Taking your pet cats and dogs to Australia

Home / Emigrate to Australia / Pets / Taking your pet cats and dogs to Australia
By
In Pets

Taking your pet cats and dogs to Australia cat carrier

We have two cats which we’ll be taking with us to Australia. In reality it would be a thousand times cheaper to buy two new cats when we get out there but the cats have been part of the family for a number of years now so they’ll be making the trip down under with us.

A government department called AQIS which stands for Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, are the folks in Australia that deal with animal imports.

They have some really useful information and forms which need to be completed if your taking your dog or cat with you to Australia. The more applicable sections of the site can be found by clicking here (page opens in new window) however I thought it’d be useful to document the main steps associated with taking your dog or cat to Australia with you.

Cats and dogs may only be imported to Australia from approved countries. Conditions for importing cats and dogs from approved countries vary depending on the country of export. These conditions may involve a longer quarantine period, restricted breeds or similar.

Fortunately for us, the UK is seen as a pretty ‘clean’ country from a pet perspective with only New Zealand being viewed better where no quarantine periods are required at all.

The UK is classed as a Category 2 country so and dogs and cats being brought into Australia need to spend 30 days quarantine in Australia before you can pick them up and take them to your new home.

Other Category two countries include (long list this): Bahrain, Barbados, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (includes Tahiti, Society Islands, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands, Tuamotu Islands, Gambier Islands), Guam, Hawaii, the Republic of Ireland, Japan, Malta, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan and Vanuatu.

I’ll cover both cats and dogs as I think these will be the animals that you’ll most likely want to take with you if your going to emigrate into Australia. There are a number of steps that you’ll need to go through prior to sending your beloved pet to the other side of the world.

Step one, you need to make sure that your dog or cat is eligible for export to Australia:

Your Dog or cats must have been continuously living in the UK or similar for a minimum of 6 months immediately prior to shipment. Your pet must not have been under quarantine restrictions in the 30 days prior to export and your pet must be at least 12 weeks old at time of export.

If your dog or cat is pregnant, they must not be more than 6 weeks pregnant nor be suckling young at time of export and finally certain breeds of dogs cannot be exported into Australia. These breeds tend to be the more fierce breeds such as:

Dogo Argentino, fila Brazileiro, Japanese tosa’s, Pit bull terrier, American pit bull or the Presa Canaria.

I know that many of these breeds make great and loving family pets but I’m afraid the Aussies don’t see it that way so If you have any of these breeds then unfortunately you’ll need to leave them at home.

In addition, under animal hybrids e.g. Bengal cats or wolf crosses are not eligible for import, unless they are proven to be 5th generation or more away from any pure-bred non-domestic ancestor.

Step two, your dog or cat has to be micro chipped for identification purposes.

The chip must be able to be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader (your vet will be able to confirm this). Fortunately we’ve had both of our cats done. Pop over to your local vets to get this sorted. I think for our cats it cost about £25 each.

Step three, Get your permit.

Your pet will not be allowed to enter Australia without a valid AQIS permit to import. The AQIS import permits are only valid for 6 months from the day that AQIS receives your application so make sure you get your timing right and don’t apply years in advance. The AQIS import permit will be sent to you immediately following approval by AQIS of your application.

For those of you on a tighter timescale, you can ask for the import permit to be faxed, a copy of the import permit may be used. A permit will be sent to the person/company that you nominate as the “exporter” on your application form so if you’re using one of the companies specialising in pet export then make sure you provide their details on the form.

Keep in mind that even though you will have received your permit to import your pet into Australia, it does not guarantee a space at your preferred Quarantine Station so Bookings must be made for your pet/s at these stations. There are currently three main quarantine stations covering the whole of Australia:

Eastern Creek Quarantine Station which covers Sydney and the New South Wales regions, Spotswood Quarantine Station which covers Melbourne, Victoria and Byford Quarantine Station which covers Perth and the rest of Western Australia.

Step 4, Your pets health check

In a similar way to us humans, your pet also needs to undergo health checks by a government approved body before being allowed into the country.

