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Pet Import Requirements for Hawaii

Hawaii is Different!

Hawaii is rabies-free. Their quarantine law is designed to protect residents and pets from potentially serious health problems associated with the introduction and spread of rabies. All dogs and cats, regardless of age (puppies and kittens included) or purpose, must comply with Hawaii’s dog and cat import requirements, which can be very strict.

While the requirements can be stringent and seem daunting, Hawaii does offer a 5-day-or-less quarantine program for dogs and cats meeting specific pre- and post-arrival requirements. If you can plan early enough your pet may qualify for this program which includes a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection. If you can’t or don’t meet these3 requirements, Hawaiian law requires all dogs and cats to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii. More information on this is in the quarantine section below.

For pets returning home to Hawaii to avoid extended quarantine they must meet all requirements listed on the Checklist for pets returning to Hawaii. The length of the waiting period after a successful rabies blood test is modified and must be completed before leaving Hawaii.

Before you begin this process for your travel to Hawaii, one very important question needs to be answered and that is, if your pet is a dog, whether the breed of your furry friend is allowed on the island in the first place. It may seem odd since Hawaii is part of the United States, but because Hawaii is an island state, it has many unique and demanding requirements, including the following breed based restrictions:

Non-domestic dogs and cats and hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross, Dingo, Bengal, Savannah, etc. are prohibited from entry to Hawaii.

Now that you know your breed is allowed in Hawaii, here’s what you’ll need to do:

 

Contact your Vet                                                                                                              

The first step is always to contact your vet to ensure your pet is safe to travel.  Some breeds of dogs and cats should not fly and are not accepted on most airlines.  Your local vet can also assist you with the process, paperwork, and vaccinations necessary for international travel. 

 

Identification 

Hawaii requires your pet to be microchipped prior to the Blood Titer Test. The microchip can be of the standard US type or a 15 digit ISO pet microchip that is non-encrypted. The certificate from your veterinarian must include the number of the microchip and must indicate that the veterinarian was able to scan the chip successfully.

 

Vaccination Requirements:  

Your pet’s most recent vaccination must have been administered no less than 90 days prior to arrival in Hawaii. Two original copies of vaccination certificates must accompany your pet to Hawaii. Your dog, or cat must have been vaccinated at least twice in its lifetime for rabies and those vaccinations must be more than 90 days apart.

 

Other Vaccinations

A Blood Titer Test is required for all dogs and cats entering Hawaii unless they are arriving from the British Isles, Australia, Guam or New Zealand. This test must be conducted at least 120 days and less than 36 months prior to travel to Hawaii, and must be after the microchip has been implanted.

To be considered be valid, tests must be conducted at Kansas State University or DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas and the results submitted directly to Hawaii so make sure to indicate that on your test form. Assuming acceptable results, the test is valid for entering Hawaii for 36 months.

Within 14 days of your arrival in Hawaii, your pet must be treated with an accepted long-acting product labeled to kill ticks.

Certifications and other paperwork

A Notarized Dog and Cat Import Form (AQS 278) is required for entry to Hawaii. One completed form per pet is required to be submitted along with all pre-arrival documents (Two Rabies Vaccination Certificates, Health Certificate, Pre-payments) NO LESS THAN 10 DAYS BEFORE PET ARRIVES IN HAWAII TO QUALIFY FOR 5-DAY-OR-LESS or AIRPORT RELEASE.  If the health certificate cannot be sent 10 days before arriving with the rest of the documents, the original must be given to the inspector upon arrival in Hawaii.

A licensed veterinarian must complete a Veterinary Certificate for Hawaii in English. It must be an original - no photocopies are allowed. This certificate must be issued by your veterinarian not more than 14 days prior to your pet's arrival to Hawaii.

There is a fee for processing the documents. The documents and check must arrive 10 days before the pet's arrival. Since the documents cannot be prepared by your veterinarian more than 14 days prior to arrival you must send them by Federal Express to qualify for airport release of the pet.

All documentation should be sent to:

Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Animal Quarantine Station
99-951 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602

Hawaii’s Quarantine

Dogs and cats meeting specific pre- and post-arrival requirements may qualify for 5-day–or-less quarantine program, which has a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection.

Hawaiian Administrative rules state that dogs and cats meeting specific pre- and post-arrival requirements may qualify for 5-day–or-less quarantine program, which has a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection.

