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ST CROIX — Picture this: you’re ready to take the leap and move to St. Croix full-time, and everyone is coming with you, including your pets. Before now, you haven’t thought much about what the process would entail, and now you’re wondering how you’ll get them to your new island home safely.

First things first: all livestock, poultry, birds, and other animals coming into the territory must have an official health certificate. This is an official form completed and issued by either a licensed accredited veterinarian of the state of origin or a veterinarian employed by the state of origin or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If any animals are afflicted with or have been exposed to an infectious, contagious, communicable disease, or ectoparasites, they will not be permitted into the territory without a permit issued by the Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture of the Virgin Islands.

For dogs and cats, no import permit is needed; however, their official health certificate must state that they did not originate from an area quarantined for rabies. They must also have been vaccinated for rabies within 12 months of the date of shipment, except those that are less than 12 weeks old. When traveling, the rabies vaccination certificate must be attached to the official health certificate.
Commercial airline limitations can sometimes cause additional challenges — size, breed, weight, and number of pets, along with the season of travel, are all things to take into consideration. Certain breeds are prohibited from traveling commercially, and airlines are unable to accommodate transport for animals during hot months (think June through September). For some, chartering a plane is the only option to get their pets to the territory. Using a charter service through a company like Bohlke International Airways is one option to consider. Their animal-friendly charters provide safe passage for all types of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, and birds.

Another option available is Island Dog Rescue, an organization that provides shelter for animals and enables the adoption of orphaned animals from the Caribbean to homes in the United States. Travelers with pets complete an online form to start the process, and the organization works with mainland and Caribbean partners to organize safe transport for the pets.

With knowledge of this sometimes arduous process, Coldwell Banker St. Croix Realty created a pet moving checklist to assist clients and new USVI residents relocating with their bonus family members. It ensures comprehensive preparation, reduces stress for you and your pet, and helps facilitate a smooth transition for your pet into their new environment. Reach out to request the checklist for easy access when it comes time to make the official move to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information about moving to the USVI with pets, visit or call 340.774.5182. Interested in working with Island Dog Rescue for your pet relocation? Complete this form to get started:

Written by Anquanette Gaspard