Hawaii Travel

Want Fido to Lei Around Hawaii? Better Say Aloha to Your Vet First!




So, you have made the decision to pack up and make the big move to Hawaii. We hate to break it to you but that decision may have been the easy part. Now comes the planning, preparation and of course the actual move itself. Depending on where you may be relocating from, the transition to island life may take some time.

A move can be a burdensome and trying time for any family. When part of that family includes a beloved pet, that trying time can intensify greatly. Moving across town is difficult enough however, moving across the country can become a whole new ball game. While Hawaii is known for its warm tropical climate and diverse natural scenery, they are also known for strictly adhering to their laws and regulations. Making the trip with Bella or Barney will go much smoother on all of you so long as you fully prepare ahead of time.


To ensure a smooth passage, it is highly recommended that anyone migrating to Hawaii with a pet visit http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ for frequently updated importation laws. Please be advised that some animals that are considered “pets” in the continental US may be restricted or banned altogether in Hawaii. Smuggling an illegal animal into the state can carry a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Hawaii is the only state in the US that is rabies-free and they intend to keep it that way!

Hawaii has what is called a quarantine law which is designed to protect residents as well as their pets from potentially serious health problems associated with the introduction and spread of rabies. ALL dogs and cats, regardless of age, must comply with import specifications. Any pet that does not meet the exact requirements will be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in the state.



While Hawaii currently has two quarantine programs when arriving on the island, we believe that only one of them is an option. Bella is just as nervous and excited about the new move as you are and she does not want to stay at the airport any longer than she has to. By following the simple steps we have provided below, you should have no problem leaving the airport as one big happy family.

Your pet must have been vaccinated for rabies at least twice in its lifetime and these vaccines must have been administered at least 30 days apart.  The most recent vaccination must not have been given within the last 90 days prior to arrival.  Both vaccination dates must be listed on your veterinarian records along with the type of vaccination administered. The certificate must include the serial number, time between boosters, dates and vaccine lot expiration date.


Your pet must have a microchip implanted and the number needs to be verified by your vet. Be sure to write this number down as it will be required on other paperwork. If your pet is scanned and can not be identified by the information given for the microchip, you will not be eligible for the 5 Day or Less program.

An OIE-FAVN rabies blood test must be taken by your vet AT LEAST 120 DAYS before your planned arrival date. This sample must be sent to Kansas State University or the DOD lab. This blood test can not be completed until your pet has been microchipped as a copy of the blood test results must include this number. It is also important to list Hawaii as the destination on the blood test submission form for proper distribution of this paperwork.

All documentation must be original with ink signatures.  Absolutely no photocopies or computer generated certificates will be accepted.


A completed health certificate must be completed by your veterinarian in English only. This must have been done within the last 14 days of arrival to the islands and must include all information that was submitted on the vaccination certificate. ie: vaccine name, serial or batch number, vaccination date etc. This certificate will also be required by the airline so always check their requirements in advance as well.

All pets must be treated with a product for tick prevention within 14 days of arrival as well. This medication MUST contain Fipronil or an equally equivalent product to be admissible. Most monthly prescription flea/tick medications administered by your veterinarian are sufficient however Revolution is NOT passable and will not be accepted. Be aware that Fluffy is going to have a health inspection upon arrival in Hawaii. She will not be allowed to go home with you if she has ticks or other parasites at your time of arrival.



Once you have completed the checklist, we recommend you revisit the website and read through each step one more time. Have you met each deadline? Have you included all serial numbers and dates? Did your vet sign in all areas indicated and are all copies original? http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/files/2013/01/aqsbrochure.pdf

Now that you have all paperwork in order, we can move on to the submission process. All paperwork must arrive at the Rabies Quarantine Branch at least 10 days before your pet arrives. It is very important that you complete this step with enough time to spare. You have made it to the final steps so make sure you adhere to these deadlines as well. All documents must be mailed together to: Animal Quarantine Station, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701. This will include the following: Dog & Cat Import Form, both rabies vaccination certificates and your payment. You can find the current payment amount on the government website at all times. (currently running from $165 – $224) Please keep in mind that photocopies, faxes or computer generated certificates are immediately rejected.

Dog in carry-on container

Whew, now that we have all of that completed we have a few more reminders as you get ready for your big Hawaiian move with the family. Chances are very high that you are going to be taking an airplane onto the big island. Once again, you may run into some time restraints as far as the hours of operation for the Quarantine Station at the airport. Again, you will need to stay aware of these hours on the government website as they are updated regularly. To prevent an overnight stay in quarantine for your furry friend, we advise booking a flight that arrives with plenty of time to clear customs. The website currently recommends 1.5 – 3 hours for this process.

Well, as we all know, moving is not for the faint of heart. If you are like we are, your pets are as much a part of the family as everyone else. While this may seem a bit overboard to some, we believe it is very comforting to know you are moving to a state that will be so safe and disease free for your pet. And hey, we hear Hawaii has lots of dog parks, dog hikes, and even doggie beaches. Who wouldn’t love a serene swim in some gorgeous turquoise water. Happy Trails! http://www.bringfido.com/attraction/state/hawaii/

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