Dog and Cat Import Fact Sheet
Dogs, cats and ferrets must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection, except:
- Dogs or cats for research at educational and scientific institutions;
- Dogs, cats, or ferrets entering a veterinary facility for treatment, surgery, or diagnostic procedures;
- Dogs, cats, or ferrets temporarily entering the state if there is no change of ownership and if the animal will be leaving the state within 30 days; and
- Dogs and cats originating from an adjacent state and entering a kennel licensed by the Board if the following conditions are met:
- The kennel has a written contract with the city from which the dog or cat originated that specifies the terms under which the kennel accepts and houses stray, abandoned, or impounded animals for the city;
- Dogs and cats are held in a nonpublic area until they can be examined by a licensed veterinarian;
- A licensed veterinarian examines the dog or cat within 48 hours of entry into the state and records the date and results of the examination in the kennel records;
- A dog or cat that shows signs of infectious, contagious, or communicable disease is returned to the state of origin, held in a nonpublic area until released by the veterinarian, or euthanized; and
- A dog or cat three months of age or older originating outside the state must be currently vaccinated for rabies before being discharged from the facility.
Contents of CVI
The CVI must state that any dog, cat, or ferret three months of age or older is currently vaccinated for rabies and must list the name of the vaccine and the date it was given.
A CVI for the importation of dogs and cats must include the following statement:
“I certify, as an accredited veterinarian, that the described animals have been inspected by me and that they are not showing signs of infectious, contagious and/or communicable disease (except where noted).”
If the statement is not already part of the CVI, an accredited veterinarian is required to add the statement to the document prior to signing it.
A dog, cat, or ferret three months of age or older imported into the state must be currently vaccinated for rabies unless they meet all conditions of 4 (1-5) above, or are exempted by the Board based on the written recommendations of a licensed veterinarian who has examined the animal and who has determined that vaccination is contraindicated due to a medical condition.
Signatures for Rabies Vaccination Certificates
Minnesota Rule 1721.0540 Subpart 3 requires rabies vaccination certificates to be signed. The Board considers ink signatures or verifiable digital signatures to be official. Please note, stamping is not an approved signature. Certificates should be signed by the veterinarian who administered or oversaw the administration of the rabies vaccine. However, if that veterinarian is unavailable, any veterinarian within the clinic may interpret a patient record to verify the administration of the vaccine and all other information in the patient record, either in writing or verbally as requested by the client.
To enter the State of Minnesota, all dogs and cats from international origins require a valid certification of health* issued by a credentialed veterinarian at the origin of the animal. Each animal must be examined by the credentialed veterinarian within 30 days of importation. In addition, dogs and cats 3 months of age and older must be currently vaccinated against the rabies virus.
Please check with our federal partners at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your airline to ensure additional import requirements are met.
*The EU Pet Passport is not accepted as a valid certification of health.
Dogs or cats imported from foreign countries
Part of Minnesota’s efforts to prepare for an animal disease outbreak is to evaluate all potential routes for disease introduction. The Board has recognized an increase in the number of dogs being imported into Minnesota from foreign countries and is concerned about diseases being carried by these dogs, and diseases that may hitch a ride in or on kennels, blankets, toys and treats.
Diseases like rabies and canine brucellosis have been identified in dogs imported from foreign countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enacted a temporary suspension of dogs entering the United States from Egypt in response to three rabid dogs imported from the country since May of 2015. Diseases like African Swine Fever, which could be detrimental to Minnesota’s livestock industry could be inadvertently imported with treats containing pork products.
In response, effective August 2019:
Any person or organization who transports and/or receives a dog or cat into Minnesota that has been imported from a foreign country within the last 30 days must submit to the Board a copy of the dog’s or cat’s:
- International Health Certificate.
- International Import Permit (if applicable).
- Rabies Certificate.
- Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for movement from state of entry (if applicable).
Documentation must be received by the Board within seven (7) days of importation into Minnesota.