Exporting Horses from the U.S.

Information to help you get your new horse home.

Exporting a horse to another country can be a fairly in-depth process, including a period of quarantine, so it is important to start early. Much of the process is determined by the country into which you plan on importing your horse. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that you contact the appropriate ministry in the destination country and apply for an import permit. The destination country will tell you which documents, tests and other information they require.

You can also obtain this information from your USDA Area Veterinarian-in-Charge. They will be able to provide you with the current regulations, tests and inspections required for the country into which you plan to import. Although you may have your own veterinarian fill out the necessary paperwork (if they are a USDA accredited veterinarian, you must have the USDA Area Veterinarian-in-Charge sign off on the paperwork before it is valid.

General Necessary Paperwork

  • Animal Identification
  • International health certificate, including:
  1. Current negative Coggins test (generally within the last 12 months, but contact the country of import for exact specifications)
  2. As of February 1, 2007, any stallion entering a quarantine facility must have a recent (usually within 30 days) negative EVA (equine viral arteritis) test. Or if vaccinated, an official record of vaccination, including a pre-vaccination negative test for EVA. 
  3. Documentation of vaccinations
  4. Documentation of tests
  5. Documentation of treatments
  6. Pre-shipment examination
  7. Other specific health requirements for entry into the specific country (these requirements are established by the importing country, not the United States)
  8. Other specific requirements for the carrier (airline, sea or truck) for the movement of your horse
  • Import permit
  • Export agreement
  • Payments (customs clearance, USDA fees, etc.)
  • Health or accident insurance for your horse if desired, or if required by shipper

The USDA urges horse owners to contact the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Veterinary Services area office in the state from which your horse will be exported if you have any questions or concerns about the regulations.

You will also have to decide which port you plan to use to export your horse. The USDA has a small number of specific licensed Ports of Embarkation in each state where your horse and its documentation are inspected. Don’t assume that your closest airport is licensed to inspect and ship your horse. The USDA offers a list of licensed Ports of Embarkation (air and sea) to help you decide which is the best port for you.

According to the Animal Transportation Association, the shipper or carrier must provide an attendant for your horse while en-route to its destination if required by the laws of the countries involved or for any other reasons. It is possible for you to act as the attendant for your horse; however, you must be certified through the carrier and the carrier’s animal services company prior to the trip.

There are also several companies throughout the U.S. that specialize in exporting horses. For a fee, they can help you expedite the process and perform the necessary quarantine and tests.

Most companies’ full service export includes:

  • 30 days of quarantine and daily care
  • Testing and preparation of all health certificates and documents
  • Transportation to airport of departure
  • USDA charges at departure airport, export handing and air freight costs in the airport of arrival

Possible Carriers:

For more information on exporting your horse out of the United States, visit the USDA Animal Export Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as the USDA’s Preparation of Animals Traveling Internationally checklist. You can also call your local APHIS-VS area office for more information.