I will share a guide on how to move from outside the Hawaiian Islands to Maui with your fur babies and avoid the terrifying quarantine possibility.
Moving to Maui is THRILLING. However, to avoid being overwhelmed, having a roadmap in front of you can ensure your move stays fun and organized. Moving requires a lot from us: selling your house, cars, furniture, ending jobs, emotions, packing… you name it. The last thing you want to happen after all your hard work is to arrive in Maui with your four-legged friend to find out you have to quarantine your pet for up to 120 DAYS!
If you’re like me, that sounds horrendous and unimaginable! We all want everything to go as smoothly as possible so that you and your pet can enjoy the many perks of Maui together, happily living in paradise.
Let me reassure you by the end of this blog, you will know exactly what steps to take to navigate a smooth, stress-free arrival for you and your pet.
Wait, What Do You Mean by “Quarantine?”
All the information I will discuss is based on the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division website.
Hawaii is entirely rabies-free; therefore, Hawaii governs all carnivores’ arrival into the islands. Quarantine is designed to diminish the possibility of dangerous health issues related to the introduction of rabies. Hawaii’s Dog and Cat Import Requisites require ALL dogs and cats to comply.
There is good news; if you plan accordingly, the law states that pets who follow specific pre/post-arrival standards may qualify for the excellent option to be released through the 5-Day or Less Quarantine program. This means your pet can potentially be released the same day you arrive, aka Direct Airport Release!
On the flip side, if you don’t follow the steps PRECISELY or your pet does not meet the specific requirements, your pet could fall into the dreaded 120-day quarantine.
With all this pressure on the line, the trick to a joyous arrival is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, and TRIPLE CHECK that everything aligns with the requirements.
The HOLY Checklists
Hawaii.gov provides four different checklists to pet owners. Each checklist is specific to where you are leaving from, “In Hawaii or outside of Hawaii,” and what island/airport you are flying into. Think of each list as your Pet Travel Bible, and follow the steps precisely to ensure a triumphant arrival.
Check out the image below to see which category you fall in:
The checklist we will focus on in this blog is Checklist # 2, which relates to those moving FROM outside of Hawaii and flying DIRECTLY TO Maui’s Airport, OGG in Kahului.
I think a direct flight to Maui (not stopping in Honolulu first) is the easiest method. If there is not a direct flight from your location, I suggest stopping in California or somewhere on the West Coast; from there, you can then catch a direct flight to Maui.
Checklist #2 Breakdown
I recommend printing checklist #2 out; in fact, make multiple copies so each pet has one and your veterinarian.
If you follow this checklist, it is the road map to Direct Airport Release.
You must submit EVERYTHING in this checklist 30 days or more before the intended arrival date! I suggest completing this WAY MORE than 30 days in advance. I suggest starting this checklist at least 6 months in advance, just in case unforeseen problems and kinks arise.
Complete this checklist in the exact order provided.
Okay, now I am going to help you digest this information.
Step 1: Find An Inspector
Once you arrive in Maui, you will need a veterinary inspector to meet you at the airport.
BEFORE BOOKING FLIGHTS, contact a Maui Veterinarian Office that performs pet inspections. Introduce yourself, tell them your timeframe and situation, and confirm that they will be able to assist you. They will likely email you information about them and a few forms to fill out. I used Melissa from At Home Animal Hospital in Kahului. She is GREAT!!
Below is a list of inspectors from the Hawaii.gov checklist #2:
Kahului (OGG): At Home Animal Hospital & Mobile Veterinary Services (808) 873-0102, Central Maui Animal Clinic (808) 893-2380, Kahului Animal Hospital (808) 871-7387, Kihei Veterinary Clinic (808) 879-5777, Makawao Veterinary Clinic (808) 572-9003, Maui Humane Society (808) 877- 3680, South Shore Veterinary Care (808) 874-3422, or West Maui Animal Clinic (808) 662-0099.
Step 2: Research Airlines That Allow Pets To Arrive In Maui
Each airline has a pet page on its website where you can access detailed pet information and Hawaii travel restrictions/requirements.