An Official Veterinarian is a government officer usually employed by the government veterinarian administration (e.g. in the UK – Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs). These official Veterinarians generally do not work in private practice but are able to sign certificates on behalf of the government’s veterinary administration. Again, your local vet may be the best port of call for this. Although they may not be able to do all the checks themselves, they should be able to point you in the right direction

Step 5, make your pets travel arrangements.

You can only get your pet into Australia through the following airports, Mascot Airport in Sydney (New South Wales), Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne (Victoria) or Perth Airport in Perth (Western Australia).

AQIS does not place any restrictions or the airline you choose to use, however your pet must travel as “Manifested Cargo” (not in the cabin) and in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved container for dogs and cats.

Please note you will be charged an additional fee of $25 if your pet arrives in Australia outside business hours (8:00am – 4:00 PM). You are also required to seek the approval of the relevant quarantine station for after hours pick-ups prior to import.

Step 6 – Get your pet vaccinated.

Vaccinations must be valid for the entire period spent in quarantine in Australia. If vaccinations expire prior to your pet’s release from quarantine they may be re-vaccinated at the owner’s expense.

Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, infectious hepatitis, canine parvovirus (parvo), para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough).

If the Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough) is not available in the country of origin, dogs may be vaccinated for kennel cough on arrival in Australia at the owner’s expense. Note: Vaccinations against Leptospira interrogans.var. canicola is not recommended within 6 months of export as your pet’s high antibody response will most likely result in it being ineligible for export to Australia.

Cats must have been vaccinated against feline enteritis (feline panleucopenia, feline distemper), rhinotracheitis and calicivirus.

Step 7 Final Vet Checks.

Prior to sticking your pet on a plane (normally less then a week before) your pet needs to have some final health checks. The first step is normally a visual inspection; if everything’s OK then Veterinary Certificate A will be completed.

On the day of your pet’s departure, the final checks will be made by a vet, the result of which will be the completion Veterinary Certificate B.

The Official Veterinarian who signs Veterinary Certificate B records the identification number of the seal on Veterinary Certificate B, and physically seals your pet into the cage. After this has been completed your cat or dog would not be released from its cage until it gets to Australia.

A water container is fixed inside the cage with an external funnel with a hose leading into the water container to allow water to be replenished without opening the cage. Your pet would then be put onto the plane at which point its new adventure really begins.

Not that straight forward is it? Well, thankfully AQIS have all the information on their website which you can find by clicking here (link opens in new window). There are also numerous pet ‘migration agents’ who will manage the whole process for you (for a fee).

Shipping yourself, your cat and/or your dog to Australia was never going to be a straight forward process but I’m sure you’ll all appreciate being back together at the other side.

February 2014 update: Great news, the period that you need to keep your furry pal in quarantine has been reduced. Check this article for further details

Recommended Posts

Showing 47 comments

  • Pete
    Reply

    Hi there

    I am looking to move down under in early 2015 and am nervous about the quaritine process
    i looked at the daff website and unless im wrong (which i hope i am the UK is a cat 4 country and takes 6 months

    is this correct?

    thank you

    Pete

    • Mark
      Reply

      Hi Pete, no mate. Unless it’s changed you only need to keep your cats in quaranteen for 1 month if your from the UK.

      That was the case with us a few years ago anyway. Perhaps give a UK company called airpets a ring to double check. They are based in london (google for the details) :)

      Cheers

      Mark

      • Peter
        Reply

        Thanks mark you’re a legend

      • Pete
        Reply

        Hi mark

        How often were you allowed to Visit your pets in quarantine and was it just through a cage or could you cuddle them

        • Mark
          Reply

          Hi Pete. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays are the visiting days. Full cuddles also allowed! :-) Check out this .pdf for more info (for Byford anyway).
          http://www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1833251/byford.pdf

          • Peter

            Just read up on some fantastic news. Oz have changed the rules on importing cats and dogs.
            There used to be 6 categories for quarantine but that has now changed to 3 categories. Also the best news is the 30 day quarantine period has been reduced to 10 days which has made me a very happy man.

