Moving Your Pets to Hawaii

Moving with your pets to Hawaii is easier then you think in 2020!

When I first moved to Hawaii from California, my pets were a big concern. I was worried about the flight, the entire process of having them direct released from the airport and, of course, having them adjust to Hawaii. I wanted to make sure I could take them home the same day. Back in those days, things were a little different and took longer as the only direct release location was in Honolulu. We had to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu, clear quarantine, and then get on a different plane to arrive in Kona. Needless to say, my two dogs were in heaven when we finally arrived home in Kailua Kona. Beach, sun, and freedom to roam around like never before, more parks and definitely a friendly approach to those of us with four-legged kids.

My dogs “Slinky” and “Rat” were released the same day from quarantine and they loved Hawaii! ?

Many people who have visited Hawaii and entertained the notion of perhaps one day living here have been hampered by the strict quarantine of dogs and cats meant originally to protect Hawaii from the introduction of rabies. The quarantine of these pets used to be several months in duration and, for many years, there was only one pet quarantine station and that was on Oahu. Now, there is a station on the Big Island as of August 2018 and the pet quarantine has been eased. See the link below to the state site for more info.

Due to the large volume of requests for Neighbor Island Inspection Permits, owners must ensure the following documentation is received by the Animal Quarantine Station 30 days or more ahead of the planned arrival:

  • Completed Dog & Cat Import Form (AQS-279).
  • Original rabies vaccine certificates for the 2 most recent vaccinations.
  • Payment of $165 in cashier’s check or money order made out to the Dept. of Agriculture (no personal checks).
  • Flight information (i.e. Airlines, flight number, date and time of arrival).
  • A letter from the owner requesting Direct Airport Release at either “Kona” or “Kahului” or “Lihue.”

Contact a listed veterinary hospital to see if they are able to perform the inspection at the desired airport:

These contractors will send a confirmation to the Animal Quarantine Station that they have agreed to perform the inspection and release procedure. Owners are responsible for the additional fees to the contractor for this service.

Animal quarantine officials will inspect the pet at the airport, check its chip to confirm its identity, and release the animal to its owner if everything is in order.

Please visit the following sites for more info:

State of Hawaii – Department of Agriculture rules and guidelines:

For a list of frequently asked questions:

Checklists for Requesting Direct Airport Release at Airports in Kona, Kahului, and Lihue:

Laure McElwee
Principal Broker/Owner