Pet Passports & Documents

Importing Pets to Australia [Ultimate Guide 2020]

Taking pets to Australia can be a complicated process.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment places great emphasis on protecting their natural flora and fauna. Thus, they have strict conditions that must be met in order to successfully take your pet to Australia. The requirements vary widely, depending on the species of your pet, and which country you are traveling from. Currently, only dogs, cats, horses, birds and rabbits are permitted to enter Australia. However, this is only true if your pet adheres to their strict rules.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of taking pets to Australia, and breakdown the strict and complicated entry requirements.

What is the process of importing pets to Australia?

The process of importing pets to Australia is as follows:

  1. Research – the process depends on the species and age of your pet, and where you are traveling from. Therefore, ensure you are aware of the specific requirements for taking your pet to Australia. It’s also important to check that your pet is allowed to be imported to Australia, as they have very strict rules, prohibiting many pets visiting. We will discuss the requirements for different pet species below.
  2. Visit the vet – most pets will require a microchip, vaccinations, parasite treatments and a rabies blood test. However, the requirements vary depending on your pet’s species and home country. We will go into more detail in the requirements section below.
  3. Apply for import permit (if necessary) – to import a pet to Australia, you will need an import permit. You need to apply for this before traveling to Australia as it will be required to pass customs.
  4. Organise quarantine (if necessary) – as soon as you have your import permit granted, you should get in contact with the The Mickleham Center in Victoria to make arrangements for your pet.

What pet species can be imported to Australia?

​​Sadly, not all pets will be allowed into Australia. This is because the pest or disease risks associated with importation may be considered too great and pose as a threat to Australia’s abundant wildlife.

The following pet species are currently permitted to be imported into Australia:

  • Cats – import via approved countries only
  • Dogs – import via approved countries only
  • Horses – import via approved countries only
  • Birds – “household” species from New Zealand only*
  • Rabbits – import from New Zealand only

*Only “household pet birds” (budgerigars, parakeets, parrots, finches, cockatiels, lovebirds or other domesticated pet birds) are permitted to enter Australia. Poultry species (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, pheasant, quail or other game birds), or pigeons (Columbia livia) do not qualify as household pet birds.

Therefore, currently, only dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and certain species of birds from approved countries may be imported as pets. However, there are very strict conditions that must be met.

Unfortunately, no other vertebrate animals are approved for import into Australia as pets.

Reptiles (turtles, tortoises, snakes and lizards) are not permitted to be imported as pets, but may be imported under strict conditions for zoological purposes only.

Additionally, pet fish are not permitted to be imported into Australia. Live fish or fertile fish eggs are only permitted to be imported for the aquarium (ornamental) trade or for laboratory research.

Frogs and other amphibians can only be imported for laboratory or zoological purposes.


What dog breeds are not allowed into Australia?

It’s important to be aware that sadly a number of “fighting” breeds are not permitted within Australia. At present the following breeds are banned:

  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brazileiro
  • Japanese Tosa’s
  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • Presa Canaria


What cat breeds are not allowed into Australia?

In accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the following hybrid cats are not eligible for import:

  • Savannah cat, domestic cat (Felis catus) crossed with serval cat (Felis serval)
  • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
  • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
  • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

What are the requirements to import pets to Australia?

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

  1. Pet microchipping
  2. Rabies vaccination
  3. Internal and external parasite treatments
  4. Additional vaccinations
  5. Rabies blood test (Rabies Titer Test)
  6. Import permit and health certificate
The entry requirements depend on which of the following country groups you are traveling from:

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

Group 2 Countries: 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 Countries: 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, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-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 & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), 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 (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

PET MICROCHIPPING

All dogs, cats and rabbits must be microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 pet microchip that is a 15 digit and non-encrypted. Birds and horses do not require microchips.

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.

This should be the first step you take. Your pet’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 pet’s microchip number must be present on all documentation required to enter Australia. Your veterinarian must scan your dog or cat’s microchip before any tests or treatments required to enter Australia.

 

RABIES VACCINATION

Dogs and cats residing in and entering from Group 1 and Group 2 Countries do not require a rabies vaccination. However, it is a requirement for dogs and cats entering Australia from all other countries. Birds, rabbits and horses do not require rabies vaccinations.

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

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

Group 2 Countries: 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.

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

Group 3 Countries: 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, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-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 & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), 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 (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

Pets must be more than 12 weeks old at the time of vaccination.

Be sure to obtain certification of the period of validity for the particular vaccinations that you obtain, as some are good for two years, others for only one. The vaccination must be valid at the time of entering Australia. Australia accepts the 3 year rabies vaccination.

Some pets may also require a rabies blood test, also known as a rabies titer test. Refer to the ‘requirement 4 – rabies blood test’ section below.

