Bringing Pets to Saipan
Bringing a pet to Saipan is logistically complicated for a number of reasons. However, it is not impossible. If you are considering a 2 year or longer contract, it may be worth bringing your pet. If you are doing a shorter locums contract, you may want to explore leaving your pet with trusted friends/family and fostering locally through a rescue while here. One thing to remember is that there is no clinical veterinarian consistently on Saipan, although there is access to some basic care.
There are limited shipping options to Saipan. Because United Airlines discontinued their PetSafe program in 2018, the only way to move a pet to Saipan is by charter. Lisa Meador-Schoppa Animal Travel Agent has charters almost quarterly, and a quote can be requested at www.animaltravelagent.com. Please note that charter dates are variable depending on demand. As of January 2023, a charter spot is roughly y$5000-5500, not including extra costs such as boarding during transit. Lisa will book your pet from wherever you are in the US to the charter location (typically SEA, HNL, or LAX), and the charter will fly your pet to Guam. Your pet will then connect from Guam to Saipan on a smaller airline.
The other challenge is vetting requirements. Although not officially recognized by the WHO as rabies-free, Saipan is known to be rabies-free and abides by strict import regulations to prevent rabies. Here are the steps you will need.
Step 1) Find a local vet who will do health certificates for pet travel and FAVN testing. Explain you are trying to import your dog to Saipan, a rabies-free island.
Make an appointment and get the following updated AND documented (you will need documentation for entry permit):
a) Rabies vaccine: Should have a total of two (in lifetime), at least 30 days apart. Please note, you will need 2 original copies of rabies vaccine (original = signed in ink by vet) for transit
b) DHLPP or DHLPPC vaccine
c) Treatment for internal parasites - even if fecal negative, the CNMI wants treatment regardless
d) Treatment for external parasites: bravecto or other flea/tick preventive
e) Heartworm testing
f) FAVN testing
Step 2) Contact Lisa Meador-Schoppa Animal Travel Agent. She is the pet shipper who charters planes to fly dogs to/from the region. You can request a quote at www.animaltravelagent.com. If you do not hear from her, please let me know and I will reach out.
*Note* Charters are variable, usually every few months but can be subject to changes. The airline industry is not stable. She may not have solidified charter plans very far in advance, it just depends on a number of things.
Once you have a flight date, you will need an entry permit issued by the CNMI Territorial Vet. Here's how to do that:
Step 3) Gather your veterinary vaccine records. Email these to the Territorial Veterinarian Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz at email@example.com with your projected travel date. This should be done no more than 60 days prior to projected flight, because the Entry Permit is only valid for 60 days. Email all documents together so there is no confusion.
The records should include:
a) Rabies vaccine: please note, you will need 2 original copies of rabies vaccine (original = signed in ink by vet) for transit
b) DHLPP or DHLPPC vaccine
c) Record of treatment for internal parasites - even if fecal negative, the CNMI wants treatment regardless
d) Record of treatment for external parasites: Vet documented bravecto or other oral anti-flea/tick med
e) Heartworm results
f) FAVN results
g) Projected travel date
Step 4) Entry permit payment: Mail $25 money order or certified check made out to CNMI Treasurer to the following address
Dr. Ignacio dela Cruz
P.O. Box 500677
Saipan MP 96950
Once approved, Dr. Dela Cruz will email you the entry permit. It is valid for 60 days.
Step 5) Once a flight date is confirmed, get scheduled for a Health Certificate from your veterinarian within 10 days of travel date. If Health Certificate is older than 10 days, it is invalid for travel. Plan so that your dog can use the same Health Certificate for entirety of journey + layovers.
To make your life easier, just have all the things above required for entry put on your Health Certificate if the vet is willing to do so.
Step 6) FLY YOUR PET
*Note about CRATES: Flight Safe crate is required. Must have ventilation on all sides and secure door. Animal must fit comfortably in the crate, able to stand and turn and lie down without ears or body touching the top/end.
-You can tape a ziploc bag of food to top of crate with leash in another bag taped
-Line crate with puppy pads or towels. Don't put anything important in crate because you will never see it again.
-Get a plastic folder with secure latch to put dog's paperwork in for travel, including original rabies cert, health cert, FAVN results, and all required documents above. Tape to crate. Make multiple copies of everything and have them well organized.
Step 7) Pick up on Saipan: I can help advise you, but basically you need to go to Micronesian Air Cargo hangar once your dog arrives and get paperwork to bring to airport to clear your dog through customs, then go back and bring paperwork to have dog released.