Santa, Reindeer Given All-Clear for Upcoming Flight

Reindeer must undergo routine vet checks before flight. ( Sonja Begemann )

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Santa’s veterinarian approved him and his team for flight around the world Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. Santa, Nicholas Claus, must undergo this process each year to ensure safe flight.

From the North Pole, Santa and his team of Reindeer have permits to enter and exit the U.S. between 7:00 p.m. Dec. 24 and 7:00 a.m. Dec. 25.  

“Ease of access into the U.S. for Mr. Claus and his nine reindeer will ensure that children all over the country—including my own fourteen grandchildren—will wake up on Christmas morning with job and filled with the spirit of the season,” says Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “USDA issued this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees to help ensure a smooth trip on Christmas Eve night.”  

Reindeer must undergo tests to ensure they can safely fly and handle altitude and temperature changes throughout their long journey. Their veterinarian also certified reindeer are up-to-date with vaccinations.

“After a full examination and review of their medical records, I’m pleased to say Santa’s reindeer are healthy, in great shape, and ready to fly on Christmas Eve,” says John Howe, DVM to Veterinary Practice News.

With safe reindeer in tow, expect Santa to arrive on rooftops the night of Dec. 24, donned with jingle bells and filled with brightly wrapped gifts.

Santa, who was not available for direct comment, said in a statement he’s looking forward to a busy night of deliveries and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!