Pet Travel Guidance

Updated January 2016

PCS travel can be stressful for all members of the State Department family, including our pets. This annual cable provides important information enabling pet owners to plan for all aspects of pet travel. While the Department strives to make this process as easy as possible, it is important to remember that shipping a pet is the owner's responsibility. Although the USG may reimburse some costs, and posts may provide pet owners with some level of assistance, the USG does not accept any liability relating to the transportation of pets.

Please consult the Overseas Briefing Center's (OBC) Traveling with Pets page (http://snip.state.gov/b46) for the most comprehensive updated information, including post pet-entry requirements or restrictions, and related petshipping issues such as airline pet-shipping policies. Annual pet surveys submitted by post GSOs to OBC provide detailed pet entry requirements and other important post pet-related details such as quality of local veterinary care, any pet-related housing issues, and possible airline routing challenges.

Employees transferring to an overseas location should also contact the General Services Office (GSO) Travel and Transportation Section at their post of assignment before transporting a pet to confirm and/or clarify the information from their post's pet survey that generally includes any restrictions on pet import and export, clearance procedures/fees, and quarantine procedures (if applicable). The current post TMTHREE will also include basic pet-specific information. It is critical that senior GSOs and/or management officers carefully review pet surveys for clarity and accuracy before submission.

FLY AMERICA ACT, EU OPEN SKIES and GSA CITY PAIR FARES: PCS travelers can request an exception to the contract "city pair" fare (14 FAM 543) when space for pets as checked baggage is not available. When using this exception, the USG will pay no more than the contract fare for tickets; employees are required to pay the remaining balance. This allows travelers to consider other U.S.-flagged carriers as well as EU carriers (when your travels are to, from, or through the EU). Be sure to review the regulations carefully and check with an expert (see paragraph 8). Travelers violating the Fly America Act are legally responsible for the cost of the entire ticket.

Due to complex airline policies regarding payment for tickets, the DS-4022 form captures the difference in cost above the amount the Department would normally pay for an employee to travel on the most direct and economical routing (normally the contract carrier). The difference in cost must be paid to the cashier in advance of ticketing and the cashier will provide the employee with the cashier's receipt and initial the DS-4022 as proof of payment. The cashier at the Harry S. Truman building (HST) is located in room 1258. The Travel Management Center (TMC) will then be permitted to issue the ticket (see 13 STATE 161226 http://telegrams.state.gov/aldac/view_telegram.cfm?teleid=10507832).

SHIPPING A PET AS AIR CARGO: Pets may be transported as an air cargo shipment on the same flight as the owner or on a separate flight. If the pet is traveling on a separate flight, the owner must make arrangements for the pet to be picked-up at the final destination, if the owner cannot personally do so. The cost of this service is considerably higher than shipping a pet as excess/accompanied baggage. An increasing number of airlines and/or countries require that pets travel as cargo even if the owner is traveling on the same flight. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations require that if a pet is shipped as cargo to the U.S., a professional shipper must be used.

Any questions regarding this guidance on the OBC site may be addressed to Maureen Johnston in the Overseas Briefing Center at JohnstonM5@state.gov or by telephone at (703) 302-7277; the Transportation and Travel Management Division at TransportationQuery@state.gov; or the Office of Allowances at AllowancesO@state.gov.