I went abroad for my entire undergraduate degree (4 years in the UK as a US citizen) and while I was there I bought my hedgehog Eloise Cupcake. When it was time for me to return after graduating I took her with me- not because I think she would've minded being rehomed very much but because when you get an animal it is yours for life. I looked online for anyone with experience moving their hogs abroad and found very little. I wanted to let y'all know how I did it in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation!
First of all, it is not cheap. To import a hedgehog into the USA. The USDA has a step by step guide of all the required paperwork and vet checks necessary to legally bring your hedgie over:
Basically I had to apply for a Form 17-129 permit approximately a month before my scheduled flight that cost $125 just for submission regardless of outcome. This could be done online through the APHIS portal and was fairly straightforward.
A vet certificate indicating that the hedgehog was fit for travel and treated for external parasites 3-14 days cost me another $100.
Once Eloise and I arrived in the US a vet needed to meet us at customs and was paid per hour including travel time. This was upwards of $300.
Depending on which airline you fly a pet in cabin costs around $150-200. So altogether you are looking at more than half a grand.
The part that concerned me (and I am sure many others) were the rules (or lack thereof) regarding hedgehogs in cabin. I flew airfrance which allows dogs and cats in approved carriers on their international flights. My flight plan was EDI-AMS-BOS and I registered Eloise as a chihuahua. This was a lie obviously but I was not going to risk flying her in cargo and she posed no risk to the airplane like rodents do as hedgehogs are not chewers. You need to call the airline to register the pet on the flight and they ask for weight (including carrier) and type. Her carrier was opaque and met the airline requirements. On my first flight the attendant came by and confirmed that I had a chihuahua with me, to which I responded with a simple yes and that was that.
Due to technical difficulties Eloise and I missed our connection to Boston out of Amsterdam and were put up in a hotel. Because of this I don't even think that she was registered on that flight and no one questioned her. It helps that she slept through out the flights.
Upon arriving in Boston Fish and Wildlife as well as a USDA vet met us. All of the TSA people were pretty dang excited to see a hedgehog come through (as were the security at the other airports) and she had her feet checked for hoof and mouth and we were free to go!
Basically the trick is to be confident and remember that security has nothing to do with the airline so if you don't bring it up to the flight crew no one is going to bother you about your hedgehog. Its not really a problem whatsoever