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Importing Cats to Singapore [Pet Passport Guide 2020]

Importing cats to Singapore can be a complicated process.

Singapore is a country well known for having strict rules when it comes to many things. Pet travel is one of them. They have strict conditions that must be met in order to successfully import cats to Singapore. The requirements vary widely, depending mostly on which country you are traveling from. Generally, your cat will need a microchip, rabies vaccination, other vaccinations, parasite treatments, vet health certificate and import license. On top of that, you will need to organise a health inspection upon arrival, and may need to organise your cat to stay in Singapore Pet Quarantine. 

In this article, we will guide you through the process of importing cats to Singapore, and breakdown the strict and complicated entry requirements, depending on where you are traveling from.


What is a Singapore Pet Passport?

Singapore does not have an official ‘Pet Passport’, however it is a term used to describe the documents that are required to take a cat to Singapore. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your cat in customs. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your cat is fit and healthy to travel. For a Singapore pet passport you will likely need microchip documents, vaccination records, parasite treatment records, veterinary health certificate and import license. Your Singapore Pet Passport will vary depending mostly on where you are traveling from.


What is the process of importing cats to Singapore?

The process of importing pets to Singapore is as follows:

  1. Research – the process will depend on where you are traveling from. Therefore, ensure you are aware of the specific requirements for taking your cat to Singapore. It’s also important to check that your cat is allowed to be imported to Singapore, as they have very strict rules, prohibiting some cat breeds visiting. We will discuss these in the banned breeds section below.
  2. Visit the vet – most cats will require a microchip, vaccinations, parasite treatments and a rabies blood test. However, the requirements vary depending on your home country. You may have to visit the vet more than once, if your cat requires a rabies titer test. We will go into more detail in the requirements section below.
  3. Organise quarantine (if necessary) – if your cat requires a stay in Singapore pet quarantine, you must reserve them a spot. You can book this online at the Quarantine Management System (QMS).
  4. Apply for an import permit – you will need to apply for an import permit or import license at least 30 days before importing cats to Singapore. You can apply for an Singapore Import Permit on the GoBusiness Licensing Portal here.
  5. Book an inspection for your cat – you will need to book this via the Intelligent Food Approval & Safety Tracking System (iFAST) five days before the animal’s arrival, or earlier. You will be liable to a S$80 fee if you do not do this in advance.

What are the requirements to import cats to Singapore?

The requirements to import pets to Singapore depend on your cat’s age, and where you are traveling from. The requirements can include any of the following:

  1. Pet microchipping
  2. Rabies vaccination
  3. Additional vaccinations
  4. Internal and external parasite treatments
  5. Rabies blood test (Rabies Titer Test)
  6. Import permit and health certificate

The entry requirements depend on which of the following country categories you are traveling from:

Category A (rabies-free): Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom.

Category B (negligible risk of rabies): Cayman Islands, Denmark, Germany (with effect from 11 Aug 2020), Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New, Caledonia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and USA (Guam and Hawaii only).

Category C (low-risk of rabies): Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan and United States of America (except Guam and Hawaii).

Category D (undetermined risk of rabies): All countries not listed in Categories A, B and C.

PET MICROCHIPPING

When importing cats to Singapore, they must be microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 pet microchip that is a 15 digit and non-encrypted.

A microchip is a small chip the size of a grain of rice that holds a unique number which can be detected by a microchip scanner. It is implanted just under your pet’s skin in between its shoulder blades. Your contact details are registered to your cat’s microchip so if your cat is ever lost, you have a higher chance of being reunited.

This should be the first step you take. This is because your cat’s microchip must be implanted before its rabies vaccination is administered, otherwise the vaccination will not count. We will discuss the rabies vaccination in detail in the next section.

Your cat’s microchip number must be present on all documentation required to enter Singapore. Thus, your veterinarian must scan your cat’s microchip before any tests or treatments required to enter Singapore.

RABIES VACCINATION

Cats residing in and entering from Category A countries do not require a rabies vaccination. However, it is a requirement for cats entering Singapore from all other countries (Categories B, C and D).

If you are travelling from the following countries, your cat will NOT need a rabies vaccination:

Category A (rabies-free): Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom.