My husband and I used Alaskan Airlines and were highly impressed. However, I’ve also heard that Hawaiian Airlines is another excellent option.
You will want to take the time to thoroughly read the requirement page and jot down exactly what you will need. You should pay special attention to the individual airline policies because they each have a variety of differences. For example, Delta Airlines will allow pets to travel to Hawaii; however, they do not let pets ride as a carry-on in the cabin.
Read the fine print and ensure the airline you choose meets all of your personal needs.
I chose to find a flight that arrived earlier in the day, before 1 pm. I wanted to limit any possibility of flight delays negatively affecting the Direct Release process.
Step 3: Make Sure Your Pet Is Microchipped
If your pet doesn’t have one already, get an electronic microchip implanted. Whether your pet already has a microchip or is getting one, MAKE SURE IT WORKS by having your vet scan it.
Ensure the number matches your vets’ documents and anything you fill out. I had a significant problem with our vet back home making a mistake and putting the wrong number. Good thing I caught the error early; however, it was still a mess to sort out. Even professionals can make mistakes, so TRIPLE CHECK EVERYTHING.
If the microchip cannot be detected, your pet must quarantine for 120 days. Yikes.
Step 4: Rabies Vaccination
Your pet must have two rabies vaccinations in their lifetime; each vaccine must be administered AT LEAST 30 days apart.
The most recent vaccine must not be expired when you arrive in Hawaii.
The most recent vaccine must be administered more than 30 days before arriving. If you start this checklist at least 6 months in advance, as suggested, this shouldn’t be a problem.
On your pet’s health certificate, the date and type of vaccine must be listed; ensure this information is correct.
Step 5: FAVN Rabies Antibody TEST
After completing the above steps, you must schedule a vet appointment for a FAVN Antibody Test. This test measures the response of an animal’s immune system to rabies vaccination.
Make sure your vet lists “HAWAII” as the destination on the lab submission form. Also, ask if you can review the information before they submit the form (this is where our dog Coconut’s microchip number was imputed incorrectly.)
Ensure an approved lab conducts the test, such as Kansas State University, Auburn University, or DoD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas.
The lab must receive your sample no longer than 36 months before your arrival.
The lab must receive your sample at least 30 days before arrival; this is known as the 30-day required Waiting Period (I do NOT AT ALL suggest pushing it this close, get the test at least 4-6 months in advance just in case problems arise that may need correcting.) Lab results have been delayed due to covid, so allow extra time. If you show up in Maui before the 30-day waiting period elapsed, your pet will be disqualified from the 5-Day or Less Quarantine Program. Again, complete this test FAR in advance, and there shouldn’t be any problems.
A passing lab result requires the pet’s blood test to be greater than or equal to 0.5 IU/ML.
Once the successful results are ready, your local vet office should contact you, and you will pick up a personal copy directly from them (mine emailed the results for me to print.)
The lab results will automatically send to the Animal Quarantine Station. I still suggest checking with email@example.com to confirm they received your FAVN lab results.
Step 6: Coordinate Flights With Maui Veterinary Inspector And Create A Reservation
You will need to look up flights and discuss which will work with your inspector’s availability.
Once arrival/flight information is decided and booked, your inspector will need to send a formal confirmation to the Animal Quarantine Station at least 30 days before your planned arrival. The confirmation will state that they agree to perform the inspection and release procedure. I suggest following up in advance with your inspector to ensure this confirmation has been sent way before the required 30-day timeframe.
Call your Airline and add your pet(s) to the reservation.
You will pay a direct fee to your inspector’s clinic for their services.
Step 7: Gather and Complete Documents
Below is everything you will need in your document package:
1. Completed and signed Dog & Cat Import Form (AQS-279.) This does NOT have to be notarized.
- Click here to access the Dog and Cat Import form.
- Tripple-check the information, have a friend or family member take a look with a fresh set of eyes, or you can also send it to your inspector to ensure the information looks correct before moving forward.
