Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

DIRECT RELEASE NOTIFICATION: Due to the AQS not issuing permits for arrivals within 30 days, we regretfully cannot process requests in less than 30 days! Please give ADVANCED notice of any Direct Release Requests. Mahalo!

A cat sitting on a porch wave

Traveling to Kaua’i with Your Pet? KNSAC CAN HELP WITH DIRECT RELEASE

In order to keep Hawaii rabies-free the import of all animals is governed by Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture. Kaua’i North Shore Animal Clinic has been approved by the State of Hawaii to inspect animals at the Lihue Airport for Direct Release to owners who have met the state requirements. Follow the steps below to avoid a lengthy quarantine period for your pet.

State of Hawaii 2023 Checklist

KNSAC Direct Release FAQ

Direct Release Request Form

Direct Release Process

Whether this is your first time traveling with your dog or cat to Kaua’i or you are an experienced traveler to Hawaii, it is important to know that you need to apply for a new Neighbor Island Inspection Permit for each entry into Kaua'i. We understand that the process can be confusing so we have created this interactive guide to help you. If you have any questions please contact our team.

Let's Get Started:

Key Terms:

  • Animal Quarantine Station (AQS): State agency that governs the import of animals from the mainland into Hawaii
  • Neighbor Island Inspection Permit(NIIP): The permit issued by the state of Hawaii that must be issued and accompany the pet each time they enter a neighbor island from the mainland.
  • Mainland: Continental United States
  • Neighbor Island: All islands except Oahu.
  • Fully Qualified: The AQS considers a pet to be “fully qualified for entry” once they have satisfied the following requirements:
    • AQS in possession of the pet’s two most recent rabies vaccination certificates
    • Pet has a passing FAVN test that is still valid, and it has been more than 31 days since the lab receives your pet’s sample
    • AQS is in possession of completed AQS-279 (dog and cat import) form
    • AQS is in possession of payment via cashiers check or money order for the issuance of the NIIP
    • AQS has a note from the owner requesting Direct release on a Neighbor Island
    • Confirmation of booking — Once an owner has paid for their direct Release Booking KNSAC will confirm the booking with AQS.

Step 1: Planning — Double check your timeline!

This process takes a minimum of 30 days to 4 months or more!

It is essential that you plan enough time to complete the preparation process for Direct Release. Depending on your pet’s vaccination status this process may take up to 4 months or more.

Every dog or cat must meet the requirements listed on this Checklist and all required documents must be submitted earlier than for Direct Airport Release (DAR) in Honolulu; 30 days or more before the intended date of arrival. A passing FAVN test (Step 4) is needed before requesting a NIIP.

  • Have you confirmed that your airline is participating? Check with your airline.
  • Have you confirmed your flight is arriving directly from the mainland into Kaua’i?

    Make 1 of the following adjustments:

    1. Change your flight to arrive directly form the mainland into Lihue Airport (LIH)
    2. If you are arriving on one of the other neighbor islands, arrange Direct Release through an approved provider there.
    3. If you are arriving into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) follow Checklist 1. Your pet will be inspected on Oahu and will be free to travel within the state after inspection.
  • Have you reviewed the list of requirements and confirmed your timeline? Check the list of requirements and proceed.
  • Has your pet(s) traveled to Hawaii before?

Step 2: Microchipping — Make sure the microchip is working!

Pets must have a working microchip implanted prior to rabies vaccinations and FAVN titer testing. This unique number will identify the pet in the qualification process for a permit.

  • Are all traveling pets microchipped? Get your pet microchipped. The pet must be microchipped prior to vaccination for rabies.
  • Are all microchips working? Confirm with veterinarian.
  • Do you have all the microchip numbers? Get microchip number(s) and continue to next question.

Step 3: Rabies Vaccinations — Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated!

Rabies booster or full vaccination may add 30 to 60 days to your timeline.

Your pet must have been vaccinated against rabies at least two times in their lifetime in order to travel to Hawaii. Your dog or cat can start the rabies vaccination process once they are 12 weeks old. In order to be fully vaccinated they must have received at least two rabies vaccinations more than 30 days apart.

Reminder: Your pet must have a working microchip implanted prior to rabies vaccinations and FAVN titer testing. This microchip number is needed for identification during the permit qualification process.

