Elsewhere on DAFF
Frequently Asked Questions
Organising travel for my pet
Can I bring my cat or dog into Australia?
You must first confirm that your cat or dog is coming from a Department Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) approved country and then ensure that you will be able to meet the relevant import conditions.
A DAFF Import Permit is required for cats and dogs being imported into Australia from all DAFF approved countries (except New Zealand).
Information about import conditions can be found at: list of DAFF approved countries
Is my country of export approved?
Approved Rabies-Free Countries and Territories - No Quarantine Required
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- New Zealand
- Norfolk Island
Approved Rabies-Free Countries and Territories Minimum of 30 Days Quarantine (Information Package 2)
- Falkland Islands
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia
Approved Rabies-Free Island Countries and Territories Minimum of 60 Days Quarantine (Information Package 3)
- American Samoa
- Christmas Island
- Cook Islands
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Kingdom of Tonga
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- Wallis and Futuna
- Western Samoa
Approved Countries and Territories recognised by the Australian Government as Countries and Territories in which dog mediated rabies is absent or well controlled. Quarantine Time Varies & Rabies Vaccination (Information Package 4)
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Canary/Balearic Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- Malaysia (Peninsular, Sabah & Sarawak only)
- Netherlands – Antilles and Aruba
- Puerto Rico
- South Korea
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Switzerland (including Liechtenstein)
- The United Kingdom
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America (not including Hawaii)
- US Virgin Islands
Approved Countries and Territories recognised by the Australian Government as countries and territories in which dog mediated rabies is endemic. (Information Package 5)
- Republic of South Africa
All Other Countries - Non-Approved
What if my country of export is not on the DAFF approved list?
If your cat or dog is located in a country which is not on the DAFF approved list, it is not possible to directly import your cat or dog into Australia.
Cats and dogs from DAFF non-approved countries can only enter Australia via a DAFF approved country where a six month residency period must be met before import to Australia (or a 90 day residency period in a Category 1 country). You will need to contact the Government authority in the DAFF approved country to confirm if they will accept the import of your cat or dog.
What is an RNATT?
DAFF requires that cats and dogs entering Australia from Category 4 and 5 countries have a rabies vaccination and Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (RNATT) performed within 12 months prior to export.
In the absence of a direct test for the rabies virus, rabies free countries rely on an animals' rabies neutralising antibody status. These properties make rabies very dangerous when introduced to a free area. Australia is free of rabies and deliberately takes a conservative approach to managing the risk of rabies.
Accordingly, DAFF import conditions require pets to be rabies vaccinated and then blood tested to determine the level of rabies neutralising antibodies produced by the vaccination.
If the animal has never been previously rabies vaccinated, DAFF recommends that at least four weeks elapse between the rabies vaccination and RNAT test blood sampling. This enables the animal to produce sufficient antibodies to record a positive test result.
How much will it cost me to bring my cat or dog to Australia?
View DAFF import permit fees and DAFF Animal Quarantine fees.
All costs involved with the importation process are the responsibility of the importer and must be paid in full before DAFF will release your animal from quarantine.
DAFF is unable to provide information on the cost of pre-export preparations, including laboratory testing and flights to Australia.
Should I send original documents to DAFF?
Original documents are not required to complete the import permit application. DAFF accepts copies of the documents for the application process, however the original documents will be required by the Official Government Veterinarian in the country of export prior to the completion of Veterinary Certificate B.
What if my cat or dog has travelled to other countries in the 6 months before import into Australia?
You must apply to DAFF for special consideration. With DAFF approval, your cat or dog must then meet the DAFF import conditions for the highest risk country that he/she has visited in the six months prior to import into Australia.
If your cat or dog has visited a DAFF non-approved country in the six months immediately prior to import into Australia, he/she is not eligible for import.
Do I need to use a pet transport agent when I import my cat or dog?
DAFF does not require that you use a pet transport agent when importing cats and dogs into Australia. However, it may be a requirement of some countries of export or for some airlines. Agents that are familiar with Australia’s import requirements are able to walk you through the process to help the process go smoothly. Pet transport agents are usually familiar with Australia’s import requirements and have experience with Australia’s import permit application processes.
