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Question on APHIS certificate for pets
Beth and I (mother daughter team) are going to be traveling to Portugal on the Job Seeker's visa. Likely around the first of the year. We've been working with Cristina at EI! We did not earn enough as teachers to qualify for the Digital Nomad visa so this is our next option. We are bringing our pets (two cats and a dog) and I think I have a good handle on the process but I would feel much better hearing from those who have experienced this:
a) Do you know a good certified vet in the Virginia, D.C. area? Is the time frame 10 days before arrival and how does the APHIS work versus a wet signature)
2) Which is the best airline from flying from the US that is a fair(cheap) price that is good for pet travel.
3) I've read differing information on which airport we need to fly into with pets. Only Lisbon? Or any of the international airports:Lisbon, Porto or Faro. Does anyone know?
4) Is there a post that covers all of this in detail that I can be pointed to?
I know this is a lot. Thank you anyone who answers.
Check out these posts:
Hi Rochelle, our experience was out of SFO, California on TAP to Lisbon. We had our two cats in the flight with us. We got lucky and our vet was USDA certified. There is a 10 day window before flying out that you need to get the docs from the USDA (our vet sent the request to the USDA via email and the wet signature docs were Fed Ex'd to us). We emailed with the vet in Lisbon several times to confirm we had all the docs they required and to give them our flight info so there would be a vet at the airport at the time we landed.
My understanding is that it's 1 human, 1 pet in the flight and there are weight requirements for inflight pets. Additional or oversized pets have to go under the plane. And I think TAP said they only allow 4 animals per flight.
If you are on Facebook, check out American & FriendsPT. They have a great Files section and there is one on traveling with pets.
We moved in March from Alexandria, and flew into Porto via Munich. Our vet (Indian Head Animal Hospital in Fort Washington, MD) was also a military vet, and knew about the USDA process etc. So we got the forms filled within the 10-day period, and called the office in Richmond, VA to get an appointment (about a 3-hr roundtrip) so we could avoid the risk/stress of shipping docs, they gave the certified docs back to us the same afternoon (we can suggest lunch places around their office 😉) and we were done. On arrival in Porto, the customs folks saw our dog, and sent us to the airport vet who was missing, but we called the number on the office door and got hold of her immediately - she said no problem, if you have all the paperwork, especially the rabies shot, just tell the customs people I told you its ok. Went back to customs, they asked where we came from, we said US via Munich, they said you came from Germany? Did you clear immigration in Germany (we did), and decided that was enough for them, so they waved us out.
Only one data point, but we had seen this in Germany before - the EU really only cares about up to date rabies, nothing else, unless you're coming from a few countries that have poor reputations for animal health. Nobody has ever checked the USDA papers.
Contact me directly if you need more detail.
PS We flew on Lufthansa, and they allow dogs upto 8kg in the cabin, in a soft carrier that fits under the seat. Dimensions are here - https://www.lufthansa.com/pe/en/animals-as-additional-carry-on-baggage
Could I get some clarification on this.
"So we got the forms filled within the 10-day period, and called the office in Richmond, VA to get an appointment (about a 3-hr roundtrip) so we could avoid the risk/stress of shipping docs, they gave the certified docs back to us the same afternoon (we can suggest lunch places around their office 😉) and we were done."
Okay our question is this: When you say the office in Richmond, VA , who did you mean? The USDA office? We are going to do the same, it sounds much faster and less stressful. The pet ownership worksheet for preparing visit with accredited to complete health certificate says "Please note that preparing for travel to some countries can take several months." Should we be worried about this?
Rochelle and Beth