  • Has your pet had at least 1 rabies vaccination? Once your pet is 12 weeks old you can start vaccination process. They will need 2 shots more than 30 days apart. Once complete, continue to next question.
  • Has your pet had 2 rabies vaccines at least 30 days apart? Your pet needs a 2nd rabies vaccine. Make sure this is administered more than 30 days after the first shot. Complete vaccination schedule and continue.
  • Is your pet's last rabies shot still valid?( i.e. within the expiration period of the booster/most recent shot.) Your pet needs another rabies vaccine/booster. Complete vaccination and continue to next question.
  • Did your pet receive their most recent rabies vaccine/booster more than 30 days ago? You need to wait 30 days after your pet's last rabies vaccine before you can get the FAVN Rabies Antibody Titer Test. Complete 30 days waiting period and then get blood drawn by your veterinarian for your pet's FAVN, then continue to next step.

Step 4: FAVN Rabies Antibody Titer Test & Waiting Period

Your pet must complete a 30 day FAVN waiting period to qualify for Direct Release.

30 days after your pet's second (or most recent) rabies vaccination, have your veterinarian draw blood for the OIE-FAVN rabies test. Your pet’s bloodwork will be sent to Kansas State University, and then you can check your pet’s bloodwork status using his or her microchip number.

FAVN Waiting Period

The results may come back in less than 30 days, however there is a mandatory 30 day waiting period imposed by the state of Hawaii. This waiting period starts the day the Kansas State University lab receives the blood sample (use of intermediate labs such as Idexx, Antech, etc may delay this date and the start of your waiting period).

Note: If your pet has a passing FAVN Antibody Test result you can complete steps 5 and 6 during the waiting period to help expedite the process slightly.

Check Pet’s FAVN Status

  • Has your pet had a successful (equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml) FAVN Rabies Antibody Titer Test? Get a FAVN Titer test, results may take 30 days. Once results are received go to next question.
  • Have you completed the 30 day FAVN waiting period? You need to complete the FAVN waiting period. You can complete your paperwork in the meantime. Continue to next section.
  • Is your pet's FAVN test still valid, i.e. received by lab less than 36 months ago? If your pet's FAVN test was received more than 36 months ago they need a new FAVN Rabies Antibody Test.

Step 5: KNSAC Direct Release Request Form

Submit this form more than 30 days before your planned arrival date. The Animal Quarantine takes up to 30 days to issue a NIIP once they consider a pet to be "qualified for entry".

Whether this is your first time working with Kaua’i North Shore Animal Clinic on Direct Release for your pet or we have been working together for years you must submit our Direct Release Request Form in order to initiate the process. Once your form is processed and your inspection confirmed we will send a confirmation to the Animal Quarantine Station. This confirmation must be received by the Animal Quarantine Station 30 days or more prior to your arrival in Hawaii.

Direct Release Request Form

  • Have you filled out and submitted the direct release request form? Fill out form, and continue to next question.

Step 6: Documentation Required

Submit this form more than 30 days before your planned arrival date.

You need to apply for a Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP) every time your pet travels to Kaua’i. The required documentation must be received by the Animal Quarantine Station at least 30 days before your planned date of arrival in Kaua’i.

All documentation should be sent to:

Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Animal Quarantine Station

99-951 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602
    Have you filled out and submitted your paperwork and payment to the Animal Quarantine Station:
  • Completed and signed Dog & Cat Import Form (AQS-279) AQS requires a new signed Dog & Cat Import Form for each entry to Hawaii. Complete the form and proceed.
  • “Neighbor Island Inspection Permit $165” is checked on the program applying for section of the Dog and Cat Import Form AQS-279. Check Neighbor Island Inspection Permit $165 and proceed.
  • Original rabies vaccine certificates (with vet signatures and microchip numbers) for the 2 most recent vaccinations. AQS requires original rabies vaccine certificates for your pet's last 2 rabies vaccinations. Get certificates with vet signature and proceed.
  • Payment of $165 by cashier’s check or money order. Payment is required for each entry to Hawaii. Get cashier’s check or money order and proceed.
  • Flight information (i.e. Airlines, flight number, date and time of arrival). AQS requires your flight information to issue an NIIP. Confirm details and proceed.
  • Submit all paperwork and go to next question. **This can take 30+ days to be processed and for you to receive your. You cannot travel w/o your NIIP.

Step 7: Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP)

It may take 30 days for your NIIP to be issued.

