The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the “Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from High-Risk Rabies Countries.” Through this notice, CDC is informing the public that, effective July 14, 2021, it is temporarily suspending the importation of dogs from countries classified by CDC as high risk for dog rabies, and countries that are not at high risk if the dogs have been in high-risk countries during the previous 6 months.
This temporary action is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of canine rabies virus variant (dog rabies) into the United States.
Dr. Emily Pieracci of the CDC told US News Outlet NPR that during 2020, the CDC discovered over 450 cases of dogs arriving to the US from certain countries with false vaccination certificates, prompting the agency to issue the emergency order.
Last year, the CDC identified a significant increase compared with the previous 2 years in the number of imported dogs that were denied entry into the United States from high-risk countries. Due to reduced flight schedules, dogs denied entry are facing longer wait times to be returned to their country of departure, leading to illness and even death in some cases.
CDC estimates 6% of all dogs imported into the United States arrive from countries at high risk for dog rabies. Inadequately vaccinated dogs are not protected against rabies and are a public health threat. Rabies is fatal in both humans and animals, and the importation of even one rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets, and wildlife. Dog rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007. This suspension will protect the health and safety of imported dogs by preventing importations of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies and will protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of dog rabies.
CDC has coordinated with other federal agencies and entities as necessary to implement this action, and CDC will review this suspension periodically.
Dogs from high-risk countries may be imported only with CDC’s advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit), including dogs imported from a country NOT at high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country during the previous 6 months. Such approvals may be granted on a limited case-by-case basis at CDC’s discretion. If your request for advance approval to import a dog is denied, CDC’s written denial will constitute final agency action. No appeals will be allowed.
To request advance written approval, you must follow the instructions at How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit and send an email to CDC at [email protected], at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to enter the United States. Requests cannot be made at the port of entry upon arrival into the United States. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without advance written approval from CDC will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense.
All dogs from high-risk countries granted advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) must enter the United States at a port of entry with a live animal care facility with a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-issued Facilities Information and Resource Management System (FIRMS) code. At the time of publication of the FRN, the only approved facility is located at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. CDC will update the list of approved ports of entry at this website as they become available.
Americas & Caribbean
- Belize, Bolivia, Brazil
- Colombia, Cuba
- Dominican Republic
- Ecuador, El Salvador
- Guatemala, Guyana
- Haiti, Honduras
Asia, the Middle East, Europe
- Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan
- Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Brunei
- Cambodia, China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan)
- India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq
- Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan
- Laos, Lebanon
- Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma)
- Nepal, North Korea
- Pakistan, Philippines
- Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria
- Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkey, Turkmenistan
- Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan
- Algeria, Angola
- Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi
- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti
- Egypt (Temporary importation suspension of dogs from Egypt until further notice)
- Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia
- Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau
- Lesotho, Liberia, Libya
- Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique
- Namibia, Niger, Nigeria
- Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
- Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan
- Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Togo, Tunisia
- Western Sahara
- Zambia, Zimbabwe
If a country or political unit is not listed above, it is not considered high risk for importing dog rabies into the United States. Therefore, if the country is not listed, CDC strongly recommends a rabies vaccine certificate, but it is not required to enter the United States.
If you want to learn more about how the United States determines risk for importing dog rabies, visit CDC’s Rabies Branch. To learn your risk for rabies as a traveler, see Travelers’ Health.