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I am attempting to bring my pet overseas (from the USA to Turkey). I have an appointment to get her checked by an accredited veterinarian. Afterward, the USDA must certify the certificate (in writing; my destination country does not accept digital seals/signatures).

I am flying on a Monday. My vet will send the certificate to the USDA electronically on Friday. The USDA website says certificates must be signed by the USDA no more than two days before flight. They have told my vet that since there's a weekend in between, it's ok that mine will have a three day delay.

I'm concerned that workers at the check-in desk (Turkish Airlines, Chicago) may be instructed to look for a two-day max gap between certification from USDA and flight. But the real question is, who looks at this certificate, where, and why, and will I have any issue having it certified by the USDA three days out?

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    It is difficult to properly answer this without knowing what is the destination country? Also, who told your vet that 3 days is ok, was that the USDA?
    – Harry V.
    Jun 11, 2022 at 4:05
  • @HarryV. the destination country is Turkey. The vet called the USDA, who told her it was fine since there was a Sunday in between. I don't know if Turkish Airlines will look at this or if it's just a USDA concern, which is mostly my question. Jun 11, 2022 at 15:27
  • @HorseHair When you moved your pet and all is over, please let us know, how it went. It is welcome here to answer your own questions, when you found a solution/answer. Jun 16, 2022 at 12:56
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    @Allerleirauh I will try to remember to let you all know Jun 16, 2022 at 15:48
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    @Allerleirauh see the accepted answer, it's pretty accurate according to my recent experience. They wanted a USDA certified certificate in Chicago, made a copy of it, and that was it. No hassle about days. Jun 22, 2022 at 1:55

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The health certificate will likely be checked at a couple of stages. The airline will probably ask to see it at check in. You will also be required to show the certificate when you arrive in Turkey.

If the USDA has endorsed the certificate, I would expect you to be fine. In my experience the USDA will not usually endorse a certificate if it would not be accepted by the destination country. Meaning that if the USDA endorsed in 3 days over a weekend instead of 2, this will very likely be accepted by Turkey for travel.

Most USDA Endorsement Offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so for one to travel on Monday the certificate has to be endorsed on the Friday.

The health certificate itself (which is what the airline may look at) does not specifically state the required time frame for endorsement. Apart from making sure you have the needed documents, it is unlikely that the airline will examine the date much more closely.

It is not the airline, nor the USDA, who decides whether a pet can enter Turkey. It is the Turkish government on entry. Expect the health certificate and supporting documentation (e.g. Rabies titres and certificates) will be examined when you arrive in Turkey.

The worst case scenario would be when you arrive in Turkey that your pet could be denied entry if the documents are not all in order. The chances of this occurring in your case seem very remote.

You may be able to find further details on the Turkey pet import regulations on the Turkey government website. Unfortunately it is all in Turkish and my attempt to find the relevant regulations regarding pet import was not successful.

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