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Cats and dogs can travel to Hawaii, USA from most countries. As with pet laws for other US states, requirements for entry into Hawaii with cats and dogs depend on your country of origin. All pets arriving in Hawaii must be declared to customs, with mandatory quarantine for all cat and dog arrivals. Hawaii is the only rabies-free US state, therefore pet quarantine is in place to prevent an outbreak. However, in 2019, Hawaii introduced the 5 Days or Less cat and dog quarantine program, which includes the possibility of Direct Airport Release (DAR) provided that certain pre and post arrival criteria are met. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversees the import of animals, including pets, to Hawaii and the rest of the USA. Since 14 July 2021, a ban was imposed on dogs entering Hawaii, and all other US states, from high risk rabies countries. This ban is expected to end in July 2022. In addition to CDC regulations, if you’re taking a cat or dog to Hawaii, they must also meet pet import criteria set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as the state specific rules. Authorities in Hawaii have provided several checklists, as the requirements for entering Hawaii with a pet vary depending on your country of origin. Read on for the complete pet travel guide to taking a cat or dog to Hawaii.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Microchip for Pets Entering Hawaii

While the USA, in general, doesn’t require cat and dog arrivals to be microchipped, this is a necessity if your pet is travelling to Hawaii. So, if you’re flying to Hawaii with a cat or dog, they must have an ISO compliant pet microchip. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies blood test is performed by your vet.

To enter Hawaii, you must ensure that your cat or dog’s microchip is working, and can be scanned and read by your vet.

Rabies Vaccination for Pets Entering Hawaii

As well as adhering to CDC and USDA pet import regulations, individual US states can have additional laws. As Hawaii is the only zero rabies US state, there are rules in place to protect humans and animals on the islands from possible rabies transmission.

When you take a cat or dog to Hawaii, be aware of the following laws:

  • All cats and dogs, including puppies and kittens, must be vaccinated against rabies 
  • Mandatory quarantine is necessary for all pet arrivals
  • Quarantine ranges from 5 days or less, which includes possible release at airport, up to 120 days

For your pet to enter Hawaii, they require two rabies vaccinations, not less than 30 days apart. The most recent vaccination has to be within 14 days before departure to Hawaii. While a pet doesn’t have to remain outside Hawaii for 30 days, they must have passed the OIE-FAVN rabies blood test no less than 14 days before departure to Hawaii. The OIE-FAVN rabies test result is valid for 36 months from the day the blood was received at the laboratory.

Documentation for Cats & Dogs Entering Hawaii

To take your cat or dog to Hawaii, you must ensure you following the correct procedures, due to the strict quarantine rules.

In addition to a working pet microchip, and up to date rabies vaccination, all cats and dogs entering Hawaii require:

A Neighbor Island Inspection Permit is needed for interisland Hawaiian flights, but no permits are issued or required to fly a dog or cat into the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

Can Pets fly to Hawaii in the Plane Cabin?

While there are places you can’t travel to with a cat, dog or other pet in the cabin, the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, does allow pets to enter in the passenger cabin. However, some airlines don’t fly pets in the cabin to Hawaii, as upon arrival, all animals are must be taken by the airline to the Airport Animal Quarantine Facility.

Countries exempt from Pet Quarantine

Provided that you meet the expectancies of the Hawaiian government’s checklist, cats and dogs arriving from the following countries or territories are exempt from pet quarantine laws:

Travel to Hawaii with an Assistance or Service Dog

While quarantine is a must for all domestic pets travelling to the Hawaiian islands, fully trained and registered Assistance & Service Dogs are exempt from quarantine, provided that they meet some conditions. Assistance & Service Dogs are trained to perform a specific task to aid the health and wellbeing of their owner, therefore Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are excluded. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs may travel to Hawaii without quarantine, as long as they meet all the requirements.

In addition to Assistance & Service Dogs needing a functioning microchip, rabies vaccinations, and documentation as outlined above, you must follow the Hawaiian government’s rules to ensure your dog isn’t quarantined.

Banned Cat & Dog Breeds in Hawaii

Under Hawaiian Plant Quarantine law, non-domestic dogs and cats and hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross, Dingo, Bengal, Savannah etc. are prohibited from entering Hawaii. 

Pet Quarantine Programs in Hawaii

There are two pet quarantine programs in Hawaii:

  1. The 5 Days or Less scheme (includes Direct Airport Release)
  2. The 120 Days scheme

5 Day or Less Hawaii Pet Quarantine

The 5 Day or Less pet quarantine programme, means exactly what it says on the tin! If you meet the requirements of this scheme, your cat or dog will be released from quarantine within 5 days of arrival. In some cases, Direct Airport Release (DAR) is also possible under this programme.

However, as Hawaii is the only rabies free US state, your cat or dog must meet all requirements to qualify for this scheme.

Due to the time needed to prepare a puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the 5 Day Or Less program, they’ll be around 6 months old by the time they are ready to travel. Puppies and kittens that are unable to meet all requirements for the 5 Day Or Less program will be quarantined for 120 days.

