Frequently asked questions

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Are there any age restrictions for older animals?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will not refuse to grant an import permit based on an animal’s age.

The department recommends that you seek advice from your veterinarian regarding your animal’s import if you have concerns about their age and how they may handle the journey and quarantine in A​ustralia. Your veterinarian can advise if any changes to their care are necessary to help prepare them for travel to Australia.

Older cats and dogs may be more prone to dehydration during long flights. This may lead to an increased risk of other complications such as renal failure.

During this travel, you may wish to provide food and water in the transport crate. Any food arriving with your animal will be destroyed in Australia, however, it will allow your animal to eat and drink en route. You should discuss with the airline and your veterinarian the best way to do this. Depending on the containers you use, you may need to train your animal to use them prior to departure (e.g. dripping water dispensers).

The department recommends that you arrange for your animal to arrive in Australia early in the week. This will assist staff to settle your animal into their accommodation and, if required, arrange prompt veterinary attention for animals with medical conditions.

Please ensure that you provide the quarantine facility with any special information that our staff need to consider when caring for your animal.

Why do animals from some countries need different preparations?

Preparations are dependent on the recognised rabies status of the country of export.

Category 1 & 2 approved countries are recognised by the Australian Government as being ‘rabies-free’.

Category 3 countries are not recognised as being ‘rabies-free’.

My country is not approved for export to Australia. What should I do?

You can import your cat or dog to Australia through a country that is approved by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (see list of approved countries). Please note that moving your animal(s) to another country will also require you to meet that country's import requirements. Please discuss your proposal with your approved exporting country of choice. You must also obtain an Australian import permit for your animal and meet all the Australian entry requirements from the approved exporting country.

Please read our “Non-Approved Country via Category 3 country step-by-step guide” for further information.

Can my dog or cat undergo testing, treatments or examinations in more than one approved country?

Yes, provided that the Official Government Veterinarian who will sign and stamp the Veterinary Health Certificate in the country of export is prepared to accept and approve the testing, treatments or examinations undertaken in another approved country.

How long does my animal need to stay in quarantine?

All cats and dogs must complete a minimum of 10 days in an Australian quarantine facility. Please note that 10 days quarantine is the minimum requirement only and that any issues that may increase the biosecurity risk posed by an animal may result in a longer stay in post-entry quarantine (for example, if a tick is found on your dog, it will need to stay for 21-30+ days until blood testing is repeated at your cost).

How long will it take for me to get my cat or dog’s import permit?

The department strives to grant an import permit for each application as soon as possible from the date of receipt. Please note, it may take up to 20 business days to assess and grant an import permit.

If your import permit application is incomplete, the department will attempt to contact you and the processing of your application will be delayed until the department receives all required information.

How early do I need to start preparing my animal?

The department has developed a date calculator to help importers to understand the minimum, maximum and recommended preparation times required for their pet to meet the import conditions.

Please discuss treatments and tests with your approved veterinarian in your country of export.

Further information, specific to your country of export, is available in the step-by-step guides.

Do I need to use a pet transport agent when I import my cat or dog?

This is not essential, but the department encourages importers to use a pet transport agent as it may be simpler and more effective to use an experienced company that regularly imports animals, rather than to undertake the process yourself. You can find a pet transport agent by entering the terms ”import dog to Australia” or “import cat to Australia” into a search engine. You can also locate a pet transport agent via the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA)  website.

Should I send original documents to the department?

The department recommends that you only send copies of the documents needed to support your import permit application.

Original documents must be endorsed by the Official Government Veterinarian and travel with your animal to Australia.

What type of microchip should my cat or dog have?

Microchips are the only identification method approved by the department 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.

The department requires an International Standards Organisation (ISO) compatible microchip be implanted and will accept microchips that can be read by Avid, Trovan, Destron or any other ISO compatible microchip reader. Most microchip numbers 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?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 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 legal requirements relevant to your cat or dog. Your local veterinary hospital or animal shelter may be able to assist you with this information.

The department does not have any involvement with local council and national microchip registration databases.

Can my cat or dog travel to Australia in the plane cabin with me?