If you are travelling from the following countries, your cat WILL need a rabies vaccination:

Category B (negligible risk of rabies): Cayman Islands, Denmark, Germany (with effect from 11 Aug 2020), Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New, Caledonia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and USA (Guam and Hawaii only).

Category C (low-risk of rabies): Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan and United States of America (except Guam and Hawaii).

Category D (undetermined risk of rabies): All countries not listed in Categories A, B and C.

When importing cat to Singapore, you must have a valid rabies vaccination supported by official vaccination records. All current vaccinations and boosters must be recorded. Furthermore, your cat’s microchip number must also be recorded on all documentation.

Cats must be more than 16 weeks old at the time of vaccination.

There are specific timings when it comes to your cat’s rabies vaccination, depending on which country category you are traveling from:

  • Category B – your cat must be vaccinated between 30 days and 12 months prior to entry.
  • Category C – Your cat must be vaccinated more than 3 months prior to entering Singapore.
  • Category D – Your cat must be vaccinated at least 6 months prior to export.

All cats traveling from categories B, C and D will also need a rabies titer test, also known as a rabies blood test. More information on this below.

ADDITIONAL VACCINATIONS

As well as the rabies vaccination, cats also require additional vaccinations to enter Singapore from all country categories. All cats imported to Singapore must have valid vaccinations against the following:

  • Cat flu (feline calicivirus and feline viral rhinotracheitis)
  • Cat enteritis (feline parvovirus / feline panleukopenia)

All of your cat’s vaccinations should be valid for the entire post-arrival quarantine period.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PARASITE TREATMENT

In order to get your cat a Singapore Pet Passport, they must be treated against external and internal parasites. 

Cats must be treated with an anti-tick treatment between 2 and 7 days before travel to Singapore.

You must be able to show proof of treatment so ensure your vet gives you a certificate, referencing your cat’s microchip number.

RABIES BLOOD TEST (RABIES TITER TEST)

If traveling from country categories B, C and D, your cat will need a rabies titer test, also known as rabies blood test. The rabies blood test ensures their rabies vaccine has provided your cat with adequate levels of the rabies antibody. 

If you are travelling from the following countries, your cat will NOT need a rabies titer test:

Category A (rabies-free): Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom.

If you are travelling from the following countries, your cat WILL need a rabies titer test:

Category B (negligible risk of rabies): Cayman Islands, Denmark, Germany (with effect from 11 Aug 2020), Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New, Caledonia, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and USA (Guam and Hawaii only).

Category C (low-risk of rabies): Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan and United States of America (except Guam and Hawaii).

Category D (undetermined risk of rabies): All countries not listed in Categories A, B and C.

A licensed vet will need to take your cat’s blood after receiving their rabies vaccination. Their blood sample must then be sent to an approved lab for testing. Their blood results must show at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody to pass.

There are specific timings for the test depending on where you are traveling from:

  • Category A – no rabies vaccination or rabies titer test is required.
  • Category B – the blood test must be administered more than 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
  • Category C and D – the blood test must be administered more than 30 days after the rabies vaccination, and within 6 months of export.

All rabies vaccinations must be kept current once the titer test has been completed.

IMPORT PERMIT & HEALTH CERTIFICATE

To import cats to Singapore, you will require an import permit. You can apply for this once you cat has had all required vaccinations and treatments

An import permit will show that your cat is qualified for traveling to Singapore. Your pet’s veterinary health certificate will be Appendix 1 of your import permit.

Your import license for Singapore is valid for 30 days from the issue date.

Upon arrival in Singapore, customs officials will need to see a valid import permit, with a veterinary health certificate completed by an Official government veterinarian in the country of export.

If you are importing cats to Singapore from the US, the certificate must be endorsed by your local State USDA office. Additionally, if you are traveling from Canada, it must be endorsed by your local CFIA office.

How to apply for an Singapore Import Permit?

You can apply for an Singapore Import Permit on the GoBusiness Licensing Portal here.

Only once your cat’s vaccinations are all completed can you apply for an import permit. All copies of the vaccination cards are needed to be presented to the Singapore government for inspection before they can issue your import permit.

The majority of permit applications are processed and decided within 20 days. However, in more complex cases, the process takes longer.


What cat breeds are banned from being imported to Singapore?

