Are you thinking of moving to Australia with pets? If so, you should know that bringing pets to Australia requires a significant amount of time and preparation.
Importing pets to Australia will most likely be one of the most complicated and expensive tasks you’ll ever have to face!
To help you get a grip on the process of shipping a pet to Australia, we prepared an essential guide to move down under with pets.
Dogs and cats entering Australia must have an ISO compatible microchip. The microchip should be implanted at the beginning of the process, before any vaccines are given.
Most microchip numbers are 9, 10 or 15 digits long.
Microchip numbers that start with 999 aren’t acceptable.
Pet owners should make sure the microchip is scanned at each veterinary visit. The scanned microchip number must be recorded correctly on all the pet’s documents.
If the pet has two microchips, both microchip numbers must be placed on all the docs.
Pets must be vaccinated with an inactivated rabies vaccine that:
Australia accepts rabies vaccinations that are valid for 3 years, if given according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is recommended that your dog receives a vaccination that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiectasis.
If you are planning on bringing a dog to Australia from the US, your dog must be vaccinated against Canine Influenza virus.
If you have a cat, it is recommended that your cat receives a vaccination that protects against Feline Panleukopenia/Distemper, Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus.
Dogs and cats must be treated with a product that kills ticks and fleas on contact.
This external parasite treatment must be done in dogs at least 21 days before blood is collected for the Ehrlichia canis test and the dog must receive continuous protection from external parasites until the time of export.
If you have a cat, this external parasite treatment must be done at least 21 days before the date of export.
Dogs and cats should also be treated twice against internal parasites (nematodes and cestodes). The two treatments must be given at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before export.
The second treatment should be given within 5 days before the export date.
If your dog has ever visited mainland Africa, it must be treated against Babesia canis with a single dose of imidocarb dipropionate (at a rate of 7.5 mg/kg body weight) or two doses (at a rate of 6.0 mg/kg body weight) given at least 14 days apart.
These treatments must be done by subcutaneous injections and given within 28 days before export.
Unlike most other countries around the world that require a rabies antibody test, Australia doesn’t require you to wait 30 days between the rabies vaccination and the blood sample collection.
The Australian authorities recommend you wait 3-4 weeks after the vaccine was done.
If your pet has a history of regular rabies vaccinations, you may even collect the blood sample sooner.
We recommend waiting 30 days so that the blood test will be valid for futures uses.
The blood test must be done in an OIE approved laboratory. The lab must use either a FAVN (fluorescent antibody virus neutralization) or RFFIT (rapid fluorescent inhibition test) test.
A result of at least 0.5 IU/ml is needed.
The blood test is valid for 24 months from the blood sampling date.
If you’re bringing pets to Australia from a country in category 2 or 3, your pet won’t be able to enter Australia until at least 180 days pass after the blood arrives at the testing laboratory.
After the blood test is done, an official government vet must complete, sign and stamp a RNAT test declaration.
Within 45 days before the date of export, dogs must be tested for Brucella canis (Brucellosis).
If your dog is desexed it doesn’t need to perform this test. If your dog isn’t desexed, a blood sample, using a RSAT (rapid slide agglutination test), a TAT (tube agglutination test) or an IFAT (indirect fluorescent antibody test) must be done within 45 days before the date of export. The result must be negative.
A Leishmania infantum (Leishmaniosis) test is also required for dogs. This test must be done using either an IFAT (indirect fluorescent antibody test) or an ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) within 45 days before the date of export. The result must be negative.
If your dog was vaccinated against Leptospira interrogans serovar canicola, a Leptospira canicola (Leptospirosis) test isn’t required.
If your dog wasn’t vaccinated, your dog must be tested for Leptospira interrogans serovar canicola using a MAT (microscopic agglutination test) within 45 days before the date of export. The results must be negative (less than 50% agglutination) at a serum dilution of 1:100.
Update: From November 1, 2022, dogs entering Australia won’t need to be tested for Ehrlichia canis.
The veterinary health certificate (Appendix 1 of your import permit) must be done within 5 days of the date of export
An official government vet must sign and stamp all the pages of the health certificate.
Dogs and cats require an import permit from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Dogs and cats from Norfolk Island and New Zealand don’t require an import permit.
