Changes in Service Availability for International Health Certificates

As an accredited veterinarian you are participating in a critical element of US trade with the world. While it might not be obvious that livestock or pets traveling internationally is “trade”, assuring the health of all animals moving to other countries is part of the mission of the US Department of Agriculture. If you are issuing international health certificates for livestock or pets, you and your practice are part of the agricultural trade infrastructure of the United States.

USDA APHIS-Veterinary Services is continually looking to provide efficient and customer-focused trade facilitation for all animals, and we routinely evaluate our business processes with that aim. We also are mindful of our resource availability and the role you, as a veterinary practitioner have in the animal export process. As most of you are probably aware, our agency underwent an extensive reorganization in late 2013 and early 2014. As a consequence, routine import-export services, including endorsement of international health certificates, has been restricted to a limited number of offices throughout the 14 states that makes up NIES Service Center 1. We are seeking your assistance in educating your clients to obtain USDA endorsement of international health certificates through mail or overnight courier rather than presenting health certificates in-person at one of our offices. We are no longer able to serve everyone we see in-person in a timely manner or even the same day, particularly those who arrive in our offices without an appointment. As such, it is important that you understand that an appointment is mandatory for all in-person endorsements in all offices in the Service Center. (The only exception is our office near JFK Airport.) We would like your help emphasizing the confidence we have in large overnight courier companies, and that we are better able to review health certificates and return them to customers if received this way. Please also encourage your clients to begin the process of obtaining international health certification as far in advance of travel as possible.

For information on international export regulations please visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/. If you require additional information about the regulations, how best to send international health certificates to our office, or if you are interested in sending health certificates to us electronically (currently available for horses, cattle, swine, and poultry to Canada), please feel free to call or email the USDA office serving your state.

Thank you for your contribution to US agricultural trade!