Once the Animal Quarantine Station confirms that they have received all required documents, information, and payment (see steps 1-6) your Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP) will be emailed to the primary owner listed on the AQS 279 form. You are required to print a copy of the NIIP to present it to the airline for your flight.

  • Have you received your Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP) for your pet(s)? You need your NIIP to travel. It can take up to 30 days for AQS to issue your NIIP.
  • Have you printed your NIIP to present a copy to the airline? Warning: You must print a copy of your NIIP to present to the airline.

Step 8: Health Certificate & Long Acting Tick Treatment

The Health Certificate and Tick treatment must be done within 14 days of arrival. However most airlines require the health certificate to be dated within 10 days of travel. So, please check with your airline for guidance.

This original health certificate must also show that a veterinarian treated your pet with a long-acting product labeled to kill ticks (Revolution® is not acceptable) within 14 days of arrival. The name of the product applied in the hospital and date of treatment must be recorded on the pet’s health certificate.

Approved Tick Treatment Products

Health Certificate Checklist for Veterinarians

Sample Health Certificate

  • Was your pet treated with a long acting product labled to kill ticks within within 14 days of arrival? Have your veterinarian apply an approved product and document it on the health certificate and continue to next question.
  • Do you have a health certificate (must indicate the product name and that the veterinarian applied/administered the tick treatment) dated within 14 days of your arrival? Get required treatment and certificate.

Step 9: Airport Inspection & Welcome

A representative from Kaua’i North Snore Animal Clinic will greet you at Lihue airport. We will conduct a brief (10 minutes or so) inspection, collect your health certificate and permit, and scan your pet’s microchip.

We are pleased to have helped make your travel to Kaua'i with your pet as seamless as possible. If your pet needs any medical attention on Kaua’i, please give us a call. Aloha!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the KNSAC Direct Release Prices?

First Pet $400
and up
Additional Pet
Current or Returning Pet $275
and up
Additional Pet
Direct Release Saturday or Sunday Add
Direct Release State and Federal Holidays in addition to the following days:
  • New Years Eve
  • Easter Sunday
  • Christmas Eve
Direct Release before 8:00 or after 5:00 Add
Transport from Airport within 10 miles
within 20 miles
over 20 miles
Booking less than 30 days prior to arrival add
Flight changes $50
Cancellations prior to two weeks before arrival Full refund less
booking fee
Cancellations within two weeks of arrival 50%
Cancellations less than 48 hours prior to arrival Not refundable. A 50% credit may be applied to a future booking.

If you are regularly traveling to and from Kaua'i with your pet you may benefit from our Jetsetter Package. You can add this optional package onto an existing Wellness Plan.

What to do if there are changes to my scheduled flight?

If you have any changes to your scheduled arrival please fill out our Flight Change Form. We will update the AQS on your arrival.

What fees are involved with a flight change?

$50 flight change fee. If you will now be arriving outside of our normal Direct Release hours you will be responsible for the difference in booking price.

What happens if my flight is cancelled?

You are welcome to leave the booking price as a credit on your account for future use either in the clinic or for a Direct Release in the future. There will be a rebooking fee of $50 should you choose to re-book in the future.

  • Cancellations 2-14 days of arrival will receive a 50% refund.
  • Cancellations prior to two weeks of arrival will receive a full refund less a $100 booking fee.
  • Cancellations less than 24 hours prior to arrival will not be eligible for a refund. A 50% credit can be left on the account.

What happens if my flight changes and I am now arriving first on Oahu?

Submit a Flight Cancellation Form.

Because pets are always inspected in the first port of entry into the state your pet will be inspected on Oahu. You will need to arrange for your pet to arrive at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility (AAQHF) at HNL - Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu during normal inspection hours between 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. It may take up to one hour for the airlines to transport a pet to AAQHF (Phone: (808) 755-8728. Animals not delivered to the facility during normal inspection hours will not be released when they arrive. It is recommended to allow at least 3-4 hours between connecting flights to allow for the inspection.

Once inspected your pet is free to travel within the state. You will not need Direct Release upon arrival in Lihue.

If my flight changes will I need a new Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP)?

NIIPs are valid for 5 days +/- the scheduled date of arrival. If you will be arriving outside of that 5 day period the AQS will need to re-issue your pet’s NIIP ($35 re-issue fee). You will be contacted by the state for payment.

For more information regarding Hawaii’s Direct Release program, please visit the Hawaii Department of Agriculture or reach out to us via email at

Book Online