 

ADDITIONAL VACCINATIONS

As well as the rabies vaccination, dogs and cats also require additional vaccinations to enter Australia from Group 2 or Group 3 countries. All vaccinations should be valid for the entire post-arrival quarantine period. 

If you are traveling from the following countries, your dogs or cat MAY NOT need additional vaccines:

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

This is the case as long as there have been no cases of canine brucellosis (Brucella canis), leptospirosis (Leptospira canicola) and indigenous cases of, and established populations of competent vectors for, canine ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) and leishmaniosis (Leishmania infantum) during the 12 months before the date of export.

If you are travelling from the following countries, your pet WILL need additional vaccinations:

Group 2 Countries: 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 Countries: 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, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-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 & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), 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 (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

DOGS

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment REQUIRES that dogs traveling from Group 2 and Group 3 countries are vaccinated against the following:

  • Brucellosis
  • Ehrlicia canis
  • Leishmaniosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Babesia canis (dogs that have visited Africa)

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment RECOMMENDS that dogs traveling from Group 2 and Group 3 countries receive vaccinations against the following:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Para-influenza
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Canine influenza*

*Dogs entering from Canada, the United States and Korea must be vaccinated against Canine influenze between 14 days and 12 months prior to travel, and it is advised that dogs entering from other countries also receive the vaccination if it is available.


CATS

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment RECOMMENDS that cats traveling from Group 2 and Group 3 countries receive vaccinations against the following:

  • Feline enteritis (also known as feline panleucopenia or feline distemper)
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus

HORSES, RABBITS & BIRDS

Horses must be vaccinated against equine viral arteritis, rabbits and birds do not need any vaccinations.

 

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PARASITE TREATMENT

Before dogs and cats can enter Australia, they must be treated against internal parasites. Rabbits traveling to Australia must be treated for fleas and ticks during the 4 days immediately prior to export, using an effective insecticide in accordance to manufacturer directions.

Two treatments against external parasites must be administered to cats 14 days apart with the second treatment within 5 days of transport. Dogs must start treatments 21 days prior to Ehrlichia blood sampling.

To calculate 21 days after initial external parasite treatment, count the first day the treatment is applied as day 0. For example, if treatment is given 1 January then the blood sample cannot be collected until 22 January.

All treatments should be administered by a government approved veterinarian.

Continuous protection from external parasites must be maintained until the time your pet leaves Australia. At each subsequent veterinary visit, your approved vet should examine your pet for external parasites. If fleas or ticks are found they must be removed. Thus, the treatment will be restarted and dogs must be tested for Ehrlichia canis antibodies 21 days later.

 

RABIES BLOOD TEST (RABIES TITER TEST)

If you have proof of at least 6 months residency in the following countries, your pet will NOT need a rabies blood test:

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

Group 2 Countries: 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.

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

Group 3 Countries: 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, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-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 & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), 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 (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

The rabies blood test ensures their rabies vaccine has provided your pet with adequate levels of the rabies antibody.

A licensed vet will need to take your pet’s blood at least three to four weeks 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.

Once you have your positive results back, your pet can enter Australia no sooner than 180 days after date that the lab receives the blood sample. The titer test is valid for 730 days after that date.

If your pet is currently living in a non-approved country, you can have your pet’s rabies titer tested in your country. The blood sample must be processed in an OIE-approved laboratory in either China, France, South Korea, Mexico, United Kingdom or South Africa. However, before applying for the import permit, your pet must have another rabies titer test once it has moved to an approved country. The sample from the second test can be processed in an approved lab in that country.

 

IMPORT PERMIT & HEALTH CERTIFICATE

All pets traveling from Group 2 or Group 3 countries require an import permit. Horses traveling from all countries, will require an import permit. 

If you are traveling from the following countries, dogs, cats and rabbits will NOT need an import permit:

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

If you are travelling from the following countries, your dog, cat or horse (rabbits and birds are not permitted) WILL need an import permit :

Group 2 Countries: 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 Countries: 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, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-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 & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), 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 (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

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

Upon arrival in Australia, 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.

An official government veterinarian must:

  • Complete, sign and stamp all pages of the veterinary health certificate
  • Give you a seal to be placed on your pet’s travel crate at the time of export. The seal number must be recorded on the veterinary health certificate.

How to apply for an Australian Import Permit?

You can apply an import permit online through BICON, once you are registered to their system.

You must ensure that your permits are applied for well in advance of your expected arrival date in Australia. You can file for an import permit as soon as your pet’s rabies titer test is passed, and no sooner than 42 days before import. An import permit is valid for 12 months after issue date.

Once you have submitted your application, The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will assess it and may decide to grant an import permit subject to any conditions deemed necessary to safely import your pet.

It is important to note that applying for an import permit does not automatically result in an import permit being issued. The department will inform you why your import permit was not granted.

