10 Steps for Bringing Your Pets to Hawaii


If you are considering moving to the exotic island of Hawaii then there are numerous things that you’ll need to consider, and if you want to take your pets to Hawaii with you there are a number of steps that you will have to make to ensure that the move goes smoothly.

To make importing your pet as straight forward as possible, you’ll need to  make sure that you have all of the information that you need in advance and ensure that you have all of the vaccinations, blood tests, and forms completed within the time frames stipulated as this will help to avoid any delays or last minute stress.

The official Hawaii government website has plenty of information available. If you are not sure what you will need, and it is a good idea to speak to your vet so they can inform you of all of the vaccinations and documentation that you will need if you want to import a pet into Hawaii.

Depending on the country you live in, some of the timelines might vary. If you live in Australia, New Zealand, the British Isles or Guam the rules and regulations might differ to those detailed here so you’ll need to check with the Hawaii government website for details.

Note: The information below was correct at the time of writing. However, as guidelines might sometimes change it is a good idea to check for further details on the official Hawaii government website for latest guidelines on bringing pets to Hawaii.

Detailed below are the ten steps that you’ll need to undertake ahead of your move to Hawaii.

Prohibited Animals

The laws in Hawaii for prohibited animals are extremely strict. Domestic animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, Guinea pigs, turtles, domesticated rats and mice are on the allowed list, so taking a domestic pet to Hawaii should not be a problem. However, the government in Hawaii has a detailed list of prohibited animals. These include: crabs, bees, jellyfish, salamanders, frogs, snakes, eels, hummingbirds, pigeons, doves, and some hybrid cats and dogs. However, many other animals – especially exotic animals – are also prohibited. The Hawaii government has a comprehensive list of all of the prohibited animals and it can be viewed here.

Fines for taking a prohibited animal into Hawaii are hefty and there might also be other penalties, so don’t be tempted to try and take a prohibited pet to Hawaii with you.

Stylin cat in Aloha garb!


Vaccinations will have to be up-to-date in order for your pet to be able to move with you to Hawaii. Hawaii government rules state that the pet must have been vaccinated for rabies at least twice and that these vaccinations have to be more than three months apart.

The latest rabies vaccination has to be given at around 90 days prior to the move to Hawaii, however, exact timings will need to be checked closer to the time of the move, but allow an adequate amount of time for vaccinations or this could prevent you from being able to take your pets  with you.

Domestic animals must also be treated for ticks before their move to Hawaii.


Domestic pets must be micro chipped. To comply with guidelines, a vet must fill out a form to certify that the pet has been micro chipped and the form must include the number of the microchip.

It must also be demonstrated that the microchip is working; this must be indicated on the form and the vet must be able to show that the microchip is in working condition.

Other guidelines issued by the government in Hawaii state that the microchip must be fitted before any blood tests are carried out; the microchip can either be  a standard issue that is readily available in the United States or the Home Again brand, and the microchip must have the full fifteen digits.


Blood Tests

Once the microchip has been fitted, it will be time for the blood tests. One of the essential blood tests will be to check for rabies. Hawaii is known to be a rabies free country so its rules for letting in animals are very strict.

Your pet will be tested for the OIE-FAV antibody; this would determine whether or not the pet has rabies. The blood test has to be carried out to strict timelines, usually no less than 120 days before the arrival in Hawaii.

Pet owners will need to have documentation showing the successful test results and these must be accompanied by the corresponding microchip number.


Hawaii has strict quarantine laws to prevent rabies or other serious animal illnesses. Pets that are imported into Hawaii are subject to two quarantine laws: the 120 day or the five day or less rabies quarantine.

Quarantine fees are paid for by the pet owners – there are no funding programs available to cover the cost of it so this is an important consideration if you are importing a pet to Hawaii. The five day quarantine period costs $224 for each animal while the 120 period costs $1,080 for each pet. There will also be a release fee of $165 for each pet that is held in quarantine.

To qualify for the five day quarantine period, pet owners will have to take a series of measures. These include ensuring that the pet has had a rabies vaccination. The pet must also be micro chipped and blood tests will have to be taken.

There are strict timelines for when the vaccinations need to be completed by and for when blood tests needs to be carried out so make sure that you abide by these. The Hawaii government has further details about these time periods on their website. The information can be obtained by going to: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/faq-for-animal-quarantine/

Dogs and cats will be kept in kennels during the quarantine period and owners are allowed to visit their pets during day time hours.


Import Form

In order for your pet to make the move with you, you will also need to complete an import form; there are several documents that will need to be completed to go with the import documents. These include a rabies vaccination certificate, proof that your dog has passed the rabies test, which is known as the OIE-FAV test, and your pet’s arrival information; you must fill out a separate from for each pet that you plan to import to Hawaii.

On the import form, you’ll need to check off all of the documents that you will be submitting; this will help to ensure that you have all of the information that you need.

There are few additional requirements if you have a service dog; you’ll need to be able to show that that you have the documentation to certify that you need your pet for reason of a disability.