No. Your cat or dog must travel to Australia as manifest cargo. Manifest cargo allows for traceability of your cat or dog. Assistance dogs are not bound by the same requirements; please contact your airline for further information.

Should my cat or dog be sedated for travel?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations do not recommend sedating or tranquilising pets for transport as it can be dangerous to their health. Drugs act differently at the pressure of 8,000 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 may 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 will be destroyed on arrival due to quarantine risk.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 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 the 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 a yacht?

See animals on vessels for information on bringing your pet to Australia onboard an international vessel.

What cat breeds cannot be imported into Australia?

Cats that are derived from a cross with a non-domestic species cannot be imported. In the case of a Bengal cat, the animal must not have any Asian Leopard Cat ancestor less than 5 generations away.

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) 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 cat in the import permit application and to sign a declaration stating that they are not one of the above ineligible breeds.

What dog breeds cannot be imported into Australia?

Certain breeds are prohibited under the legislation of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The following breeds are not eligible for import: Dogo Argentino: Fila Brasileiro; Japanese Tosa; Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull; and Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario. Also, the animal must not be derived from a cross with a non-domestic species, such as a wolf.

We require you to state the breed of your dog in the import permit application and to sign a declaration stating that they are not one of the above ineligible breeds.

Can my cat or dog be imported into Australia if he/she has a medical condition?

The department does not deny animals with medical conditions entry to Australia, provided the animal can meet all Australian import conditions. We recommend that you consult your pet’s veterinarian regarding their condition and their capacity for coping with travel and quarantine before deciding to send your pet to Australia.  

You must inform the department if your cat or dog has any medical conditions when you apply for an import permit. If your cat or dog has been diagnosed with a medical condition after the import permit has been granted, please notify the department as soon as possible. This will ensure that the welfare and medical requirements of your cat or dog are met while in our care. Additional fees may be charged if your pet requires a higher level of care.

Can I make a booking for quarantine accommodation before I have my permit?

No, you can only book quarantine accommodation once you have received your import permit. A valid permit number must be provided to the nominated facility at the time of booking your animals accommodation.

Can my cat or dog undertake post entry quarantine at home?

No, post entry quarantine for cats and dogs can only be undertaken in a government run Australian animal quarantine facility.

Does my cat or dog still have to complete Australian quarantine if it is originally from Australia?

Yes, 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 department’s import conditions for the relevant country of export in order to return to Australia.

How can I make sure my pet gets the earliest booking possible?

Contact the nominated quarantine facility Phone 1800 900 090  +61 3 8318 6700 (outside Australia) as soon as you receive your valid import permit (and quote your import permit number).

Please be aware that there may be a lot of clients attempting to book accommodation and that it may not be possible to accommodate all requests. (Note: a granted import permit does not guarantee a space at the quarantine facility for the date you request).

Please note you will be required to pay the quarantine fees at the time of making your booking. Bookings will not be held open unless payment is made.

What is an approved country and how do I know which applies to my animal’s import?

An approved country is any country, administrative region or territory from which Australia permits the importation of cats and dogs and their semen. Approved countries are divided into three categories, each with different import conditions.

Approved countries have been able to demonstrate that they have adequate animal health services and a satisfactory animal health status. This provides a high level of assurance in the treatment, management and health status of cats and dogs imported into Australia.

How much will it cost to import my cat/dog to Australia?

See the cat and dog import permit application fees and government animal quarantine station fees. Updates will be regularly posted on our website, so please refer back frequently. Fees are subject to change. It is the responsibility of clients to regularly visit our website for information on updates or amendments to fees, policies and procedures.

Note: Payment for quarantine accommodation for your animal/s is due at the time of making a booking at your chosen quarantine station.

Where can I get further information?

Updates will be posted on our website, so please refer back frequently.

If you have read the information on our website and have further questions which have not been addressed, you can contact us via email or phone  within Australia) 1800 900 090 (outside Australia) +61 3 8318 6700

Links to External sites

Links to other websites are inserted for convenience and do not constitute endorsement by the department of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.


Before relying on the material in any important matter, users should carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes, and should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

Last reviewed:
19 Oct 2015