Furthermore, the law requires dogs and cats that do not meet all of the specific 5-Day-Or-Less program requirements to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii.  It is very important that visitors thoroughly and understand the details on the rabies quarantine programs for importing dogs and cats to avoid any disruptions at the airport.

Check here to see if you can meet the requirements for this expedited process 5 Day or Less Program Checklist.

Quarantine restrictions will not apply for your pet if it is entering from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand if you meet the requirements in the Checklist for pets entering from British Isles, Guam and New Zealand.

 

Young Pets

Due to the minimum amount of time needed to prepare a puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the pet import to Hawaii, a puppy or kitten will be about 10 months of age by the time the preparations are completed. Puppies and kittens not able to meet all of the requirements for the 5-Day-Or-Less program will be quarantined for 120 days.

 

Other Animals  

Other categories of pets such as, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals such as guinea pigs and rabbits are not subject to requirements of rabies vaccination and may enter Hawaii from EU member states (limited to less than 5 for rabies controlled countries) for non-commercial purposes.

Some other pets including parrots and turtles are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).   You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case.  

Domesticated rabbits do not require an import permit, but they do require a health certificate issued within 7 days of arrival in Hawaii. Pet rabbits, gerbils, hamsters and rodents will require a health certificate. The certificate must be issued and signed by a State, Federal, or accredited veterinarian within 7 days prior to arrival in Hawaii. Your pet must be free of all external parasites. Entrance to the country must be at Honolulu International Airport and a licensed agent must transport your pet to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility for inspection.

The import of snakes, snapping turtles, toucans, bees and bearded dragon lizards, among others is prohibited. Check the complete list of prohibited animals to ensure your pet is allowed to enter Hawaii.

 

Flying with Birds

To import a bird from the U.S. Mainland, an Import Permit is required in advance of entry. Permits are available through:

Plant Quarantine Branch
Department of Agriculture
1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96819

Always check with your airline well in advance of your trip to understand its bird travel policy. Not all "pet-friendly" airlines permit birds. If they do, it's important you find out about various restrictions, such as whether birds are allowed in the cabin, carrier size, bird size, species, etc.

  • If you are planning to fly internationally with your pet bird, you may find out that only cargo storage is acceptable. Even then, there may be restrictions on how many hours birds are allowed to stay in the cargo area.
  • As with other pets, be sure to obtain a necessary health certificate no more than 10 days prior to your flight and carry with you all important papers regarding your pet bird.
  • It's a good idea to have your bird banded when flying internationally.
  • Bottom line is to make sure your pet bird is comfortable when traveling by air, with plenty of room to move around in a travel cage, while still conforming to the airline's pet travel policies.

 

Airport Arrival in Hawaii

Pets can travel as checked baggage or in the cabin with you. Inspection hours for dog and cats at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) are between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays.  This information is particularly important for those who are qualifying their pets for direct release at Honolulu International Airport.

Pet owners should be sure to arrange for their flights to arrive by 3:30 p.m. because it may take up to one hour for the airlines to transport a pet to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility and animals not arriving at the facility by 4:30 p.m. will not be released at the airport that day.

Pets arriving in the late afternoon and evening will be held overnight until inspections are completed the following morning. Pets qualified for direct airport release that are held overnight for release in the morning at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility must be picked up by 10:00 a.m. or an additional $59 will be charged.  Pet owners who are arriving in Honolulu and connecting to neighboring islands should pay particular attention to the inspection hours.

You may also enter through the neighbor Island airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue but special arrangements must be made in advance. All requirements for entering Hawaii must be met and documentation must be submitted at least 30 days prior to import.

 

Have additional questions?

Check out the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  website for more information about pet travel to Hawaii and other countries.

You may also e-mail, call or write the Animal Quarantine Station, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701-3246.  Telephone (808) 483-7151 Fax (808) 483-7161.   E-mail:  rabiesfree@hawaii.gov or hdoa.info@hawaii.gov

Disclaimer:

Managing the rules and regulations for importing pets into the many countries across the globe can be difficult. Not only because they can and do change frequently but also because it's hard to accurately say how enthusiastically a given country will chose to enforce the regulations or what the consequences of non-compliance might be. We attempt to ensure that the information provided here reflect current regulations but we strongly recommend that you verify the rules for the country you are visiting to avoid situations that could spoil the trip for you and your pet.

 

 

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