          • Mark

            That’s fantastic news Pete and one worth of me writing an updated article. Can you confirm the source please?

            Cheers

            Mark

          • Pete

            It’s gone from six catagories to three and from 30 days to 10

  • Vanessa
    Reply

    Hi, does anyone no how much it cost for the check ups and to send the dog from cyprus to perth,Australia? My dog is a poodle/Perrier . I just want to no a rough estimate..

  • paul hopwood
    Reply

    Fiona it really depends ,would they be ok in coach as opposed to 1st class ,and would dinner and a movie suffice, or would they prefere to see a live show ? . sorry ,was looking for cat info. but couldn’t resist : )

  • Lucy
    Reply

    Hey everyone,

    I am moving from Sweden to Australia in 6 months with my partner and our two cats.

    We have been students and therefore are very budget conscious. The cost of quarantine alone is so high, that I’m worried that we won’t be able to afford the whole process. But there is no way we will leave our beloved cats behind (even if they were from a cat shelter and cost next to nothing!).

    Can anyone help on the cheapest way of getting animals from Europe to Australia? Obviously we would prefer to fly on the same flight as the cats, but I’m very pissed to learn that Australia won’t let animals in that have travelled in cabin or as checked baggage.

    Any help would be extremely appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    Lucy.

    • Mark
      Reply

      Hi Lucy, I’m afraid your stuck with an approved pet carrier unfortunately. I can’t offer any other additonal advice other than shop around for the cheapest quote.

      Good luck with your hunting, moving to Australia is a very expensive process but will be worth it, for both yourselves and your pets!

      Cheers

      Mark

      • Lucy
        Reply

        Thanks for the reply Mark! We have found a freight company (Trust Freight) that will arrange the flight part of the journey and the price they quoted was pretty reasonable.

        I have one other question – when you travelled with your two cats, did they have separate crates or were they together? Our little ones are sisters and get on very well thus we would prefer to have them together as we thought it would be more comforting for them. But then I have heard that there is the danger that one freaks out and injures the other and it got me worried! What is your view on the matter?

        Thanks in advance!

        • Ringo
          Reply

          Hello Lucy, are you in Australia yet? and your cats? how did it all go? We are moving to Australia from Italy in December 2012 and are also taking our two cats. Did you put them in the same cage in the end? Did you travel in the same plane as they did? Would love to hear from you as we are very worried about the whole process we have to put our babies through. Regards
          Ringo

        • karna llewelyn
          Reply

          Hi Lucy.if you don’t like Australian laws regarding your cats STAY IN SWEDEN.DON’T MOVE TO AUSTRALIA.

  • Glynnan Barham
    Reply

    We are planning on taking our 8 year old labrador over with us when we complete the visa process. However, from speaking to someone recently, it was mentioned that a lot of pets that immigrate with their owners do not survive long due to the inexperience of dealing with the heat and native animals. I would hate this to be the case and was hoping to seek reassurance on this matter.

  • Tania
    Reply

    Did anyone use drugs to sedate their pets. I have two cats. I am really worried about the long journey from USA to Australia. Any suggestions?

  • Duvall
    Reply

    I, too, have a very pit-bull who stands out as the most supporting animal I’ve ever owned. Quickly, a fresh dog breed will arrive along for your media to blast, as they have carried out rotties and dobies in past years. Unfortunate that media sensationalism breeds much inaccurate information.

  • Niamh
    Reply

    G’day

    I’m planning on emigrating from Ireland to Oz. We have 2 female Bichon Frise dogs who are both very attached to us.. I am really concerned about how stresssed they wil be on the long flight down under and subsequently spending 30 days in quaranteen. They are 2 and 3 yrs old. Has any1 brought their pets on such a long journey? I would love to hear about ur experience. Would you recommend a mild sedative for the journey?? Do they get much attention in the quaranteen base??- as they do love to be loved. :)

    Cheers

    • Mark
      Reply

      Hi Niamh, lots of info on our site if you care to have a browse or do a quick search in the top search bar ;)

      With regards to Sedatives, these would not be allowed. Also, they would get as much attention there as an Kennels really allow visiits from the ‘parents’ are allowed at all stations.