DAFF charges a time-based fee for assessment of import permit applications. This means that the more accurate, complete and succinct your application is, the less it will cost you. The consequences of preparing your pet incorrectly for export to Australia are severe. In 2012/13 Australia rejected seven dogs at the border as a result of incorrect pre-export preparation. This meant the animals were sent back to their originating country to restart their testing, treatment and paperwork.
DAFF cannot recommend specific pet transport agents. You can find a list of worldwide pet transportation agents at the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.
Can my cat or dog travel in the plane cabin with me?
No. Your cat or dog must travel to Australia as manifest cargo.
Manifest cargo travels in a special part of the aircraft hold which is climate and pressure controlled to ensure animal welfare requirements are met. It also ensures traceability of your cat or dog.
Disability assistance animals are not bound by the same requirements; please contact your airline and go to Disability assistance dogs for further information.
Should my cat or dog be sedated for travel?
- The IATA regulations do not recommended sedating/tranquilising pets for transport as it can be dangerous to their health. Drugs act differently at the pressure of 8000 feet above sea level, which is the approximate air pressure in an aircraft during flight.
- Refer to the IATA website for further information on sedating animals during travel.
How do I make sure my cat or dog's travel crate is suitable?
- Obtain an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved container for cats and dogs. Your crate must meet IATA requirements to ensure that your cat or dog cannot escape or be injured while travelling. Crates that are too small, low or narrow will compromise your cat or dog’s welfare.
- Purchase the travel crate some time in advance and get your cat or dog used to it before the flight by putting his/her bedding and food in the crate.
- Provide sufficient absorbent bedding to keep your cat or dog dry and comfortable during their flight. You can consider purchasing a ‘dry-bed’ type blanket such as those used in veterinary clinics, or a baby’s cot liner.
- Bedding that travels in the crate with your animal is generally soiled and may be destroyed on arrival due to quarantine risk. You can send bedding for your animal's stay in quarantine by attaching it to the outside of the crate. You can also source bedding in Australia and have it delivered to the quarantine station.
- DAFF does not recommend using newspaper instead of bedding.
- Ensure that a water container is fixed inside the crate, with an external funnel and hose leading into the water container. The people handling your cat or dog can then top-up the water from outside, as the crate can’t be opened after it is sealed by authorities in the country of export.
- Make sure that your cat or dog knows how to drink from their water container before the flight, especially if you are using a ‘dripper’ type water bottle.
Can I bring my cat or dog into Australia on my yacht?
Refer to information on ship's pets arriving in Australia onboard international vessels. Additionally, please contact the Animal Imports Operations for further advice.
What dog breeds cannot be imported into Australia?
Certain breeds are prohibited under the legislation of the Australian Customs Service (ACS). The following pure-breeds (both neutered and entire) are not eligible for import:
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
- Japanese Tosa
- Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull
- Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario
In accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), cats derived from a serval cat (Felis serval) are not eligible for importation into Australia. This includes cats derived from crossbreeding a domestic cat (Felis catus) with a serval cat or with a savannah cat (Felis catus x Felis serval).
Any other domestic/non-domestic animal hybrids (e.g. Bengal cats and wolf crosses) are not eligible for import unless they are five (5) generations or more removed from their pure-bred non-domestic ancestors.
We require you to state the breed of your dog/cat in the import permit application and to sign a declaration stating that they are not one of the above ineligible breeds.
I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Is my dog allowed into Australia?
Yes. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are permitted entry into Australia, as long as they meet the DAFF import conditions
Can my cat or dog be imported into Australia if he/she has a medical condition?
All cats and dogs entering Australia must be certified as fit to travel and undergo Australian quarantine before leaving the country of export.
You must inform DAFF if your cat or dog has any medical conditions when you apply for an DAFF import permit. If your cat or dog has been diagnosed with a medical condition after the import permit has been granted, please notify DAFF as soon as possible. This will ensure that the welfare and medical requirements of your cat or dog are met whilst in our care.
How can I make my cat or dog's flight to Australia easier?
- Speak to your veterinarian before deciding to import your animal to Australia. Your veterinarian may suggest performing a general wellness check and blood testing, particularly for elderly animals. Animals with medical conditions may not be suitable candidates for the flight to Australia and required time in quarantine.
