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"Ultimate Guide: Traveling with Pets to & From Hawaii - Everything You Need to Know"

Updated: Jun 17

Hawaii is a rabies-free state, and they like to keep it that way. To prevent diseases from entering the islands, the Animal Quarantine Station (AQS) has specific requirements for animals entering the state. It's very important that you follow the rules in order to avoid unnecessary quarantine or added costs for your pet's travels.

Traveling to Hawaii with pets

What Cat Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Hawaii?

  • Microchip (BEFORE first rabies vaccine)

  • General Vaccinations

  • FIRST Rabies Vaccination (wait 30 days)

  • SECOND Rabies Vaccination (wait 30 days)

  • Rabies Titer Blood Test (FAVN)

  • External Parasite Treatment

  • Health Certificate is written in English

  • Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-279

  • Photo of Pet (Not required, but highly recommended)

  • Paperwork must arrive in Hawaii, 10 days prior to the pet’s arrival.

Whether you’re PCSing or visiting, the same rules apply when bringing your cat into Hawaii. Whether it is the island of Oahu or other islands. Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is rabies-free. To maintain this unique status, strict guidelines and specific programs must be completed before your cat will be accepted into the state of Hawaii. Animals arriving without proper documentation may be quarantined for up to 120 days in Honolulu at the owner's expense. Your pet will be taken from the airport to the quarantine center. You will pick up your pet at that location. Pet owners should be sure to arrange for their flights to arrive in Hawaii by 3:30 p.m. The process of clearing your pet generally takes one hour if your pet conforms to all requirements and has arrived on a direct flight. Otherwise, the process can take up to 4-5 hours. Pets not cleared by 4:30 p.m. will be held overnight at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. You may also enter through the neighboring Island airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue but special arrangements must be made in advance. Note that not all airlines participate in this program. All requirements for entering Hawaii must be met and documentation must be submitted at least 30 days prior to import. Hawaiian Airlines & Alaska Airlines are the ONLY airlines that fly pets in cabin into Hawaii. Alaska Airlines, allowed travel dates: February: No cats are accepted as checked baggage on flights to or from Hawaii. November 1 - January 31 and March 1 - April 1: Only 1 cat is accepted per aircraft as checked baggage on flights to or from Hawaii. You should contact Reservations for availability on your desired flights. April 2 - October 31: Standard pet allowance for cats applies. When arriving in Honolulu, the gate agent at the aircraft door will escort you and your cat to the inspection station. Please have all documentation ready. Microchip: Your pet must have a microchip implanted before your pet's first rabies vaccine. It should be scanned at each vet visit and the correct number should be reported on all of your pet's paperwork. If your pet's microchip cannot be read upon arrival to Hawaii, then they will not qualify for Direct Airport Release and will be subject to 120 days in quarantine. To enter Hawaii, your pet must first be microchipped with an ISO 11784 pet microchip that is a 15-digit and non-encrypted. The certificate from your veterinarian must state the number of the microchip and it must contain the fact that the veterinarian was able to scan the chip successfully. The microchip can be of the standard US issue (Avid) or (Home Again) type or a 15-digit ISO pet microchip. Rabies Vaccinations:

Your pet must have received at least two rabies vaccinations administered at least 30 days apart and within the validity period of the previous. The most recent vaccination must have been given at least 30 days before your pet's arrival in Hawaii. These two original signed vaccination certificates must be mailed to Hawaii prior to your pet's arrival.

General Vaccinations:

While not mandatory for travel, we strongly recommend that your pet's general vaccinations be kept up to date. If your pet will be boarding before or after their travels, the vaccines below will be required.  Cat Vaccinations:

  • FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia)

Rabies Titer Blood Test:

Cats and dogs are required to complete a rabies titer FAVN test from an approved laboratory. The approved labs are Auburn University, Kansas State University, and the DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas. The destination on the submission form must be listed as "HAWAII" and the original results will be mailed to Hawaii directly. An electronic copy of the results will be sent to your veterinarian. Your pet can travel to Hawaii at least 30 days after, but no more than 36 months (Exception: if your pet resides in the British Isles, Australia, Guam, and New Zealand) from the day after the date the lab receives the blood sample. 

A passing test result is greater than or equal to 0.5 IU/ml. If your pet arrives in Hawaii before the 30-day waiting period for the blood test, then they will be subject to quarantine.  Your pet's microchip must be implanted before the titer test. Have your veterinarian scan your pet's microchip prior to administering the titer test. Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-279:

You must complete the Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-279 and send the original form along with the following to AQS at least 10 days before your pet's arrival in Hawaii.

