Deciding to move to another country is a massive decision, especially when you have beloved pets that you don’t want to leave behind. In February 2014, Australia made it much easier for you to take your furry friends with you. If you follow the clear guidelines set out by the Australian Department of Agriculture, you and your pets will be reunited a mere 10 days after they arrive in Australia.
Australians are very fond of their pets. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere, especially when on a lead. There are also many restaurants and bars where you can take your dog and they’ll even supply Fido with a bowl of water. Cats are equally welcome and there are even a couple of cat cafes, where you can drink your coffee while stroking your new feline friend. Note that it’s extremely difficult to import any other pets into Australia and some animals will never be allowed in.
There’s a fair amount of red tape to deal with, including a few visits to the vet and the accompanying paper work. Also, it’s certainly not a cheap operation but they are worth it, after all.
1. The Process of Importing Your Pet
The main object behind all the red tape is to ensure that Australia remains free of all animal diseases, including rabies. The procedure you need to follow depends on your country of origin:-
Group 1 – New Zealand – no import permit is needed for either dogs or cats
Cocos (Keeling) Islands – cats need an import permit
Norfolk Island – dogs and cats need an import permit
Group 2 – Approved rabies free countries but still need an import permit
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 – Approved countries where rabies is absent or under control. An import permit is required.
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, Malaysia (Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak only), 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.
None Approved Countries
Don’t despair if your country of origin isn’t on any of the lists. It is still possible to bring your pets by bringing them in through a country in either Group 2 or Group 3. Go to the Department of Agriculture’s website for detailed information.
2.Getting Your Permit
You can apply and pay online for your pet import permit. It usually takes around 20 working days for the application to be processed and obviously your pets can’t travel until they have their permit. Don’t forget you will also need to pay for your pet’s quarantine on arrival in Australia. There are two quarantine facilities in Australia, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. Book well in advance as there are only a few places.
Certain criteria need to be met before your permit can be granted:-
– Your pet must have been resident in an approved country for at least 6 months.
– Your cat or dog must be a minimum of 12 weeks old.
– You can take a maximum of two dogs and/or two cats.
– Certain breeds are banned, check with the Australian Department of Agriculture.
– Cats or dogs must be at least five generations removed from a cat or dog that is not a domestic breed.
– Cats or dogs must not be more than 30 days pregnant and must not be suckling their young.
– Microchipping is compulsory and must be done BEFORE the required vaccinations.
– You will need to provide veterinary proof that your pet has been immunised against the diseases listed by the Department of Agriculture.
– You will need veterinary proof that your pet has no diseases, no ticks or fleas, and has been dewormed.
– Once your import permit is granted, you have 12 months to bring your pets to Australia.
Transporting Your Pets
There are many professional pet shippers that will take the stress out the whole process. Pets need to be transported in IATA approved kennels. Let your pets get used to this new space before they fly. Put a special blanket into the kennel and give them their favourite treats. It will make the actual journey far less stressful for them, if they are in a familiar place with familiar smells.
Even though it is natural to want to give Kitty and Fido a sedative before flying, most airlines won’t allow pets to be sedated as it makes it difficult to tell if they are ill. It makes sense.
Look forward to reuniting with your pets after they have been in quarantine for 10 days.
For help or advice on moving your pet please contact John Mason International’s Pet Relocation Division who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.