Taking your pet to Hawaii? What to know.

EatSleepDad Family, Hawaii Life, Travel 0 Comments

When moving to Hawaii from the east coast with our pets, we had to do some major research on Hawaii’s animal quarantine policy, they’re unlike any other I’ve experienced on the mainland.  Given Hawaii is a rabies-free state, they have some pretty tight restrictions.

United Airlines PetSafe flights – What you need to know

If you’re choosing to send your pets with United Airlines, ensure you confirm their travel crate policy first.

Though this isn’t listed on the Hawaii quarantine website, or on the United Airlines website (at the time of posting) for that matter, I thought I’d include my (very) short story so you can avoid any issues when arranging your pets’ flight.

When we arrived at the United Airlines Pet terminal, I was informed that only one of our pets could fly out because our cat’s crate was unauthorized.  This caused confusion, because both crates provided the same protection and were the same size.

The clerk explained United Airlines just came out with a new policy the month prior that stated certain travel crates could not be used, however, they forgot to notify the customer on this update.

The photo above shows the travel crates side by side, the gray one is allowed, the blue one was initially rejected.  Only after explaining that the airline never notified me, and explaining scientific data on the plastic density similarities used between the crates (anything to get the cat on that flight), did they allow an exception for the blue crate.

Note: As of this posting, only the gray style crate pictured is accepted.  I can’t speak on any other airline policies, I’ve only used UA’s PetSafe program.

Here is a link to United Airlines PetSafe kennel requirements.


Types of Quarantine

There are 3 types of pet quarantine routes you can take to get your pet into Hawaii:

For more info on what each quarantine requires, check out this PDF posted by the State of Hawaii Animal Division.

My advice is to start the process the moment you know you’ll be moving to avoid the hefty quarantine fees, plus any admin fees.

Before your pet arrives

  • The pet must have been administered at least two (2) rabies vaccines in its lifetime. The second vaccination must have been administered no less than 30 days after the first vaccination.
    • In addition, the most recent vaccination must have been given no less than 90 days, and no more than 12 months prior to arrival in Hawaii for 12-month licensed vaccines and no less than 90 days and no more than 36 months prior to arrival in Hawaii for 3-year licensed vaccines;
  • The pet should be microchipped for identification. The microchip is required to identify the pet with the blood sample;
  • A blood sample must be sent to an approved laboratory for the OIE-Flourescent Antibody Serum Neutralization Test (OIE-FAVN), which tests for the adequate response to the rabies vaccine. A test result >0.5 IU/ml is required; and
  • The pet must complete the required waiting period from the date the laboratory receives the blood sample before it may enter the state under the following programs:
    • 5-day-or-less quarantine – requires 120-day pre-arrival waiting period.

Active Duty Military

The website states Active Duty military can be reimbursed up to $550 per family (not per pet) for quarantine.  Of course, you’ll have to check with your command to inquire about reimbursement.

What happens when your pet arrives in Honolulu?

Honolulu is the only port of entry for all animals. All animals must arrive in Honolulu for inspection and quarantine.

Dogs and cats arriving in Honolulu will be taken from the aircraft by airline personnel and delivered to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. Pets are taken out of their carriers and placed in indoor kennels and provided with fresh water. Food may be provided at owner’s request.

Pets arriving during the day are transferred to the main Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa Valley on one of two van runs each day. If your pet arrives after 3:00 p.m. it will spend the night at the airport facility and will be transferred to the main Animal Quarantine Station the next morning.

Guide and Service Dogs

Hawaii will allow you to bypass the quarantine period for any eligible Guide and Service dogs.  You can find eligibility requirements here.


All information above is current as of June 2017 and sourced from http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/faq-for-animal-quarantine, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change at their discretion.

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