      Cheers

      Mark :)

    • Lyndsey
      Reply

      Hi Niamh, Did you relocate with your dogs? I am looking to do the same from Dublin to Oz and would love to hear how your found it

      Thanks,
      Lyndsey

  • David
    Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m considering moving to Aus and have a Bengal cat, but unfortunatley no pedegree papers to prove she’s over 5th gen. Is there anyway around this 5th gen rule or is it set in stone?

    Thanks
    David

    • Mark
      Reply

      Set in stone I’m afraid David.

      Only thing I could suggest is check with AQUIS direct. Contact details here:

      http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/about/contact

      Good luck mate! If there is a loop-hole please let us know.

      Regards

      Mark

    • Steve
      Reply

      I moved to Rockhampton (in Queensland) with a Bengal in December. Try AirCare if you are in Auckland (aircarepets.co.nz) or you can check the AQIS site. I can’t remember what the rules are, but there was a quarantine for a few weeks.

      cheers,
      Steve

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hi Rudolph

    Just the one month

    Cheers

    Mark

  • Rudolph
    Reply

    Hi there

    My whife and I are in the process of moving to Perth. Whe were wondering how long does our cat have to stay in Quarintine?

    kind regards
    Rudolph

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hello Peter

    Your correct, I’m afraid that having pets does reduce the number of properties made available to you but they are still out there.

    Very often, dogs are the main concern for many landlords so if you call the agent and advise that you have a cat then you may find a few more doors open up for you.

    Even if it’s a ‘house cat’, if you mention that your car will spend most of it’s time outdoors this will also help :)

    It’s common practice to pay a ‘pet bond’ when your renting a house with pets although this is normally only in the region of $75 – $100. If it’s not mentioned then offering to pay a larger bond to cover hair removal etc will also assist you find a property.

    Don’t panic just yet. You should be fine.

    Good luck

    Regards

    Mark

  • Peter Bell
    Reply

    Dear Mark,

    My wife and I would be moving to Perth with our two cats from Minneapois, USA. I am familiar with the requirements of AQIS for transporing cats and we are going through the procedure. However, what’s alarming is that on the web, I am not finding properties that allow pets. We are planning to rent for a while since property price is so high. Please could you tell us what’s it like to find rental properties with pets? Any recommendations? Many thanks for any suggestion. We are vety concerned about this long trip that the cats would have to make and then they must have a nic eplace to live with a nice back-yeard. How difficult is that?

    Cheers

    Peter

  • Mark
    Reply

    Arthur, if your refering to the UK pet passport which enables pets to travel within the EC countries then the answer is no I’m afraid.

    Australia does not currently recognise this passport.

    As well as the post we have made at getting down under, further info of interest can be viewed on the AQIS Website by Clicking Here

    Hope this helps

    Oh and Amy Thanks for providing the answer to your own question, we could do with a few more of those :D

    Cheers

    Mark

  • Arthur
    Reply

    Can anyone advise on whether I can take my dog into Aussie on a Pet Passport from teh UK and if so for how long, is there a Govt contact to confirm regulations thereafter re quaranteen regs.

    Cheers

    Arthur

  • Amy
    Reply

    Don’t worry about my previous question – Vet. Cert. A & B come WITH the PERMIT, not the APPLICATION for Permit… I’m a dummy.

  • Amy
    Reply

    Did anyone find out where to find Veterinary Certificate’s A & B? They are not included in the Permit Application as stated in the instructions…

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hari, you’ll need to contact a specialist pet removal firm. You’ll find links to these elsewhere on this page..

  • hari
    Reply

    we are planning to take our dog to australia, pls quote, his dimensions are 400 mm x 540 mm x 400 mm, We are moving from Auckland to Brisbane.

