International pet travel to Australia from a non-approved country
Australia’s unique biodiversity is home to several flora and fauna species that are endemic to the country. Australia has strict biosecurity laws to help protect local biodiversity from dangerous exotic diseases and pests. As a result, pet travel to Australia is complex and challenging, especially if your pet dog or cat is travelling from a non-approved country.
International pet travel to Australia from a non-approved country is possible only if your pet fulfils all pet import criteria. Despite being a lengthy and complicated process, here’s what you need to do to bring a pet from a non-approved country into Australia.
Which are the non-approved countries?
Australia has three country categories for international pet transport. These categories are based on the rabies status of the country. Australia only permits pet dogs and cats from countries where there is a low incidence of rabies or is absent. The country categories are:
- Group 1 countries: New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Cocos Islands
- Group 2 countries: 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 countries: 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, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, 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, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.
- Non-approved countries: All countries not mentioned in the categories above are considered non-approved countries.
Bringing your pet to Australia from a non-approved country
Australia’s strict biosecurity laws do not permit the direct entry of pet dogs and cats from countries on the non-approved list. If your pet is travelling from a non-approved country, here’s what you need to do:
Confirm general eligibility
Australia has a list of banned cat and dog breeds that are not eligible for import. Check if your pet dog or cat is on the banned breeds list.
Microchip and rabies vaccination
Implant an ISO-compatible microchip, and make sure the microchip number is recorded accurately in all the documentation. If there is a mistake in recording the microchip number, your pet will not be eligible for import into Australia.
Your pet dog or cat must be vaccinated with an inactivated rabies vaccine following the manufacturer’s instructions after the microchip has been implanted.
Rabies titre test
A blood sample for the titre test must be drawn after 3-4 weeks after the rabies vaccination; this is the initial RNAT test. The sample must bear your pet’s microchip number and be tested at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory or an authorised OIE rabies reference laboratory. The test must be a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation test or rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test.
The RNATT report must be in English and must include your pet’s microchip number, date of sampling, date of arrival of the sample, signature of the laboratory official, country of sample collection, test type and result.
To import your pet into Australia, a test result of 0.5IU/ml or more is necessary. If your pet does not have the required level of antibodies, you may revaccinate and repeat the process.
Waiting period and import permit
Your pet dog or cat must wait for 180 days from the RNAT test date before being eligible to travel to Australia. Apply for an import permit online at the Biosecurity Import Conditions System portal after you receive a favourable initial RNAT test result.
Move to a Group 2 or 3 country
After applying for the import permit, move your pet cat or dog to a Group 2 or 3 country for further preparations. Make sure you follow all import requirements of the approved country that you choose.
Repeat RNAT test and rabies vaccination
Once your pet has reached the approved Group 2 or Group 3 country, you will have to repeat the RNAT test at an authorised lab; this is the confirmation RNAT test. The result of the test must be 0.5 IU/ml or more. If your pet dog or cat has an unsatisfactory report, you will have to revaccinate and test again.
Your pet dog or cat will need a repeat rabies vaccination with an inactivated rabies vaccine after the RNAT test.
Vaccination and RNAT test declaration
An official government vet in the approved exporting country must check the rabies vaccination and RNAT test results and sign and stamp the declaration. The import permit will be granted after you submit the initial RNAT test report, the confirmation RNAT test report, and the rabies declaration form.
Book quarantine space
Every pet dog or cat arriving in Australia needs to spend at least ten days in the Post Entry Quarantine Centre in Mickleham, Melbourne. After your pet receives the favourable RNAT test report, you can book quarantine space online.
Finish other pet import requirements
Your pet will need to satisfy all pet import criteria apart from the rabies vaccinations and the RNAT test. Your pet dog or cat will need other mandatory vaccinations, internal and external parasite treatments, and a pre-export clinical examination before import to Australia.
The veterinary health certificate must be completed by an official government vet. The vet must also sign and stamp all pages of the health certificate, the RNAT test reports, and the RNATT declaration.
Make travel arrangements
Once all your pet’s travel documentation is in order, confirm quarantine space and make travel arrangements to Australia for your pet. On arrival, your pet will be taken to the Post Entry Quarantine Centre in Melbourne for ten days of mandatory quarantine, where your pet will be examined for any signs of illness. Your pet’s documentation will be checked here, and you can bring your pet home after the quarantine period, if everything is in order.
Pet travel to Australia? Get expert advice
Pet travel to Australia from a non-approved country is a lengthy and complicated process. Every step of the process is time-bound and has to be done accurately for your pet to enter the country. Since the process involves travelling from two different countries, it can be very challenging for pet parents.
It is recommended to partner with an accredited pet travel agent to help you with the process. An experienced pet travel agent can make sure your pet is safe during the journey and that all the travel documentation is accurate and complete.
If your pet dog or cat is travelling to Australia from a non-approved country, get in touch with Petraveller for more information on international pet transport and assistance in quarantine release in Australia.