- Choose a direct flight wherever possible so that your animal is not travelling for extended periods of time, and to minimise any disruptions from flight changes.
- Arrange for your cat or dog to arrive in Australia early in the week. This will assist staff to settle your animal into their accommodation and arrange prompt veterinary attention if there are concerns about the animal’s health or welfare.
- Consider the time of year in which you plan to send your cat or dog. Did you know that Australian summer temperatures can reach over 40˚C? Animals with medical conditions, and elderly, overweight, underweight and snub-nosed animals can be particularly susceptible to drastic changes in temperature.
- It may be best to avoid sending your cat or dog during extreme weather. In addition to the welfare considerations above, some airlines will not carry animals during hot summer weather or snowy winter weather. Northern Hemisphere flights are often disrupted by winter snowstorms, which can cause problems with the timing of blood testing and quarantine availability.
- Do not put collars or coats on your cat or dog during travel, as they could become tangled or cause the animal to overheat. You can attach these items to the outside of the animal’s crate.
- Consider freezing half your cat or dog’s water during travel in hot weather. This keeps the water cool, can stop spillage, and prevents the animal drinking all their water at once.
- Ensure that your cat or dog has time to stretch and exercise before they are confined to their travel crate. In general, it’s best for your cat or dog to travel on an empty stomach but you should seek specific advice from your veterinarian.
Kelly is the Assistant Manager at the Spotswood Quarantine Station. Kelly is a dog owner herself and understands that some animals have never been in a kennel or cattery environment before. Kelly says “Our staff are very professional and care for the animals as if they were their own.”
Quarantine and my pet (including microchip information)
How long must my cat or dog be in Australian quarantine?
The length of time in Australian quarantine can vary depending on the country of export and the pre-entry preparations involved. Please see above ‘Is my country of export approved?’ to determine the category for your country of export.
Please read the relevant information package for the import conditions for your country of export on Bringing Cats and Dogs (and other pets) to Australia.
Cats and dogs from Category 1 countries are not required to undertake post arrival quarantine in Australia.
Cats and dogs from Category 2 countries are required to complete a minimum of 30 days post arrival quarantine in Australia.
Cats and dogs from Category 3 countries are required to complete a minimum of 60 days post arrival quarantine in Australia.
For cats and dogs from category 4 countries, Oone hundred and eighty (180) days must elapse from the date that the blood is sampled for the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (RNATT) (with a satisfactory result) before the animal can be released from post arrival quarantine in Australia.
Cats and dogs must remain in the country of export for at least 60 days from the date of RNATT blood sampling, prior to export. Cats and dogs must be held in Australian quarantine for a minimum of 30 days. The remaining 90 days must be spent in the country of export or added to the Australian quarantine period.
The table below shows examples of how the 180-day requirement may be met:
|Time from RNATT blood sampling date, prior to export||Minimum quarantine period in Australia||Total time from RNATT blood sampling date|
|150 days or more||30 days||180 days|
|135 days||45 days|
|120 days||60 days|
|90 days||90 days|
|60 days||120 days|
Cats and dogs from the Republic of South Africa are required complete a minimum of 210 days in quarantine.
To calculate the Quarantine period:
- 90 days in South African Quarantine, mandatory
- 30 days in Australian Quarantine, mandatory
- 90 days in South African or Australian Quarantine. This is your choice as long as the total continuous quarantine period is 210 days.
Can my cat or dog undertake post entry quarantine at home?
Post entry quarantine for cats and dogs can only be undertaken in a government run Australian Animal Quarantine facility.
My cat or dog never goes out of my house/backyard. Do the DAFF import conditions still apply?
Yes. Exposure to exotic diseases can still occur in a home/backyard environment.
All animals entering Australia must meet the DAFF import conditions.
The DAFF import conditions apply to each country, based on disease risk assessments that are carried out by DAFF.
Does my cat or dog still have to complete Australian quarantine if it is originally from Australia?
Even if your cat or dog was born in Australia, it may be exposed to exotic diseases when travelling overseas. Your cat or dog must meet all of the DAFF import conditions for the relevant country of export in order to return to Australia.
