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Do Cats need a Pet Passport to Travel? : Pets that Travel Internationally

  • 8 min read

The “US Pet Passport,” crucial for pet owners exploring within the United States, contains essential information for pet travel. Designed in a standardized format, it facilitates the seamless movement of dogs and cats across states. This official passport also incorporates crucial medical records that pet owners might require during their journeys within the United States.

What is a pet passport?

A pet ID card or pet passport is a document that contains pets’ identification information and vaccination records. A vet usually issues this document, and it serves as proof of your pet’s current health and vaccinations. The pet passport is one of the most critical documents you need to bring your pet to travel within US countries.

Pet Passport
Source: Animal Comedy

Apply for a pet passport

To obtain a pet passport, you must first visit your vet. Your vet will take your pet’s identification information and vaccination records and issue you a pet passport. The passport contains basic information such as your pet’s name, breed, date of birth, and your details as the owner. In addition, important information such as vaccination history, microchip number, and parasite treatments are entered in the passport.

Costs to get a Pet Passport

The cost of a pet passport can vary depending on your veterinarian’s fee policy and the country in which you are located. There is usually a fee for issuing the passport and completing the necessary medical records. This fee covers the cost of your pet’s vaccinations, identification, and other veterinary services. It is essential to get a precise price quote from your veterinarian.

Do I need a pet passport for International Travel?

If you plan to fly with your pet, you typically need passports. Airlines typically require a document confirming your pet’s health and vaccination status. Depending on the destination country’s and airline’s specific requirements, the pet passport may require additional documents. Therefore, contacting the relevant airline before booking your flight is essential to confirm which documents you will need.

Pet passport and vaccination required to travel international
Source: Avenues Veterinary Centre

Who creates a pet passport?

A veterinarian creates a pet passport. The veterinarian is responsible for your pet’s health and well-being and has the necessary knowledge and information to issue the certificate. The veterinarian will carry out the necessary vaccinations and medical examinations to ensure your pet can travel. The veterinarian can create the pet ID card based on available information about your pet, such as identification details, vaccinations, worming, and other relevant medical information. You must visit your veterinarian to obtain the pet card as they permit the personal care of your dog or cat and maintain their medical records.

When does the pet need a US pet passport?

A US pet passport is essential for traveling to different states with your pet. It’s also necessary for animals entering the United States from abroad.

If you’ve adopted a dog or cat from another country, proper identification is needed for the animal to come to the US. For instance, if a veterinarian in Spain issues the pet passport, your pet will have a Spanish passport for life, just as valid as one issued in the US.

Which animals require a pet passport, and who issues it?

The US pet passport is crucial for border crossings with dogs, cats, and ferrets. Introduced in December 2014, only licensed veterinarians authorized by state authorities can issue and fill out the card. Additional regulations for traveling with these pets within the US are here.

Dogs and cats require pet passport
Source: Petotum

What are the requirements for issuing the ID card?

For a pet ID card to be issued by an animal doctor in the US, the animal must be identified with a microchip or a tattoo. It’s important to note that animals born after 2011 must be identified by a microchip, the only accepted identification when crossing state borders. A valid rabies vaccination is also required.

This brings a notable consideration when adopting from abroad: Adopting a puppy from another country is only officially possible from the 16th week of life, as vaccination can only occur after the 12th week, and the rabies vaccination is valid after 21 days.

Do cats need a passport to travel?

In many cases, cats may need a passport or travel documentation to travel internationally. When crossing borders, especially between countries, there are often specific requirements for the movement of pets to prevent the spread of diseases.

Here are typical steps involved in international cat travel:

  1. Microchip: Many countries require that your cat be microchipped for identification. Ensure that the microchip is compliant with international standards.
  2. Vaccinations: Up-to-date vaccinations are often mandatory. Rabies vaccination is commonly required; some countries may have additional vaccination requirements.
  3. Pet Passport: Some countries issue pet passports that contain essential information about the cat’s identity, vaccinations, and other health records.
  4. Health Certificate: A veterinary health certificate issued by an accredited animal doctor is typically required. This certificate verifies that the cat is in good health and fit for travel.
  5. Quarantine: Certain destinations may have quarantine requirements. Ensure that you are aware of and comply with the quarantine regulations of the country you are traveling to.

It’s crucial to check the specific regulations of the destination country and, if applicable, any countries through which you may be transiting. Additionally, some airlines may have their own requirements for pet travel. Always consult with your animal doctor and relevant authorities to ensure a smooth and compliant travel experience for your cat.


Q: Do cats need an animal visa to travel internationally?

A: If you plan to travel with your cat internationally, your feline friend will need an animal visa. This official document contains essential information about your cat and its vaccinations, which are required by most countries.

Q: How can I get a pet travel permit for my cat or ferret?

A: You must visit a pet doctor to obtain an animal visa for your cat. They can provide the necessary vaccinations and documentation for your cat to receive a pet travel permit.

Q: What are the requirements for a US pet passport in 2023?

A: The specific requirements for a US animal travel permit may vary by country and can change over time. It’s important to check with the Department of Agriculture or a qualified pet doctor to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Q: What are the additional requirements for an international pet passport?

A: Besides vaccinations, an international animal visa may require a pet health certificate from a pet doctor. Researching and understanding the specific requirements of the countries you plan to visit with your pet is essential.

Q: Do I need to leave my cat behind if I don’t have an animal visa for traveling?

A: If you don’t have the necessary documentation and vaccinations, you may be unable to take your pet when traveling internationally. Planning and ensuring your cat has all the required travel documents is essential.

Q: How long must I get an animal visa before travel?

A: It’s recommended to start obtaining an animal travel permit for your cat several months before your planned travel date. Some countries require specific vaccinations to be administered several days before travel.

Q: Can I use my cat’s animal visa to travel the world?

A: An animal visa is typically specific to the country that issued it and may have limitations on where you can travel with your cat. Be sure to research the requirements for each country you plan to visit with your pet.

Q: Do cats and dogs have the exact passport requirements?

A: The passport requirements for cats and dogs may have some similarities, but there could also be differences in the specific vaccinations and documentation needed for each species. It’s essential to check the requirements for your specific pet.

Q: What if my cat may need additional vaccinations or treatments for the animal travel permit?

A: If your cat requires additional vaccinations or treatments to meet the requirements for an animal travel permit, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the necessary steps to ensure your pet is fully compliant.

Q: Where can I find everything I need to know about obtaining an animal visa for traveling with my cat?

A: The Department of Agriculture, certified veterinarians, and official government websites are reliable sources for obtaining comprehensive information on obtaining an animal visa for your cat and the requirements for international travel with pets.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.