Pet owners should submit their import permit application, as well as full payment and all supporting documents (Rabies vaccination certificate, RNAT test result and RNAT test declaration form).
If medication is needed, a veterinary medical form should be submitted as well.
It takes at least 20 working days to process an import permit application.
Import permits are valid for up to 12 months from the date of issue.
Please note that the import permit should cost about $480 AUD for the first cat/dog and about $240 AUD for each additional cat or dog in the same consignment.
Dogs of the following pure breeds can’t be imported into Australia:
Domestic/non-domestic dog hybrids (such as wolf-dog crosses) are not allowed to be imported in Australia. This includes, but not limited to:
Domestic/non-domestic cat hybrids are generally not eligible for import. This includes, but not limited to:
Please note that in certain circumstances, it may be possible to import a Bengal cat to Australia. This is usually permitted if the owner can prove that the Bengal cat was removed from its wild ancestor at least five generations ago.
Bringing pets to Australia by air, can only be done as manifest cargo.
Pets can’t fly in cabin or as excess luggage.
Pets can only land in Melbourne International Airport where they will be transferred to the post entry quarantine facility.
Pet owners can import cats and dogs to Australia on board private yachts, if a valid import permit has been granted in advance. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources assesses such requests on a case by case basis.
Dogs and cats must not me be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export. They also can’t be more than 30 days pregnant, nor be suckling young at the time of export.
Dogs and cats can only be imported into Australia from an approved country. Dogs and/or cats that aren’t coming from a country listed below will need to do part of the process in an approved country.
Group 1: New Zealand, Norfolk and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Group 2: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
Group 3: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary and Balearic Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands (including Antilles & Aruba), Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, the Republic of South Africa, Reunion, Saipan, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States (including the district of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) and Uruguay.
All cats and dogs from group 2 and 3 must arrive on an international flight into Melbourne International Airport to undergo a minimum of 10 days in quarantine Mickleham Post Entry Quarantine Facility.
Pets cannot stay at the quarantine facility beyond their eligible release date.
It is recommended to make a reservation for quarantine as soon as the import permit is granted.
Please note that quarantine will easily cost more than $1,500 AUD.
Here are some frequently asked questions about importing a pet into Australia:
Question #1: How much does it cost to fly a dog to Australia?
Flying a dog to Australia is super expensive. The price depends on many variables such as your origin country, the airline your dog will fly with, your dog’s breed and weight, etc.
If you would like a quote for sending a dog to Australia, please send us an email. We’ll do our best to reply quickly and to of course offer you the best service possible.
Question #2: Can I move to Australia with my dog?
In general, if you obey all the import requirements stated in our guide, you’ll be able to move your dog to Australia.
Question #3: Can I visit my dog in quarantine?
Unfortunately, visits are no longer permitted in Australia’s quarantine facility.
Question #4: Can I buy a seat on a plane for my dog?
As stated in our guide, pets can only fly into Australia as manifest cargo. Therefore, purchasing for your dog a seat on a plane isn’t possible.
Question #5: Why do I have to wait 180 days after the rabies antibody test before I can import my dog/cat?
It can take up to 180 days for an animal infected with rabies to show signs of the disease. Since there’s no reliable way to tell if the animal has been infected with rabies, this is the only effective way to keep Australia free from rabies.
All this information is provided by Pets2Fly to assist pet owners around the world with bringing pets to Australia.
Can pet owners do the import process by themselves? Yes, it’s doable.
Do we think pet owners should do this process without the assistance of a pet shipping company? If it was our pets, we wouldn’t send our pets to Australia without consulting a pet travel expert.
Importing pets to Australia isn’t easy. It is considered one of the most difficult countries in the world to import pets. One tiny mistake will cause you a lot of trouble and aggravation. There is a big chance that one mistake will require you to redo the process!
The Australian Department of Agriculture encourages pet owners to use a pet transport agent as it may be simpler and more effective than undertaking the process alone. The Department recommends using an IPATA member.
Pets2Fly is an IPATA member and we lead to more successful outcomes and therefore, probably, lower your overall costs.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us!
We would love to hear from you!