  • Fiona Mackie
    Reply

    How much would it cost for 3 cats to go to Melbourne?

  • Kristian
    Reply

    Hi jacob,

    Another website which makes it easy to find pet friendly accommodation is rent.com.au. They have a great Pets Allowed search filter to make it easy to find properties that allow pets. The site also lets private landlords advertise so you get to see properties that you won’t find on realestate.com.au.

    I had a quick look and there we a couple of options near freo!

    Good luck house hunting.

    Kristian

  • Mark
    Reply

    Hi Mate

    Give realestate.com.au a search here:

    http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?s=wa&t=ren&snf=rbs&a=sf

    We’ve found in the main it’s pretty good for detailing if Pets are available but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, ring the agent to check first prior to taking the time to do a viewing.

    Check out my posts on cats (some of which cover renting|) by clicking on this link: http://www.gettingdownunder.com/tag/cats

    Good luck with your search

    Regards

    Mark

  • jacob
    Reply

    Wondering if anyone has any advice on looking for a pet friendly place to rent in the fremantle area. any advice would be greatly appreciated, such as what web-sites to check, which specific areas might be a better better to focus our search in, and so forth. Thank you!

  • Administrator
    Reply

    Hi Wendy, yep, I thought as such. Both descriptions are listed in the official restricted breeds list. I’d assume its because they wanted to ensure that all bases are covered :)

  • wendy
    Reply

    Hi, just checking why you’ve quote pit bull terrier and american pit bull terrier in the list of breeds not able to inport, they are the one and same breed

  • Kajikit
    Reply

    Thanks for the useful information! I’m actually an Aussie who emigrated to the US but we’re thinking about going back there to work, and we have three cats! I can see it will be an expensive process for them…

  • fazi
    Reply

    hi i have 12 goldfishes ,20 chiclids and 2 turtles which i want to take along with me while going to australia on student visa , and i am from Pakistan plz help , what is the process for it
    can these pets of mine can allow by australian government or whatever the officers on australian airport in sydney
    plz help me
    and guide me
    what can i do for my pets

  • Mark
    Reply

    Fazi, I’m afraid you’ll need to leave them at home. AQIS currently does not support the import of fish as pets due to the risk of the fish being released into the Australian ecosystem .

pingbacks / trackbacks

  • […] seems like forever since I wrote the post about taking your pet dog or cat to Australia. I guess to a degree, it was a long time. Almost 8 years as a matter of fact. How time flies when […]

  • [...] taking cats to australia taking pets to australia evaluation of the general skilled migration categories march 2006 noosar australia australian migration forums [...]

  • [...] Popular Posts Laura Bingle topless from the where the bloody hell are you ads (11711)Laura Bingle Topless proving a big hit at getting down under (5677)Taking your pet cats and dogs to Australia (4446)laura bingle Zoo magazine cover where the bloody hell are you (2460)The 9 Ways to Emigrate to Australia (2361)Theres deals to be had on flights when emigrating to Australia (1746)Going on a rekkie to Perth (1578)The Australian Real Estate Market in 2006 (1478)Last day in Perth before heading back home to the UK (1409)UK to adopt Australian-style points-based immigration system (1407) Search [...]

  • [...] Popular Posts Taking your pet cats and dogs to Australia (948)The 9 Ways to Emigrate to Australia (404)Last day in Perth before heading back home to the UK (332)Going on a rekkie to Perth (330)Theres deals to be had on flights when emigrating to Australia (322)The Australian Real Estate Market in 2006 (290)Making the decision and where to start (279)UK to adopt Australian-style points-based immigration system (253)Were back in the UK and its freezing! (242)Bloody hell! UK censors risque Aussie ads (226) [...]

Leave a Comment

POST COMMENT Back to Top

:bye: 
:good: 
:negative: 
:scratch: 
:wacko: 
:yahoo: 
B-) 
:heart: 
:rose: 
:-) 
:whistle: 
:yes: 
:cry: 
:mail: 
:-( 
:unsure: 
;-)