Are you moving to Hawaii with pets? You can’t imagine leaving your furry family member behind? Preparing to move – whether it’s across the country, town or Pacific Ocean – can be an exciting and busy time for anyone. Moving to Hawaii with pets requires simple precautionary measures and proper planning for a smoother transition for both you and your pet.

Before you pack your pet’s bags, make sure to check the Department of Agriculture’s website. There are strict laws in Hawaii regarding animal importation. Certain animals are acceptable to keep as pets in other countries or contiguous United States, but they could be prohibited or restricted in Hawaii.

Importing an illegal animal could result in a penalty of up to three years in prison and up to $500,000 fines.

Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Law

There is a five-day or less program in Hawaii for taking dogs, cats and ferrets into the state. The program is intended to allow pets that meet the required qualifications to be released immediately upon their arrival. Here are five steps that will qualify your pet for the five-day or less program and direct release, ensuring that your pet stays in the home and with the family through the entire moving process. Failure to follow these regulations will land your pet in quarantine upon its arrival in Hawaii.

  1. VACCINATION: Hawaii is a rabies-free state, and you are required to ensure that your pet has had two rabies shots in its lifetime. These must have been administered at least 30 days apart, with the last one completed 90 days prior to arrival in Hawaii. Pets from countries with high rabies incidents are subject to mandatory 120-day quarantine.
  2. PET MICROCHIP:  All animals must be “micro-chipped” prior to arrival. The certificate from a veterinarian must state the number of the microchip and include verification that the veterinarian successfully scanned the chip. The chip should be implanted prior to the Blood Titer test (below). Your family’s pet will have to undergo 120-day quarantine if the chip cannot be read.
  3. BLOOD TITER TEST:  Your pet must have a Blood Titer Test performed less than 36 months and within 120 days prior to moving to Hawaii. Arriving before the full 120 days will disqualify your pet from the five days or less program.
  4. TICKS:  Your pet must be treated for ticks within 14 days prior to arrival. The veterinarian must have used approved products such as Fipronil and record it on the pet’s health certificate.
  5. APPLICATION:  All original documents should be sent to the Animal Quarantine Station, in the State of Hawaii at least ten days prior to your pet’s arrival. Since the documents cannot be prepared more than 14 days preceding arrival, you must send them via an express service for the pet’s airport release.Veterinary Certificate: All countries have distinctive veterinary certificates. This form may be different from APHIS 7001 (the veterinary certificate issued by veterinarians in the United States.) It is a crucial part of your pet’s “passport.”
Picking Up Your Pet

When it’s finally time to travel to Hawaii, you may enter Hawaii through the Honolulu International Airport only between 8 am and 9 pm. Your pet will be taken to the quarantine center on Halawa Valley Road where you will pick up your pet. You may also enter Hawaii through Kona, Lihue or Kahului Island airports, but special arrangements must be made in advance.

Other Animals

Other pets like birds, tropical fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals such as rabbits are not subject to rabies vaccination, but may be required to meet other requirements and must have a health certificate to move to Hawaii (see animal guidelines for importation). It is strongly recommended that you seek further information concerning moving pets to Hawaii from the relevant authority. It is imperative to check the website for the agricultural department in Hawaii for any updates on their animal importation laws.

When moving to Hawaii with pets, you need to make a clear, concise plan. Work with your veterinarian and know the laws that apply. This will help make moving to Hawaii with pets as smooth and hassle-free as possible.