Traveling with Tramp, Part 1: Transporting Your Pet from the USA to the Philippines

This is based on my personal experience in transporting my adopted terrier mix Tramp from Dallas, Texas USA to Manila, Philippines via Korean Air in December of 2010.

Before anything, find out all the requirements:
  • Call the destination country (Philippines)
    • Ask for the requirements for importing a pet into the country
  • Call your airline (Korean Air)
    • Book your flight (direct flight is recommended when traveling with a pet)
    • Inform them that you intend to fly with your pet
    • Ask for all the requirements
  • Call the country of origin (USA)
    • Ask if there is anything they need on their end before you can transport an animal out of the country.
After getting all that information, here is the list of requirements I found I needed:

Philippines Customs & Korean Air Requirements (as of December 2010):

  • Vaccination records/certificate
  • International health certificate
  • IATA approved crate and crate dimensions
  • Import Permit from the Philippines Bureau of Animal Industries
And here’s how I went about acquiring/accomplishing each requirement:
  • Vaccination records/certificate
Tramp’s vaccination record

This should be accomplished at least a month before the intended travel date.

Tramp’s vaccinations were already 2 months old by the time I was taking him to get his international health certificate. If your pet’s vaccines are not updated get this done immediately.


Once your pet’s vaccinations have been updated, make sure that his vaccination record/certificate is updated as well and that it contains the vaccine lot numbers and manufacturers.

Detail of vaccination record



  • International health certificate
Scanned copy of health certificate

In the US this can be acquired from an accredited veterinarian. I had it done by a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital at one of the Petsmart outlets in Texas. Call them first before going there to book an appointment. When you tell them that you need an international health certificate made for your pet, they may ask if you have already called the destination country’s embassy about the requirements for import, and if you have all of your pet’s necessary records, so be ready with that information.

Press hard while writing.

Don’t forget to bring all of your pet’s previous records with you to the clinic. Your vet will ask for those and might also require the contact information of your pet’s previous vet in the US. Press down hard while filling out the certificate that they give you, you’ll be making 6 copies.

When you’re done, remember to ask for all your records back. The clinic that I went to forgot to give me mine back. Fortunately, I was able to have them fax me the papers that I needed before our departure.

Banfield Invoice
Exam Report

The physical exam and certificate cost a total of 101.95USD. It’s quite possible that you could get better rates from a different vet clinic in the US so it doesn’t hurt to ask around before booking an appointment. Since I wasn’t familiar with the area I simply picked the one that was located nearest where Tramp and I were staying in Dallas.

  • Crate & crate dimensions – the dimensions are required by the airline for reserving a space for your pet (Height x Length x Width; weight without animal inside)

Obviously, you will need to contain your pet for transport. Even smaller pets that can be brought on board as carry-on luggage need a small crate that fits under the seat. Your pet’s crate needs to be airline approved, so if purchasing a crate look for ones that say IATA approved or that follow these guidelines (as copied from the IATA Traveler’s Pet Corner page)


Know your pet’s crate’s dimensions including Length, Width, Height and Weight with and without the pet actually in it. The airline will need this information when you call them to reserve a space for your pet in cargo. You could measure these yourself, ask the store where you purchased the crate from, or look it up on the crate’s packaging or online if the manufacturer had a website.

Below is Tramp’s crate that I also purchased from Petsmart. With it, I also bought a travel kit that contained the “Live Animal” stickers and the split-type water and food container that attaches to the crate door.

Tramp’s crate. The travel kit containing the stickers and water and food dish attachment is purchased separately

  • Import Permit from the Bureau of Animal Industries
Approved import permit

This is the requirement of Philippine customs that they will ask for at the destination airport in Manila. You can apply for this over the internet by sending them the filled out pet import application form found here.

E-mail the filled out form to

I was fortunate because their reply to my application came back within just a few days, but a friend of mine who was transporting her pets home from Malaysia said that she had to send them a follow up e-mail in order to get the permit processed, so I suggest that if you don’t hear from the BAI in a couple of days, call them or if possible have someone in the Philippines follow up on your application. Otherwise, the approved permit might take too long to get back to you.

Once approved the BAI will send you the approved permit which you must print out and – together with your pets vaccination records and international health certificate – present at Customs at the airport upon your arrival.

And that’s it! Those are all the things I needed to get Tramp checked in at DFW airport in Dallas and out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

NOTE: I called the US Department of Agriculture just  to make sure there weren’t any requirements that they might need on their end, but there were none. However, they did advise me that in case the destination country needed to see the USDA’s endorsement on my pet’s health certificate, then I should mail them the certificate using overnight express delivery and they would be able to mail me back the endorsed health certificate within a week.

IMPORTANT: You have to reserve a space for your pet in cargo on your flight. The slots for pet carriers in cargo per flight are limited so as soon as you have all the airline requirements immediately call them again to make that reservation, and then call them again on the following day to confirm your pets reservation on your flight.

If you have a connecting flight with the same airline make sure the airline agent you speak with checks that your pet is also clear to be transported on the connecting flight as well. If your connecting flight is with another airline, be sure to call them as well to make separate reservations with them.

Other important links and contact info:

Philippines Bureau of Animal Industry
BAI Import Procedure
Fax: +632-920-0825

Korean Air
Korean Air Customer Service USA

USA Department of Agriculture
USDA Pet Travel Info

In PART 2 of this entry I will tell you about how and what I prepared for traveling with Tramp, and also about getting to  and checking in at DFW Airport, and finally getting out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

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  1. Pingback: Traveling with Tramp, Part 2: Transporting Your Pet from the USA to the Philippines | Pet Centrics

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