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Cats and Dogs returning to Australia
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- Cats and Dogs returning to Australia
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Taking your cat or dog overseas? Check they are eligible to come back to Australia.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) cannot guarantee that dogs and cats exported from Australia will be eligible for re-import. Please consider this carefully before exporting your cat or dog.
Cats and dogs in Australia enjoy freedom from many diseases that affect other parts of the world.
Animal diseases can affect more than one species, including cats and dogs, native animals and livestock. Some diseases are also capable of transferring to people.
Safeguarding Australia’s favourable animal health status is a high priority and there are government regulations in place to help prevent unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country.
When your cat or dog is exported from Australia they immediately relinquish their Australian health status. While overseas your cat or dog may be exposed to exotic diseases and depending on which country they have resided in, they may not meet Australian import requirements upon return.
Is your cat or dog eligible to return to Australia?
There are some countries from which cats and dogs cannot be directly imported to Australia. These are referred to as ‘non-approved’ countries.
Cats and dogs arriving from ‘approved’ countries* must stay in a government quarantine station for a minimum of 30 days when they arrive in Australia.
If your cat or dog travels to a non-approved country they must spend six months in an approved country before they will be eligible to return to Australia.
If you wish to re-import your pet within six months of export, preparations must be made before leaving Australia to avoid an extended stay in quarantine on their return.
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), also known as the Pet Passport Scheme, does not apply to cats and dogs being imported or returning to Australia.
How do I know which countries are approved or non-approved?
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestery (DAFF) is the government authority that manages animal imports. DAFF groups countries into categories based on their animal health status and the level of risk this poses to Australia. Each category has its own import conditions.
What are the import conditions?
Import conditions are a set of criteria that allow DAFF to determine if your cat or dog will pose a risk to humans or other animals in Australia.
Import conditions differ depending on the country your cat or dog is being exported from.
This website has information packages for approved countries. The relevant package will explain all the import conditions your cat or dog will need to meet, based on the country they will be exported from.
Alternatively, contact the DAFF Live Animal Imports Program and an officer will send you the relevant information package.
Live Animal Imports Program: phone 02 6272 4454
Are there exceptions for disability assistance dogs?
Disability assistance dogs need to meet import conditions, however, these requirements vary depending on the country of export.
See Disability Assistance Dogs for specific information about importing disability assistance dogs. Alternatively, contact the Live Animal Imports Program and a DAFF officer will be able to help you.
My Pet is healthy and doesn't go out of the house/backyard. Does he/she still need to be quarantined?
Cats and dogs imported from most* DAFF approved countries must complete a quarantine period in Australia regardless of their apparent health or living circumstances.
Signs of a disease in an animal may not be obvious before departure or on arrival in Australia. The minimum 30 day quarantine period allows qualified staff to monitor your pet, act immediately and contact you if there is a change in their health. If your pet is found to be carrying a pest or disease, the quarantine environment protects the health of Australia’s human and animal population.
Quarantine must be completed at a government quarantine station. You cannot quarantine your pet at home or at other shelters.
What will it cost to import my pet back to Australia?
Booking and paying for travel arrangements for your cat or dog to come back to Australia is your responsibility.
You will also need to book your pet’s accommodation at a government quarantine station once you have received your DAFF import permit. Due to high demand, some stations may require bookings to be made in advance. Receipt of a DAFF import permit does not guarantee a space at your preferred quarantine station.
A DAFF officer will arrange for the collection and transfer of your pet from the airport directly to the quarantine station.
Costs to accommodate your cat or dog in a quarantine station depend on the length of time they need to spend in quarantine.
If you own two dogs or two cats that prefer to be together, you can request that they share accommodation, however, different species (i.e. a cat and a dog) cannot be housed together.
See the Quarantine Station Accommodation and Fees for current accommodation and service fees.
When your pet is released from quarantine it is also your responsibility to arrange and pay for their transport home, regardless of which station they are accommodated at.
How do I make sure my cat or dog's travel crate is suitable?
Your cat or dog should travel in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved container for cats and dogs. It is vital that your crate meets these requirements to ensure your cat or dog cannot escape while travelling.
Further information on air travel of live pets can be found on the IATA website.
Where are the government quarantine stations?
Live Animal Imports Program
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: +61 2 6272 4454
Fax: + 61 2 6272 3110
Email the Live Animal Imports Program
19 Jan 2012