  1. Completed AQS-279 Form (one per pet)

  2. The last two (2) Original Rabies Vaccination Certificates (must be signed in real ink by a licensed veterinarian and must include the vaccine name, lot / serial number, date given, date due, and vaccine lot expiration)

  3. Arrival Payments (cashier’s check or money order for $185 payable to Department of Agriculture. You must enter your pet’s microchip number on the memo line to ensure proper credit. 

Copies of these documents are not acceptable - they must be original bearing a real ink signature. You can mail the above documents/payment to:

Animal Quarantine Station

99-951 Halawa Valley Street

Aiea, Hawaii 96701

External Parasite Treatment:

Within 14 days before arrival, cats and dogs must be treated by a veterinarian for ticks with a long-acting product (such as Frontline Plus). The product name and date of the treatment must be reported on the health certificate. It's recommended that you also provide a copy of the invoice from the vet showing the treatment was administered. 

Do note that Revolution® is NOT an acceptable treatment.

Health Certificate:

While Hawaii accepts a health certificate dated within 14 days before arrival, you should make the appointment with your vet within 10 days before travel. Many airlines require the health certificate to be dated within 10 days. A licensed veterinarian must complete a pet health certificate for Hawaii in English. It must be an original - no photocopies are allowed. The health certificate must include your pet's microchip number, rabies vaccination details, and tick treatment details. Vets typically complete the APHIS 7001 form. 

The ORIGINAL signed health certificate must travel with your pet when they arrive in Hawaii and be provided to the inspector. It's also recommended that you keep a copy of all of the documents for your records. 

Photo of Pet:

You're not required to have a photo of your pet to transport them to Hawaii, but the quarantine station could ask for them so they can put a face to a name, or verify the breed.  Puppies & Kittens: Puppies and kittens should not be vaccinated for rabies before reaching 3 months of age. Bringing a puppy or kitten to Hawaii before it is vaccinated for rabies is not permitted. Due to the minimum amount of time needed to prepare a puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the pet import to Hawaii, a puppy or kitten will be about 5 months of age by the time the preparations are completed. Puppies and kittens not able to meet all of the requirements for the 5-Day or less program will be quarantined until they conform to regulations. Banned breeds: Non-domestic dogs and cats and hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross, Dingo, Bengal, Savannah, etc are prohibited from entry to Hawaii. Dogs and cats meeting specific pre- and post-arrival requirements may qualify for 5 day or less quarantine program, which has a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection. Furthermore, Hawaiian law requires dogs and cats that do not meet all of the specific 5-Day-Or-Less program requirements to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii. Quarantine requirements do not apply for your pet if it is entering from the British Isles, Australia, Guam, and New Zealand when all of the following apply: Your pet's flight is direct or your pet has evidence in writing from the officer in charge that your pet was not in contact with any other animal during their transit. Your pet's crate was sealed by veterinary authorities at the point of origin. Accompanied by a declaration by the owner that your pet resided in one of the countries listed above since birth or for a period of at least 6 months before entry. Accompanied by a health certificate and proof of ticks and tapeworm treatment within 14 days of entry. Accompanied by Guam Affidavit, form IC-5 (Origination in Guam only) Pets Located in Hawaii:

Owners wishing to leave Hawaii with their pets and return without extended quarantine must meet all requirements listed on the “Checklist Only For Resident Dogs And Cats Originating From Hawaii And Returning For The 5 Day Or Less Program.” The length of the waiting period after a successful rabies blood test is modified and must be completed before leaving Hawaii. “Checklist 3 – Only for Dogs and Cats Located in Hawaii that are Departing and Returning for Direct Airport Release and the 5 Day Or Less Program” Re-Entry Fee Requirements:

For pets re-entering Hawaii after completing a Hawaii rabies quarantine program, click here for requirements when a reduced “Re-entry” fee for Direct Airport Release or 5 Day Or Less quarantine applies. Leaving to the mainland:

A health certificate and a current rabies vaccination will be needed within 10 days of your flight.  All you need to do is to call your vet and set up an appointment.

Information Your Vet May Request:

  • Destination address

  • Name and phone number of the person receiving the pet, if it’s not you.

  • Records that include last rabies vaccination and titer.

  • If you need to update your pet on its annual wellness check-up before they leave.

When you arrive for your appointment a quick exam is performed unless any diagnostics need to be done.  Your pet will receive a temperature check and a rabies vaccination if needed.  Your vet will perform one more microchip scan as well to make sure all the paperwork is correctly labeled.  Once the exam is over the paperwork will be put together. 

Per HDOA – There is no State of Hawaii regulations or requirements in transporting dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pet birds, rats & mice, and chinchillas out of the state.  However, pet owners should check with their airline and the state or country they are transporting the animal to for transport requirements.

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