The following cat breeds are not permitted to enter Singapore, from any country:

  • First to forth generation of Bengal cats (or crosses)
  • First to forth generation of Savannah cats (or crosses)

If you are the owner of a Bengal or Savannah cat, you will need to provide proof that they are at least a fifth generation cross from their ancestral stock.


How long does it take to import cats to Singapore?

The process of importing cats to Singapore can take between 1-12 months to complete. This depends on where you are traveling from.

If you are importing cats to Singapore from a Category A country the time scale will be shorter. This is because they will not require rabies blood tests or import permits. However, if you are traveling from a country in Category B, C or D, it will likely take you longer to import your cat to Singapore.

The most timely steps of importing pets to Singapore, are getting your cat’s rabies blood test results back, applying for an import permit and organising quarantine.

Getting your cat’s microchip, vaccinations and parasite treatments will just take a quick appointment to the vet. The appointment should take no more than half an hour. However, getting your cat’s rabies blood test results back can take up to 7 months.

Furthermore, the process of getting an import permit can be lengthy. The majority of permit applications are processed and decided within 20 days. However, in more complex cases, the process takes longer.

Lastly, if your cat will need to stay in Singapore pet quarantine, you will need to make reservations at least 3 months ahead of entry.

You will need the most time to prepare if you’re importing a cat to Singapore from a country in Category D. You will need to allow at least 11-12 months to prepare:

  • You will need to wait 6 months after getting your cat’s rabies vaccination, before getting their blood sample taken for their rabies titer test.
  • Once your cat’s blood sample has been taken, it must be sent to the lab for testing. It can take 30 days to get your results back.
  • Only once your cat has had it’s rabies titer test results back, can you apply for your import permit, which cane take up to 1 month.
  • Only once you obtain your cat’s import permit, can you reserve a spot in quarantine. It is advised that you do this 3 months in advance of your travel date.

Will my cat need to stay in Singapore pet quarantine?

Cats traveling from Category A or B countries will not be subjected to Singapore pet quarantine. However, cats traveling from Category C or D countries may be subject to a quarantine period upon arrival. 

All quarantine is served in the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station.

Don’t worry, quarantine isn’t as scary as it sounds. Pets will have great caretakers that will provide your cat with any special food/medication accommodations if he or she needs it.

As there is just one center, we advise that you make reservations for your pet as soon as you receive your cat’s import permit. You will need to do this at least 3 months prior to planned cat import to Singapore. You can make reservations through the Quarantine Management System (QMS).

The length of your cat’s stay in quarantine depends on which country category you are traveling from:

  • Category A or B – your cat will not require a stay in Singapore pet quarantine.
  • Category C – cats must be quarantined for either 10 days or 30 days. If the rabies titer test was completed 4 months prior to import, then your cat will need to stay at least 10 days (C1). However, if the test was completed less than 4 months prior to import or if if your cat has been re-vaccinated, then your cat will need to stay for at least 30 days (C2)
  • Category D – all cats must stay in Singapore pet quarantine for at least 30 days.

Check which category your home country is in here.


How much will it cost to import cats to Singapore?

Importing cats to Singapore can be a rather expensive process which varies depending on where you are traveling from. The total cost broken down into the following fees:

  • Vet fees – microchipping, vaccinations and treatments varies on your vet practice fees and home country.
  • Airline fees for shipping a cat – varies widely depending on size and weight of your cat, and airline.
  • Import license – fee breakdown below.
  • Quarantine fees – fee breakdown below.
  • Government endorsements – varies depending on home country.

IMPORT LICENSE FEES

 Type of licence  Cost  Service standard  Validity 
Licence to import/export/transship animals, birds, eggs, and biologics (personal)  • S$50

 

• S$100

• Normal service, where licence issuance will take place two working days after submission of all completed documents.

• Express service, where licence issuance will take place one working day after submission of all completed documents.

 Valid for 30 days from the date of issue.
Licence to import/export/transship animals, birds, eggs, and biologics (commercial) • S$87

 

• S$174

 • Normal service, where licence issuance will take place two working days after submission of all completed documents.

• Express service, where licence issuance will take place one working day after submission of all completed documents.

 Valid for 30 days from the date of issue.

