Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Form! USDA Health Form 7001

Three business days before we were supposed to embark on our cruise, the cruise line, Cunard, drops another last minute requirement on me.  Ugh!  Now what?
Early on, we were informed that we needed to fax a health certificate for Asta signed by the veterinarian, showing her recent vaccinations and health status.  That was done.  When I hadn’t received confirmation from the cruise line that Asta was “set” to come on board, I finally got through (with my travel agent’s help) after 2 days. 
They also now wanted the USDA Form 7001 signed by Asta’s veterinarian.  No joke.
Basically, the USDA Form 7001 is a restatement of all the information found on the normal veterinarian’s health certificate, but on a government form:  USDA Form 7001.  I called the USDA to find out the procedure.  I have to say, “Mike” at the USDA, was super-nice and helpful!  He said that if my veterinarian is accredited by the USDA (and she is), she would need to fill out the form and sign it. 

Some travel carriers (airlines and cruise lines) do not require this form at all.  Some do.  Check with your carrier early!  Of those that do, some only require the form be signed by your accredited veterinarian.  Some travel carriers (airlines and cruise lines) only require the form be signed by your accredited veterinarian.  That is the case with Cunard.  However, some also require that the form be endorsed by the USDA! 

To receive endorsement by the USDA, the original form needs to be delivered to the central USDA office in your state - in California, with a $37.00 check (or credit card fee).  They will endorse this and return the original to you if you include a return envelope.  If you need your paperwork returned sooner (which most people do), include a pre-addressed FedEx overnight envelope with your paperwork.  The USDA typically will stamp documents on the same day or the following day after they receive them.
Give yourself enough time for this procedure!  The USDA certificate needs to be signed by your vet within 30 days of travel, and the USDA endorsement needs to be fit in after that.
Here’s a picture of the form, and a link to this important agency.

For other travel requirements, see my earlier blog post: Health Certificates and Other Required Documentation

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