Helpful Resources for Traveling With Pets

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that more than 40% of U.S. households now have at least one dog as a member of their family and 35% of households have at least one cat. Our firm loves all our fur-children and we know many people around the world love theirs as well. When a foreign national begins planning their move to the United States whether temporarily or permanently, they not only have to consider how they will move the rest of their human family but also have to place considerable thought into how they will move their non-human family both safely and legally.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates how a dog may be brought into the United States. The CDC has determined that certain countries are free of rabies while other countries are not. People bringing in dogs from a country that has been designated as rabies-free will not have to provide a valid rabies vaccination certificate prior to entering the U.S. For a current list of countries and localities considered to be rabies-free by the CDC please see the list on the CDC website.

However, individual states within the U.S. have their own rules as do local counties within individual states. Therefore, not only must a pet parent comply with federal law for the importation of their non-human companions, but they must also remember to comply with state and local rules where they intend to live.

We have created a non-exhaustive list of some useful links to help you navigate the process of bringing your furry family members to the United States:

Sunil C. Patel is an experienced immigration attorney and himself a first-generation immigrant. Formerly a managing attorney with a multinational immigration and corporate law firm, he now focuses his practice exclusively in immigration law at his own law firm, Sunil C. Patel Immigration Law, LLC. To schedule a consultation, please call (770) 756-6056 or visit You can also schedule an appointment by selecting an available time on his calendar.