To apply for the 5 Day or Less Hawaii pet quarantine scheme, you must complete the applicable checklist on the government website. There’s four possible checklists, depending on your country of origin:

5 Days or Less Checklist 1 – Honolulu arrivals for pets located OUTSIDE Hawaii
5 Days or Less Checklist 2 – Kona, Kahului & Lihue arrivals, for pets located OUTSIDE Hawaii
5 Days or Less Checklist 3 – Honolulu arrivals for pets located IN Hawaii
5 Days or Less Checklist 4 – Kona, Kahului & Lihue arrivals, for pets located IN Hawaii

Be aware that if your pet’s microchip can’t be read upon arrival in Hawaii, they won’t qualify for the 5 Days or Less program, including Direct Airport Release (DAR).

To qualify for the 5 Days or Less and DAR pet quarantine in Hawaii, your cat or dog must be vaccinated against rabies, with the following conditions:

  • Your cat or dog has to have received at least two rabies vaccines during their lifetime
  • The rabies vaccines must have been administered at least 30 days apart
  • The most recent rabies vaccine must have been administered more than 30 days before your pet’s arrival in Hawaii (but not more than the vaccine manufacturer’s licensed booster period)

Pets arriving in Hawaii must have passed a FAVN rabies antibody test, and also complete a 30-day waiting
period from the day the laboratory received the blood sample for testing. If arrival occurs before 30
days has elapsed, your cat or dog is subject to quarantine until the waiting period has been completed.
Your cat or dog must complete the 30-day waiting period before arriving in Hawaii to qualify for the 5 Days or Less program, including Direct Airport Release.

If all procedures aren’t correctly followed in the case of Direct Airport Release (DAR) in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, your dog or cat will either be:

  • Denied Direct Airport Release, and required to undergo quarantine of up to 120 days until requirements are met for release
  • transported out-of-State at your expense

In the case of arriving at Kona, Kahului or Linhue Airports, Hawaii, if all procedures aren’t correctly followed, cats and dogs will be refused entry to the island. Your pet will then be transported to Honolulu for inspection and/or quarantine or transported out of Hawaii at your expense.

Cost of Hawaii 5 Days or Less

The 5 Days Or Less quarantine program costs $244 per pet. If your cat or dog qualifies for direct release at the airport, the fee is $185 per pet.

If you arrive before your pet is eligible for this program, you’ll be charged $244 plus $14.30 per day.

120 Days or Less Hawaii Pet Quarantine

Should your cat or dog not meet the requirements of the 5 Days or Less programme, upon arrival in Hawaii, they will have to spend up to 120 days in the quarantine facility.

When you travel to Hawaii with your cat or dog, reasons for not qualifying for the 5 Days Or Less pet quarantine program include:

  • insufficient number of rabies vaccinations
  • timing of rabies vaccinations inadequate
  • failed rabies blood test or no blood test

Cost of Hawaii 120 Days Quarantine

A fee of $1,080 applies, per pet. There’s no discount available if you’re travelling with more than one cat or dog.

Hawaii Pet Quarantine Facilities

To travel to Hawaii with your cat or dog, if they must spend time in quarantine, upon arrival, your pet will be taken to The Airport Animal Quarantine Facility in Honolulu, Oahu. However, there are two satellite quarantine stations on the neighbouring islands, which are privately run facilities.

Kauai: Kauai Humane Society
P.O. Box 3330
Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: (808) 632-0610

Big Island: Bar-King Dog Kennel
P.O. Box 1184
Keaau, HI 96749
Phone: (808) 966-8733

Owners must make arrangements for these quarantine facilities directly. If your pet is being quarantined at a satellite kennel, your cat or dog must first go to the Airport Animal Quarantine Facility on Oahu for positive identification and examination. Cats and dogs usually stay in Honolulu at least two days before being transferred, but, due to the limited number of Hawaiian interisland flights, pets arriving on a Thursday or Friday may not be transferred until the following Monday.

There are no satellite facilities on Maui, Molokai or Lanai. However, there are approved animal hospitals on Maui, Big Island and Kauai where cats and dogs may be quarantined.

Hawaii Pet Quarantine Visiting Hours

Visiting hours at the pet quarantine station in Honolulu, Hawaii are:

Tuesdays, Thursdays: 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays: 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The station is closed for visits on state state holidays, Mondays and Fridays.

Entering Hawaii with a Dog from a High Risk Rabies Country

With effect from 14 July 2021, if your dog is travelling from one of the high risk rabies countries detailed by the CDC, or has visited one of these countries in the last 6 months, you can’t currently take your dog to Hawaii.

However, if you have good reason to travel to Hawaii with your dog from one of the high risk rabies countries, or have visited one in the last 6 months, you can apply to the CDC for a special Import Permit. Be aware that these permits are only issued on an extremely limited basis.

The ban on dog imports from high risk countries to Hawaii is expected to end in July 2022.

Always protect your pet against biting insects when in a foreign destination, and remember to leave a review if you travel to Hawaii with your cat or dog!

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