- List the legal owner as the “Owner.” Do NOT put the Authorized Handler or Transport Company as the owner.
- Section 4 has you select which program you are applying for and check “Neighbor Island Inspection Permit $165.”
2. Original rabies vaccine certificates for the two most recent vaccinations.
- Ensure the date, microchip number, and all information is correct.
- I suggest getting it signed in blue ink to be on the safe side.
3. Payment of $165 by cashier’s check or money order.
- Make out to “The Department of Agriculture.”
4. Flight information (Airline, flight number, date, and time of arrival.)
- Your inspector will likely provide you with this form to fill out and print. If not, I would type this up as a word document for it to look professional.
5. Your Inspector may give you other documents to attach to the package; for example, Melissa gave us a Letter template to fill out that requested Direct Release.
- The steps above are crucial and listed on Hawaii.gov Checklist #2, but follow your inspector’s instructions for additional information.
Step 8: Mail Your Document Package
Put all of your completed and triple-checked documents above in an envelope and mail them to:
Animal Quarantine Station, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701
- The Animal Quarantine Station must receive all documents at least 30 days before your arrival date. I suggest sending this information as soon as possible with PLENTY of time in advance.
- I suggest sending this package through Priority/Certified Mail so that it’s insured; you can track it, and know when someone receives it.
- This is optional, but I am cautious, so about a week after I mailed my document package, I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure they received my pet’s documents.
Step 9: Neighbor Island Inspection Permit
Wow! I have gone over a lot of information; thanks for hanging with me. We have almost reached the finish line!
Your pet has a working microchip, your pet is properly vaccinated, your FAVN test is complete in advance, you have an Airport Inspection Reservation set, and you mailed your required documents! You are looking in great shape!
Now you wait for your Neighbor Island Inspection Permit or NIIP. This permit is the golden ticket. It will be sent to the primary owner’s email address listed on the Dog and cat Import Form (AQS-279.)
You will receive the “golden ticket” from the Animal Quarantine Station once the documents are received and the pet qualifies.
The NIIP is typically issued one week before your arrival date. Email email@example.com if it has not arrived 2-3 days before your arrival.
Make sure the information is correct. If there is an error, promptly email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Print out multiple copies of the NIIP. Owners must display a printed copy to the Airline on the day of travel. You will also need the NIIP to board the Aircraft.
Once arriving in Maui, your inspector will collect your NIIP.
Step 10: Original Health Certificate And Tick Treatment
You will need to schedule one last vet appointment to obtain an Original Health Certificate. Depending on your airline, it must be dated within 10 days or 14 days of your arrival. Check your airline requirement.
The Original Health Certificate will be viewed at the airport and collected by the Maui inspector.
During this specific vet appointment, have your pet treated for ticks with a long-acting product labeled to kill ticks (having this done on the same days as your Health Certificate ensures the tick treatment is administered in the correct timeframe.)
The checklist states the medication named Revolution is NOT acceptable.
*Ensure that the product name and treatment date are labeled on the pet’s Health Certificate.*
Have your pet’s microchip scanned one last time!
The Finish Line
- Create an organized folder containing copies of EVERYTHING.
- Ensure the Original Health Certificate and a few copies of the NIIP are in your folder.
- Ensure your pet has proper carrier/crate dimensions.
- Follow up with your inspector to remind them of your arrival and keep them updated with any travel changes.
- Take your pet outside for a long potty walk before their travel journey.
- BREATHE! You will be in beautiful Maui in no time!
If there is anything at all during the process that isn’t covered in this blog, or if you have any questions or worries; contact your inspector, veterinarian, or email email@example.com. You can never be too precise and safe regarding your beloved fur baby!
If these steps are completed as suggested, then the room for problems to arise is nearly impossible. Congratulations, I hope to see you and your pet in Maui at our gorgeous beaches and local dog parks! You did it.
Checklists are subject to change. This article is only as accurate as the date published and my personal positive experience.
Here is the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division website, where you can stay up to date with any changes.