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    Infectious Disease Prevention Section
    Mail Code: 1927
    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, Suite G401
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: (512) 776-7676
    Fax: (512) 776-7616


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Entry

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Laws Laws - Texas Entry Requirements
 (Laws, Regulations, Rules)

Entry Requirements for Bringing Dogs and Cats into Texas

Although not required by Texas law, most airlines require a health certificate issued by a veterinarian within seven to ten days prior to travel. Check with your airline for their exact requirements.

To enter Texas and be in accordance with its state law, all dogs and cats three months of age or older must be vaccinated against rabies and be accompanied by a rabies vaccination certificate (or pet passport containing required information – see reference at end of letter) dated and signed by the veterinarian who administered the immunization. Veterinarians in Texas are restricted to using vaccines approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); however, for entry purposes only, dogs and cats traveling into the state may be inoculated against rabies with killed, modified live, or recombinant vaccine. Once in Texas, if a USDA-approved vaccine was not used or the veterinarian who administered it was not licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the US, compliance must be achieved. For entry into Texas, the following criteria must be met:

  • at the time of vaccination, the animal was at least the minimum age prescribed for the vaccine; and
  • the time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the recommended interval for the booster vaccination as established by the vaccine’s manufacturer.

Additionally, to qualify as being currently vaccinated, 30 days must have lapsed since the initial vaccination. 

If the animal is arriving from another country and is less than three months of age, it shall be confined at home until 30 days after the animal’s initial vaccination is administered. Regardless of the animal’s age, if the initial vaccination was given less than 30 days prior to arrival, the animal must be confined for the balance of the 30 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have additional requirements for animals arriving from another country; the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine may be contacted at CDCAnimalImports@cdc.gov, 1-800-232-4636 or https://www.cdc.gov/importation/
for further information. Please keep in mind that, even if the CDC states that dogs or cats under certain circumstances do not need to be vaccinated against rabies for entry into the US, the animal still needs to be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with Texas state law for entry into Texas. Contact the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for any country-specific travel/health certificates that might be required: 512-383-2400 (press 1) or contact the https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/.

Be aware that as of July 14, 2021, there is a temporary suspension that prohibits the entry of dogs into the United States arriving from the countries determined by CDC to be high-risk countries for rabies. On an extremely limited basis, CDC has the authority to issue advance written approval (a CDC Dog Import Permit) to bring a dog from a high-risk country. If you wish to import a dog from a high-risk country, you must request advance written approval by emailing CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to enter the United States. No CDC Dog Import Permits are issued upon arrival. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without advance written approval from CDC will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense. For details, including CDC’s list of high-risk countries, go to https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/high-risk.html

If the animal is arriving from another state and is less than three months of age, home confinement is recommended until 30 days after the animal’s initial vaccination is administered. Regardless of the animal’s age, if the initial vaccination was given less than 30 days prior to arrival, the animal should be confined for the balance of the 30 days.

After moving to Texas, ensure that your dog or cat remains in compliance with rabies vaccination requirements by contacting a veterinarian in your area, as local vaccination ordinances may be more restrictive than state law.  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Zoonosis Control at (512) 776-7255. 


Reference – Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 169, Subchapter A 
https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.viewtac 


§169.31. Interstate Movement of Dogs and Cats into Texas.
Each dog and cat 12 weeks of age or older to be transported into Texas for any purpose shall be admitted only when vaccinated against rabies and the time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the manufacturer recommendations for the vaccine. If an initial vaccination was administered less than 30 days prior to arrival, the custodian should confine the dog or cat for the balance of the 30 days. Additionally, documentation must be provided by a vaccination certificate showing the date of vaccination, vaccine used, revaccination due date, identification information for the vaccinated animal, contact information of the animal's custodian, and signature, signature stamp, or computerized signature and contact information of the veterinarian responsible for administration of the vaccine. If the dog or cat is less than 12 weeks of age, the custodian should confine the animal until 30 days subsequent to its initial vaccination.

§169.32. International Movement of Dogs and Cats into Texas.
The federal government regulates the entry of pets into the United States; requirements set forth in this section are in addition to meeting federal requirements. If the department receives a federal importation notice, the department may request the local rabies control authority in the area where the animal will be located to monitor the notice for compliance.  Contingent upon the department receiving notification of an importation-compliance failure, the department may report the failure to the appropriate authority. Each dog and cat 12 weeks of age or older to be transported into Texas for any purpose shall be admitted only when vaccinated against rabies and the time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the manufacturer recommendations for the vaccine. If an initial vaccination was administered less than 30 days prior to arrival in the United States, the custodian must confine the dog or cat for the balance of the 30 days. Additionally, documentation must be provided by a vaccination certificate or passport showing the date of vaccination, vaccine used, revaccination due date, identification information for the vaccinated animal, contact information of the animal's custodian, and signature, signature stamp, or computerized signature and contact information of the veterinarian responsible for administration of the vaccine. If the dog or cat is less than 12 weeks of age, the custodian shall confine the animal until 30 days subsequent to its initial vaccination.

Last updated July 6, 2021