How can I make my cat or dog's time in quarantine easier?
- Tell DAFF if your animal has any special requirements, both at the time of import permit application and when booking accommodation at the quarantine station.
- You can help your cat or dog adjust to the Australian weather, for example by clipping long-haired animals arriving during an Australian summer, or providing a coat for short-haired animals arriving during an Australian winter. It is at the station’s discretion whether to allow animals to wear coats in quarantine.
- Sudden changes in diet can cause diarrhoea and stomach upsets. Consider starting your cat or dog on the same food used at the quarantine station, before sending your animal to Australia. Pet treats can also cause stomach upsets, especially if your cat or dog does not normally eat them.
I’m worried about putting my cat or dog into quarantine – what can I do?
- Did you know that DAFF faciliates the successful importation of over 8000 dogs and cats into Australia every year?
- We appreciate that it’s difficult to be separated from your cat or dog during the quarantine period, and your cat or dog’s welfare is of prime importance to DAFF staff. DAFF staff are experienced and carefully selected, ensuring that cats and dogs receive expert care and attention throughout their stay in Australian quarantine.
- Information on the Australian Animal Quarantine Stations can be found on the DAFF website.
- The quarantine period is mandatory for cats and dogs entering Australia from all approved countries other than New Zealand, and DAFF cannot waive this requirement. You should carefully consider your individual cat or dog’s age and health status, the stress of international travel, and all quarantine requirements when deciding to send your cat or dog to Australia.
Niki is a DAFF Officer at the Eastern Creek Quarantine Station. She is very passionate about working with animals and understands the stresses involved with transporting pets from overseas. Niki says “One of the best aspects of my job is helping imported pets settle in and enjoy themselves during their stay in quarantine”.
What type of microchip should my cat or dog have?
Microchips are the only identification method approved by DAFF for the import of cats and dogs into Australia.
Your cat or dog must have a microchip implanted before any pre-export blood sampling or testing takes place. DAFF requires an International Standards Organisation (ISO) compatible microchip to be implanted.
DAFF will accept microchips that can be read by Avid, Trovan, Destron or any other ISO compatible microchip reader.
- Most microchips are 9, 10 or 15 digits long.
- Home Again microchips are acceptable as they are 10 digits long.
- Microchip numbers starting with 999 cannot be accepted
Your cat or dog should be scanned at each visit to the veterinarian and must be scanned before any blood sampling takes place. If the microchip cannot be read or found in Australia, or the microchip number is inconsistent on any import paperwork, your cat or dog may be exported from Australia.
How do I register my cat or dog’s microchip in Australia?
DAFF recommends that you register your cat or dog with a national microchip registry. It is the pet owner/importer’s responsibility to contact their local Australian council regarding animal registration, microchip registration and any other legislation relevant to your cat or dog. Your local veterinary hospital or animal shelter may be able to assist you with this information.
DAFF does not have any involvement with local council and national microchip registration databases.
How long will it take for me to get my cat or dog’s DAFF import permit?
DAFF strives to grant an import permit for each application as soon as possible from the date of receipt. However, in exceptional circumstance it may take up to 20 business days to assess and grant an import permit.
If the application is incomplete, DAFF will attempt to contact you and the processing of your application will be delayed until DAFF receives all required information.
Where do I get Veterinary Certificates A and B from?
Veterinary Certificates A and B are contained in the DAFF import permit. You must submit an import permit application which will be assessed by DAFF before an import permit can be granted.
What is the difference between an ‘Official Government Veterinarian’ and a ‘Government Approved Veterinarian’?
There are two different veterinarians involved in the export process:
Official Government Veterinarians are employed by the government veterinary administration in the exporting country. They do not generally work in private veterinary practice.
Government Approved Veterinarians have special approval from the government veterinary administration in the exporting country. They generally work in private veterinary practice.
Where can I find a list of approved veterinarians?
DAFF does not have a list of Official or Government Veterinarians. You must contact the government quarantine, agriculture or food department in the country of export.
For more information
DAFF Animal Import Operations Branch
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: +61 2 6272 4454
Fax: +61 2 6272 3110
18 Jun 2013