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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced changes to the application process to import a dog inadequately immunized against rabies.  Effective August 18, 2017, an importer must apply online for a Permit to Import a Dog Inadequately Immunized Against Rabies at least 10 days before arriving into the United States with the dog. 

Permit applications to import an inadequately immunized dog will no longer be available at the port of entry and no permits will be issued at the port of entry.  Inadequately immunized dogs arriving at a port of entry without an approved permit will be denied entry into the United States and exported to its country of origin at the owner’s expense. 

Permit applications submitted online will be reviewed within 3-5 business days of receipt of application.  If the application is approved, a permit will be emailed to the owner or their agent.  The owner/agent must present the permit to the Customers and Border Protection agent at the first arriving port of entry into the U.S.  The permit will be collected by the agent and sent to CDC. 

The new requirement also provides for an appeals process if the permit application is denied. 

Rules already in place regarding the confinement of an inadequately immunized dog upon entry into the United States are not changed by this new application process. 

This change does not impact the ability of an owner or owner’s agent to import a dog into the United States that has a valid rabies vaccination certificate.  Rabies vaccination is required for all dogs entering the United States from a country where rabies is present.  Dogs that have never been vaccinated against rabies must be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to arrival.  Adult dogs older than 15 months of age that have previously received a rabies vaccination given no earlier than three months of age and that has since expired may be imported immediately following booster vaccination, without the need to wait for 30 days.  Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before three months of age, so the youngest that a puppy can be imported into the United States is four months of age.  Dogs imported into the U.S. must be accompanied by a current, valid rabies vaccination certificate.  These requirements apply to all dogs, including service animals such as guide dogs for the blind.

The American Kennel Club continues to support ongoing measures to ensure that the importation of dogs into the United States does not threaten the health and safety of Americans or their pets.  For more information on importation requirements, go to; or contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or at