Before submitting an import permit application, we highly recommended that you double check the import requirements for your pet on BICON.

How long does it take to import pets to Australia?

The process of importing a pet to Australia can take between 1-12 months to complete. This depends on the species of your pet, and where you are traveling from.

If you are traveling from New Zealand with a dog, cat or rabbit, 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 other than NZ, or with a horse or bird, it will likely take you longer to import your pet to Australia.

The most timely steps of importing a pet to Australia, are getting your pet’s rabies blood test results back, and applying for an import permit.

Getting your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies will just take a quick appointment to the vet. The appointment should take no more than half an hour. If your pet requires additional treatments and vaccinations, the appointment may take a little longer.

As mentioned above, your pet’s rabies blood test will be one of the most timely steps. This is because you must wait at least three to four weeks after your pet’s rabies vaccination, before taking its blood sample. Not only can it take up to 30 days to get your pet’s blood test results back, but you will then have to wait 180 days before entering Australia.

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. In fact, under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and Biosecurity Regulation 2016, the department has a maximum of six months (123 business days) to either grant or refuse a permit.


Will my pet need to stay in Australian quarantine?

Dogs, cats and rabbits traveling from New Zealand will not be subjected to quarantine. However, all pets traveling from outside of New Zealand will be subject to a 10 day quarantine period upon arrival. 

Don’t worry, quarantine isn’t as scary as it sounds. Pets will have great caretakers and special food/medication accommodations if your pet needs it.

Sadly, due to repeated forest fire damage, there is just one quarantine center – The Mickleham Center in Victoria. Therefore, upon arrival, departmental staff will collect your pet and transport them directly to the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility.

As there is just one center, we advise that you make reservations for your pet as soon as you receive your pet’s import permit.

When entering Australia from another country through New Zealand, pets must be quarantined in New Zealand, then remain on the island for 90 days after quarantine prior to entering Australia.

The quarantine facility at Mickleham will be closed for the last 2 weeks of December and the first day of January. No pets will be accepted for quarantine during that time.

How much will it cost to import pets to Australia?

Importing a pet to Australia can be a rather expensive process, potentially costing up to $3,000 per animal. The total cost broken down into the following fees:

  • Vet fees – microchipping, vaccinations and treatments varies on your vet practice fees and home country (average $100 AUD)
  • Airline fees for shipping a pet – varies widely depending on size and species of your pet, and airline.
  • Import permit fees – costs around $480 (AUD) for one pet and $240 (AUD) for additional pets.
  • Quarantine fees – costs around $2,200 (AUD).

Getting your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies should be rather cheap, the exact cost depending on your local vet’s fees.

The most expensive part of importing your pet to Australia, is quarantine. The minimum stay in quarantine is 10 days, however you should prepare for a 30 day stay. The fees for quarantine are broken down into the following:

  • $33 (AUD) entry per animal
  • A daily rate of $27 (AUD) per animal
  • $30 (AUD) document clearance per animal
  • $30 (AUD) per 15 minutes of veterinary examination per animal
  • $1,200 (AUD) post-entry quarantine (PEQ) charge

The typical 30 days in Australian quarantine for one animal will probably cost you at least $2,200 (AUD). Add this to the permit costs and you’re looking at a total of around $3,000 (AUD).

Full details of fees and charges can be found in the department’s charging guidelines.​​


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my puppy or kitten to Australia?

If you are traveling from the Keeling Islands, New Zealand or Norfolk Island, yes, as long as he or she is over 8 weeks of age. However, unfortunately, dogs and cats must be at least 10 months of age to be permitted to enter Australia from any other country. This is due to the strict time requirements on microchipping, rabies vaccinations and rabies blood tests. The import requirements include microchipping and rabies vaccination no sooner than 3 months of age. Puppies and kittens should wait a minimum of 30 days after rabies vaccination prior to having their titer test. As these tests do not apply to puppies and kittens entering Australia from the

Can I take my pet to Australia with an EU Pet Passport?

You can travel to Australia 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 pet to stay in quarantine on arrival. Your pet may also need additional vaccines and treatments. Please refer to the requirements section above.

Can I move to Australia with my pet?

Possibly. You may be able to move to Australia with your pet, as long as you and your pet meet strict requirements. If you are from New Zealand, the process will likely be more simple. However those wanting to relocate to Australia 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. Furthermore, currently, only dogs, cats, horses, birds and rabbits are permitted into Australia. For more details, refer to the requirements section above.


Bottom Line

So, importing a pet to Australia can be a complicated process. It is particularly complicated if you are traveling from a country other than New Zealand.

If you haven’t been put off, just be sure to familiarise yourself with the conditions you need to meet to bring your pet to Australia. You can check here.

Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for your trip, even up to 1 year in more complicated cases!

Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close
Secured By miniOrange