The International Movement of Animals

Accredited veterinarians must complete specific examinations, testing, and paperwork before animals are transported internationally. According to USDA:

VS Form 17-140, U.S. Origin Health Certificate, is the IHC typically required to move animals internationally, although some importing countries require their own import health certificate in addition to, or instead of, VS Form 17-140. NVAP Module 2: Role of Agencies and Health Certificates provides detailed instructions on completing VS Form 17-140. IHCs are issued by an accredited veterinarian and endorsed by an authorized VS endorsing veterinarian.

Individual countries may require additional testing, paperwork and certifications. Similar to interstate movement, the accredited veterinarian should check on the specific import regulations of each country to ensure that all required steps have been taken. Information is usually available at the APHIS International Animal Export Regulations (IREGs) webpage at

However, if not there, USDA recommends that a veterinarian “[c]ontact either the Embassy or Consulate of the destination country or its Department or Ministry of Agriculture for specific details related to import requirements” or contact the local USDA office for more information on animal exports.

In addition to specific paperwork, some countries require specific diagnostic testing and/or isolation of animals before importation.

USDA provides guidance regarding these additional requirements:

Isolation Facilities
Some countries may require animals be maintained in a USDA-approved isolation facility prior to export. This means that an APHIS veterinarian must inspect and approve the isolation facility prior to the start of the isolation period. If required, contact your District Office to schedule the inspection and approval to meet export time frames.

Animal testing
Some destination countries require additional tests before animals can be imported. They may require specific tests for specific diseases, so always check with the destination country prior to requesting and submitting laboratory tests. If an isolation facility is required, tests typically cannot be performed until the animals have entered that facility. Follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the District Office that will be endorsing the certificate for guidance on procedures for the submission of laboratory results. Unless original signed copies of test results are required, results can be sent electronically.

  2. Consult with a USDA-approved laboratory prior to sample collection to check that the laboratory can conduct the specific test and coordinate with their testing schedule.

  3. Request the specific test type and negative dilution titer for each disease.

  4. Include the date samples were collected on the submission form.

  5. Indicate this is a test request for international export and specify the destination country.

  6. Notify the laboratory personnel about the required format for the test results sent to the District Office and request a copy of the results be sent to you for your client’s records.

  7. Perform any additional treatments required by the destination country (e.g., treatments for parasites).

  8. Administer all treatments in accordance with the label directions.

  9. Contact your Assistant Director (AD) if the destination country has requested a treatment that is outside the label directions.

  10. Include all details related to the active ingredient, dose, and route of administration as requested on the certificate.

  11. Do not paraphrase the required certification statements.