Once the import form has been completed, you have the option of submitting the documents, or you can wait until you have the completed health certificate before submitting the documents.

In addition, you will have to pay a fee when you submit your import forms and you’ll need either a money order or cashier’s check in order to do this.

Your completed documents will then have to be submitted to the Department of Agriculture in Hawaii. Before mailing the documents, you’ll need to get some photocopies just in case they go missing in the post.

When you send in the documents, make sure that they are sent recorded delivery so that the documents can be tracked, and include your money order or cashier’s check.

Health Certificate

Pets that are moving to Hawaii are required to have a health certificate. The certificates indicate that the pet is in good health and must be obtained from a vet from your country. The certificate must confirm that the pet has no signs of parasites and that it is in good health and free from transmissible diseases. The health certificate may be sent with your pet when it is imported to Hawaii or you can submit it separately.

To fill out the health certificate, you’ll need to obtain a health form and take it with you to the vets. While at the vets, they will complete the form and sign and date it for you. You will also need to take your rabies vaccination forms with you, so that the vet can fill out the form correctly. A health certificate will have to be filled out for each pet that you plan to take to Hawaii with you.

You’ll need the vet to fill out the health form and complete the health certificate for you while you are at the appointment. The health certificate will need to include details of your pets (breed, etc.), the microchip number, the vet’s details, including their signature, and the information that has been recorded on your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate.

While attending the vets, you’ll also need to ensure that the pet has one final tick treatment and details of this will need to be recorded on the pet’s health certificate. The information will need to include the name of the tick treatment used, the manufacturer, and the date of the final tick treatment.

When collecting the pet’s health certificate, it is a good idea to discuss any concerns that you might have over the move to Hawaii and you’ll need to collect a copy of the animal’s medical file.

The appointment at the vets should be within two weeks of your planned arrival in Hawaii. However, terms and conditions will vary from country to country, and depending on the airline that you are travelling with, so it is important to check with your airline to make sure that everything is carried out in the correct timeframe.

Once you have been to the appointment at the vets, it is important that you make a copy of all of the forms.


Flight preparation

Prior to the flight, it is a good idea to contact the airline to ensure that the seat for your pet has been reserved. Make sure that you do this at least a week before the flight as this will give you time to resolve any complications or problems should there be any. You might also like to call the airline a few days before the flight to check once more that the seat has been reserved.

In addition, you’ll need to check when the deadline is for checking pets in at the airport as some airlines require that the animal is checked in a few hours before the flight is due to take off.

Imported animals will be inspected on their arrival at Honolulu Airport. These inspections are carried out every day during normal working hours; inspections begin at 8.30am and end at 8.30pm.

If you want your pet to qualify for direct release then you must arrange for the flight to arrive before 3.30pm. This is because it can take up to 60 minutes to transport a pet to quarantine holding facility and if the pet is not there by 4.30pm, then the animal will be held there overnight.

If a pet does arrive in the late afternoon or early evening then it will be held until the next day. If the pet is not collected from the quarantine area before 10.00am, then there will be an additional fee of $59.

Moreover, there are many other aspects of flight preparation that you’ll need to consider. One aspect to consider is how well your pet travels. For some pets, this isn’t a problem, but many domestic animals get nervous when they travel and this can cause health problems such as a stress, anxiety and stomach upsets.

If you have a cat, you’ll also need to ensure that you keep them in the house on the day before they are due to travel or they could wander off and cause a lot of headaches on the day that you are due to leave for your plane flight.

For pets that are especially nervous, it might be necessary to give them a tranquilizer ahead of the journey to ensure that the process isn’t too stressful for them. Take a vets advice on what is best suited for your animal ahead of time.

Make sure that you prepare some iced or frozen water for your pet and if you have a dog, then use the facilities at the airport so you can allow your pet to go to the toilet before boarding the flight.

Moving Day

In addition to the above steps, pet owners will also need to complete an application form ahead of their move to Hawaii. Applications for taking pets to Hawaii must be received in advance of the move. The documents will need to be forwarded to the Animal Quarantine Branch in the state of Hawaii and the documents must be sent ten days before the pet arrives in Hawaii, although these deadlines might vary depending on the country you are currently living in, so check this first.

Pet owners will be charged a fee for the cost of processing the documents. The documents will need to be send express delivery to ensure that they arrive on time and that there are no delays in importing your pet.

At the airport, you’ll have to check in your pet at the same time at you check in and you’ll need to complete a form detailing the last time your pet was given food and water.

Once the check in is complete, a kennel inspection will then be carried out. You pet will have to be removed from its kennel so in order to make an inspection of the kennel. When this has been completed, you can place the pet back in its kennel.

The pet will then be transported with the other flight baggage and when you board the plane you’ll need to advise the flight attendant that you are travelling with a pet. You will be then be given a receipt so that you know the pet is safely checked in. You’ll then need to follow the airlines instructions for disembarking from the plane and collecting your pet.



Animal Quarantine Information Page