New U.S. Restrictions on Entry of Canines

July 14, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new notice.  Beginning today, July 14, 2021, there will be a temporary suspension of dogs entering the United States from high-risk rabies countries as well as dogs from countries that are not at high-risk for dog rabies, but that have been in any high-risk country within the last 6 months. 

The CDC has compiled a list of countries that it deems to be a high-risk threat for dog rabies, which includes all countries in Africa and many countries in Central, and South America, the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.  A copy of the list of designated high-risk countries can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/high-risk.html.

There will be an initial 90-day transition period (from July 14, 2021 to October 14, 2021) during which U.S. citizens and lawful residents relocating from high-risk rabies countries can request a “CDC Dog Import Permit.”  Dogs must meet certain requirements and owners must submit an application for an import permit to the CDC at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before planned travel to the U.S.  Issuance of the permit would allow for the import of a dog at one of eighteen U.S. airports.  After the transition period ends, dogs can still enter from high-risk rabies countries if they have a permit, but they will only be allowed to enter at approved ports of entry.  Instructions and the application form to use to apply for the import permit can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/apply-dog-import-permit.html – approved-ports.  Although the CDC can issue an import permit for U.S. citizens and lawful residents relocating from high-risk rabies countries, the agency has said that these permits will be issued on an extremely limited, case-by-case basis. 

Since the suspension is now in effect, your airline will have to undertake certain actions in order to remain in compliance.  Since carriers are responsible for pets’ welfare from boarding until they are cleared for entry, carriers will now be required to (1) identify entry destination veterinary facilities or kennels that can provide care for or holding of dogs until final health or action is determined, or that can provide care for or holding of dogs that have been denied entry; (2) be prepared to cover the costs associated with returning an animal denied entry to the U.S. if an importer abandons the animal (carriers are responsible for costs associated with this under 19 CFR 123.10(e)); and (3) return animals denied entry to the U.S. to their country of origin on the next available flight.  Given these new responsibilities, it is suggested that airlines also: check all animals and their importation documents prior to boarding/shipping and refuse carriage of any animals that do not meet U.S. entry requirements. 

If you have any questions in regard to this notice, please do not hesitate to contact Evelyn Sahr (esahr@eckertseamans.com), Drew Derco (dderco@eckertseamans.com) or Alexis George (ageorge@eckertseamans.com).

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Authors

Evelyn D. Sahr Photo Washington, D.C.

Evelyn D. Sahr

Member - Washington, D.C.

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Drew M. Derco Photo Washington, D.C.

Drew M. Derco

Member - Washington, D.C.

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Alexis A. George Photo Richmond

Alexis A. George

Associate - Richmond

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