Moving pet internationally?


I’m relocating internationally with my pet. How far in advance do I start planning and where do I start?


Advance planning is crucial. International relocations for pets, just like their human counterparts, require months of advance planning and careful attention to paperwork details. A pet relocation company ensures that all of the documentation is in order before the pet leaves the origin country so there are no delays or problems upon arrival.

PetRelocation’s website can be a useful tool in consulting the international requirements if you want to handle the relocation on your own. Each country has a page called “Rules and Regulations” that specifies the import requirements and also whether or not there is quarantine.

The variety of import & quarantine requirements differs from country to country. Each country has its own set of individual import and export requirements, and it is important that the pet relocation professional have a familiarity with shipping to and from the transferee’s destination.

An example of the most common import requirements is as follows:

  • Original International Health Certificate issued by a USDA Accredited Vet (10 Days Prior to Departure)
  • Rabies Vaccination Record – Rabies must be within 1 year and older than 30 days at departure
  • Copy of Vaccination History
    • For Dogs & Cats:
      Canine Distemper, Parvovirus and Hepatitis, Bordatella
    • Feline Cat Flu-Feline Calicivirus
    • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
    • Chlamydia Psittaci
    • Cat Enteritis-Feline Panleukopaenia/Feline Parvo Virus
  • Microchip Implantation & Record
  • Copy of Owner’s Original Passport
  • Copy of Visa or Work Permit
  • Copy of Pet’s Import Permit

Most of these documents must be then sent to the State USDA Veterinarian in the state of departure for their endorsement. All of this must be done within 10 days of the flight.

For exotic species (like birds, snakes, turtles, fish, etc.) moving internationally is no small feat. These pets often require special permits from various government organizations such as:

US Fish & Wildlife
Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA)
Convention for International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES)

Because of the large amounts of research and paperwork involved in transporting exotic pets internationally, it is typically best to have the transferee consult with a professional.