registered/licensed shipping/cargo/freight agent or broker. Such agents are easy-to-find, as there are usually a number of them near major airports.

As always, individuals flying with a dog into the US should check with their airline to confirm its policies on live animals as excess baggage.

Developed after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the TSA is responsible for the security of all systems of transportation in the US. The new directive is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure all unaccompanied cargo coming into the US. TSA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information, please contact the US Transportation Security Administration at  (866) 289-9673 FREE or US Customs & Border Patrol at  (877) 227-5511 FREE.

For a public statement issued by US Customs & Border Patrol, please go here.