SINGAPORE PET QUARANTINE FEE BREAKDOWN

Description  Fee 
Transport charge from the Changi Animal & Plant Quarantine Station or Tuas Checkpoint to SAQS.
  • S$74 per cat per trip.
 Rabies vaccination (if required).
  •  S$65 per cat.
Quarantine fees for cats, inclusive of:

  • veterinary examination
  • feed
  • daily cleaning
  • S$16.80 per cat per day (non-air conditioned).
  • S$26.25 per cat per day (air conditioned).

Residency Restrictions in Singapore?

If you are staying in an apartments provided by the Housing and Development Board (HBD), cats are unfortunately not permitted. If staying elsewhere, you are generally allowed to bring cats, however this varies.

More than 80% of Singapore’s residents live in apartments provided by the Housing and Development Board (HBD) who have strict restrictions on pets that are permitted. Sadly cats are not on the list.

Flat owners found to breach this regulation can be fined up to a maximum of $4,000.

Always check that your intended accommodation will allow your pet to stay.


Tips for traveling with cats

Traveling with cats can be stressful, for you and your cat. To ensure that your journey is as stress-free as possible, follow these guidelines:

  1. Get your cat used to it’s carrier – buy your cats carrier in advance and let it get used to spending time in there. Pop a blanket in there and let your cat get comfortable in it at home, before your journey.
  2. Exhaust your cat 48 hours before your journey – have some extra play time with your cat so that he will be tired for your journey. That way he will be more sleepy and relaxed on the journey.
  3. Limit access to food 12-24 hours before your journey – for the obvious reason, your cat will be less likely to need to poop.
  4. Familiarise yourself with the airports/stations – for a smoother, quicker journey, check exactly where you need to go to check your pet in. You can also check if the airport/station has a dedicated pet area to let your pet exercise.

Guidelines for Cat Carriers

If you are flying to Singapore with a cat, it is important that you use a cat carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different cat carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your cat’s carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route. 

The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that cats are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, cats must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

Please note that anything that travels with your cat may be destroyed on arrival in Singapore (such as bedding, toys or clothing).

The rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether your cat will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.

If you are travelling in the cabin with your cat, then you will need to ensure that it fits under the seat in front of you. This is why only small cats weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.

Furthermore, airlines often require that your cat must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t hiss or growl at other passengers or staff. If your cat does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your cat is flight-ready.

Whether your cat is traveling in the cabin or cargo area of the plane, you should attach any required documentation to the carrier. This includes, your import permit and veterinarian certificates. Furthermore, it’s also helpful to attach any special instructions, for example those on feeding and medication if your cat requires any.

For a list of airlines that allow cats to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With a Cat In-Cabin [& 2020 Prices & Policies].

BUDGET

CAT CARRIER

PRICE

LOW AmazonBasics Pet Carrier Medium

CHECK HERE
MEDIUM PetsFit Pet Carrier With Expandable Side

CHECK HERE
HIGH Mr. Peanut’s Double Expandable, Soft-Sided Pet Carrier CHECK HERE

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my kitten to Singapore?

Yes, kittens at least 16 weeks old, traveling from Category A (no-risk rabies) countries are permitted to travel to Singapore. However, cats must be at least 7 months of age to be permitted to enter Singapore from any other country. Cats must be 3 months old to get their rabies vaccinations. You must then wait at least 1 month before getting your rabies titer test, the results of which can take 3 months to get back.

Can I take my cat to Singapore with an EU Pet Passport?

You can import a cat to Singapore with an EU Pet Passport, however there are additional conditions to be met. You will need to apply for an Import Permit and organise your cat to stay in quarantine on arrival. Your cat may also need additional vaccines, treatments and a rabies titer test. Please refer to the requirements section above.

Can I move to Singapore with my cat?

Possibly. You may be able to move to Singapore with your pet, as long as you and your cat meet strict requirements. If you are from a Category A country, the process will likely be more simple. However those wanting to relocate to Singapore from another country, will have a more lengthy and difficult process to go through. This is because there are additional requirements and conditions to be met.


Bottom Line

So, importing a cat to Singapore can be a complicated process. It is particularly complicated if you are traveling from a country other than those listed as a Category A (no-risk of rabies) country.

If you haven’t been put off, just be sure to familiarise yourself with the conditions you need to meet to bring your cat to Singapore.

Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for your trip, even up to 1 year in more complicated cases! If this process seems too complicated, you can always get in contact with special pet travel agencies.

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

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