Have you decided to leave everything behind and start from scratch in Hawaii? Well, not absolutely everything – you’re not even considering leaving your faithful companion, right? Moving to Hawaii with pets is manageable, but there are specific requirements to be aware of to get ready for your move accordingly. These preparations might take some time, so it’s advisable to start getting prepared as soon as you can.
Some of the most common concerns among pet owners moving with their faithful companions have to do with quarantine. We assume that you, too, are wondering whether this is necessary and, if so, for how long. The rules are somewhat strict here, so you’re on the right track – it is essential to learn more about them before you schedule your move. We are here to tell you everything you should know about different rules and regulations when bringing your animal companion to the Aloha State. Let’s start with the required documents.
Learn About the Rules for Bringing an Animal to Hawaii and Prepare Required Documents
If you thought that moving with kids is complicated, you’re about to change your mind. Relocating with animals can be even more intricate, especially when moving to a place with such strict regulations such as Hawaii. But there’s no room for panic. When you prepare for it properly, it can all be handled without any hiccups.
The first thing you need to know when taking your little fellow with you is that Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the entire country. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that they have rather strict rules for those relocating with pets. Your faithful companion will surely love the island life, but to get to that part, you should go through thorough preparation.
Since rabies is almost always fatal, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is doing everything possible to protect the well-being of its residents and animals. So, you, as a new resident, will be required to ensure that your animal companion is entirely healthy and, thus, allowed to enter the country.
Requirements for Entering the Aloha State With Your Animal Companion
To make sure everything goes smoothly, start preparing for the move early enough. You might also want to make a checklist of the documents required. Here are the crucial steps to take and documents to obtain and pack when you get going:
Crucial Steps and Documents Necessary for Relocating a Pet to Hawaii
Any animal entering the Islands of Aloha is required to have had two rabies shots with 30 days in between. It is also crucial to know that the second shot needs to be administered more than 90 days before your arrival. So, to complete this protocol in time, it’s advisable that you get started 27 weeks before your move.
Another crucial requirement is that your little fellow has a microchip with valid information for identification. When you get the microchip implanted, you can move on to the next step – the OIE-FAVN blood test.
To complete this one, choose one of two approved labs – Kansas State University (KSU) or Department of Defense Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas (DOD). Take your pet to your veterinarian at least three weeks after the second rabies shot. After the vet takes a blood sample for the test, you’ll wait about three to five weeks for the results. If the results show the value greater than or equal to 0.5 IU/ml, you’re good to go.
Here’s why it is essential that you get everything done on time – your furry friend is required to wait 120 days after the lab has received the blood sample before they can get to the Islands.
Just like you’re thinking about the most important documents needed to travel abroad, you’ll need to think about your pet’s records, too, even if you’re staying within the country. Firstly, be sure you bring your pet’s health certificate and certificates for the two most recent rabies vaccinations. You’ll also be required to provide completed Dog and Cat Import Form AQS-278, flight information, and proof of payment (about $160). If your final destination is the Island of Oahu, you should submit the required documents ten days before your arrival. In case you’re going to a neighbor island, be sure you send the documents at least 30 days before your arrival. You will also need an inspection permit for that island.
Choose Between Different Quarantine Options When Moving to Hawaii With Pets
The law determines that all animals entering the Islands of Aloha have to meet particular pre- and post-arrival requirements for a specific program. There are three different quarantine programs that your companion may qualify for, depending on several factors. Let’s see what needs to be done to be eligible for each of the three programs.
Check Whether Your Pet Qualifies for Direct Airport Release to Take Them Home Right Away
This is probably the most desirable option for all pet owners. When your companion qualifies for direct airport release, you take them right after the entry inspection. So, make sure there is a local inspector from the Animal Quarantine Station available when you land. Regular inspection hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so keep that in mind when booking your flight.
If you don’t arrive during the working hours, your companion will no longer qualify for the program. It is also necessary that your chosen airline participates in the Direct Release program. Finally, don’t forget about the fee, which amounts to about $185 for this program.
Go Through the Checklist for 5-Day-or-Less Program
The requirements for the 5-Day-or-Less program differ only slightly from those for Direct Release – you have to land during the working hours of the Animal Quarantine Station. Another thing is the fee. This program is more expensive (you’ll need to pay about $225 for five days).
You should consider the 5-Day-or-Less program if you’re not able to pick up your pet from the airport. In that case, the animal will be brought to the Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa Valley and wait for you there. Another frequent scenario when this program applies is when there is a minor issue with the requirements, one that can be solved quickly. It might also come in handy for those that have to spend a couple of days in a hotel that’s not pet-friendly.
Be Prepared for the Option of Full 120-Day Quarantine When Moving to Hawaii With Pets
If, however, you don’t prepare early enough, be prepared for this option. For instance, if you don’t take your pet to have second rabies shot on time, your little fellow will have to spend 120 days in quarantine upon your arrival. The same goes for those that arrive before the 30-day mandatory waiting period and those that fail to provide the results of the OIE-FAVN blood test.
To put it simply, if you don’t meet any of the previously mentioned requirements, your animal companion will be able to enter the state only through this program. Even if this happens, you can still visit them. The station is closed on Mondays, Fridays, and holidays. But, visits are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays (1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Wednesdays (1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.), and Saturdays and Sundays (12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.). This program costs $1,080.
Is It Possible to Avoid Quarantine?
Special exemptions for quarantine programs are reserved only for specific animal species coming from certain rabies-free countries. For instance, dogs and cats from New Zealand, Australia, Guam, and the British Isles can avoid quarantine. But it is essential that they be on a direct flight to Hawaii.
Service and guide dogs, too, can qualify for quarantine exemption. To be more precise, they are required to meet only modified requirements. You shouldn’t even think about taking advantage of this by mispresenting your pet as a service animal. The law strictly punishes such violations.
Find out More About Airline-Specific Rules for Traveling With Pets
Don’t forget that each airline has specific regulations for flying with animals. So, before you book your flight and start thinking about what to pack, contact your chosen airline and check whether it meets your needs.
To start with, check the list of allowed breeds to be sure your faithful companion can, in fact, board the plane. You should also ask for carrier size, what food you’re allowed to bring, and whether your buddy will fly in cabin or cargo. Keep the essential documents close, too, as you will require them to enter the plane with your furry friend.
Beware of Re-Entry Fee Requirements
If you leave the state for some time, but you’re planning to come back, you should be familiar with re-entry fee requirements. Keep in mind that a reduced re-entry fee won’t apply when the blood test or vaccination is administered again. It only applies to those animals that have been directly released from the airport at some point within the 36 months. Another condition is that the blood test results and vaccination are still valid. The same goes for those that qualified for the 5-Day-or-less program.
If they confirm that your buddy qualifies for re-entry, be prepared to pay the fee of $98 if the documents needed are submitted ten days before re-entry. If you fail to do so, you will have to pay $130.
Ready to Take Your Buddy to the Aloha State?
Even though it might take you some time to get everything ready, it will be worth the trouble. Just imagine how much you’re going to enjoy your new life with your faithful companion. Be sure you start getting ready on time, don’t miss any of the crucial steps, and your relocation will be a smooth breeze.
If you happen to have any problems with the relocation process itself, there’s always a solution to that, too. You can contact professional movers to provide you with packing services and save you some time. Or you can ask for storage if you have some extra stuff lying around. Real experts can help you with international moving, too. Feel free to rely on someone else for help so that you have all the time you need to gather all the documents and do what’s required to take your buddy with you.