Travel Requirements

Coggins Testing and Crossing The Border With Horses

There are only two types of border crossings: successful or unsuccessful, as anyone who has ever argued with a customs official well knows. The rules are simple and proper preparations are essential. If your documents are in order and correct procedure is followed, you will have no problems at either border.

Every horse crossing the US/ Canada border must have a current Coggins and Health Certificate. Plan ahead , these documents take time to complete.

Coggins

A blood sample must be taken and a Coggins form (EIA Serum test report) filled out by an accredited veterinarian. Tests are run at 11:30AM Monday through Saturday. Results are available later, at which time a Coggins certificate is issued. The Coggins certificate is delivered back to our office within 1 to 3 working days.

Coggins certificates are valid for 6 months from the date that the blood sample was taken.

Health Certificate

Health certificates are used for export and are filled out in conjunction with a current Coggins certificate by a veterinarian. If a Coggins has just been taken, it must be back in the hands of the veterinarian before a Health Certificate can be issued.

The address of where the horse is located in Canada as well as a complete address of destination must be included on the health certificate. It must be signed by a Department of Agriculture Veterinarian prior to shipping. This process can take a day or two as border endorsements are only done at specific times.

The health certificate is valid for 30 calendar days from the date of issue and multiple crossings can be made with the same certificate within this 30 day period.

Border crossings with livestock fall into two basic categories depending on the length of stay outside the country of origin.

Less than 30 days:

1) Documentation: Negative Coggins certificate, Signed Health certificate and a CEM certificate – issued when being signed by the Department of Agriculture Veterinarian
2) Procedure (Canada to US): Go to US Border/any lane, Give documentation to customs officer, stating that intended duration of animals stay outside Canada is less than 30 days and within 30 days return to Canadian border (no inspection is required)

More than 30 days:

The horse must be presented to the US veterinarian for inspection when entering the US and the Canadian veterinarian when entering Canada.

1) Documentation: Negative Coggins certificate, Signed Health certificate and a CEM certificate – issued when being signed by the Department of Agriculture Veterinarian
2) Procedure (Canada to US): Go to US Border Customs office to clear immigration, proceed to US Veterinary Inspection Station with documentation during hours outlined below, border vet will examine horses and verify their identification (warts and/or girth disease may be a problem, as may excessive uncleanness in your trailer) and the Health certificate will be stamped by the vet and returned to you. Proceed out of compound When returning to Canada after an absence of more than thirty days a new health certificate issued by an American veterinarian is required.

Permanent Entry:

3) Procedure: Veterinary examination is required as for entry over 30 days. The procedure for US to Canada crossings is the same as above except that you should start at the Canada Customs Office on the agricultural side.

Both Canada and the United States now have a users fee for crossing the border with horses. Agriculture Canada charges for the service of signing health papers. This is billed directly to the issuing veterinarian and is included in the cost of your health certificate.

The US Veterinary Inspection Station collects this fee at the border.

Hang on to your Coggins Certificate! It is the only valid copy of the document that is acceptable at all border crossings. Think of it as your horse’s passport, your horse cannot cross the border without it!

Happy traveling and remember – you will rarely win an argument with a customs official. It is much easier to be properly prepared!